Ways Truckers Lose Money: Lessons on
Prevention and Planning
address the subject of how to "lose money" as a trucker, we
first need to back up and define what we mean by "lose."
For the purposes of this page, we are going to use the following descriptions of "lose" from Wordnik:
- v. To be unsuccessful
in retaining possession of; mislay: He's always losing his
- v. To be deprived of
(something one has had): lost her art collection in the
fire; lost her job.
- v. To consume
aimlessly; waste: lost a week in idle occupations.
- v. To cause or result
in the loss of: Failure to reply to the advertisement lost
her the job.
- v. To suffer loss.
From these definitions, we see that there are two
- what one does (or allows
happen) to oneself and
- what happens to a person
through no fault of his/her own.
So, we're going to address some common ways that
truckers lose money by both types of actions.
You may know of other
ways that this can happen and we welcome your feedback.
Ways Truckers Can Lose Money Voluntarily
There are plenty of ways that truckers lose money
voluntarily or let
through their fingers."
We're going to put these into five categories.
Money with Food and
- Eating out in a truck
restaurant when you have (or could have had) food
with you to eat in
your truck -- unless the meal is allowed in one's budget;
- Buying coffee you could
taken with you (if you drive locally) or made in your truck with a
12-volt coffee maker or A/C-powered coffee maker/inverter
combination (if you are
an OTR trucker);
- Purchasing snack
foods in a
convenience store when you could have packed them from home; and
- Buying convenience foods --
or foods in convenience packaging -- when your home
support team could have supplied canned
or other foods
for you from home for less money per serving.
Money with Things Unused
- Buying a trucker
that you never (or seldom) use;
- Choosing a more expensive
cell phone plan when a less expensive one will more than meet your
- Buying tools
or training you
never use or don't use to full potential;
- Paying for subscriptions
you don't use (such as for magazines that you don't read); and
- Letting food that you
your truck to eat on the road spoil before it can be eaten.
Money through Debt and
- Paying interest on
- Spending money to use a
when a free route would have gotten you where you were going just as
quickly (especially if your trucking company doesn't reimburse you);
- Paying for things twice
(like warranties on products already
- Buying things in truck
stores that you don't really need;
- Spending money on overage
charges (such as for time or data) on cell phones, mobile broadband
services or other electronic services;
- Paying for Internet
service when WiFi is available (assuming all firewalls and
other protections are in place); and
- Paying more for some items
because you didn't compare prices on products and services.
Money through Poor
- Allowing your truck to be
vandalized or even stolen
after parking in a crime-prone area when you could have
parked in a safe location instead;
- Not having adequate
anti-virus and related software installed and updated on your computer
to protect your files;
- Signing up for a paid
service membership that can't help you in your time of distress (such
services plan that fails to help truckers when they
most need it);
- Setting yourself up to be
targeted by geotagging
- Getting involved in a low
clearance trucking accident because you relied on a
- Paying for tickets or
for preventable actions (like speeding or parking in a "no
- Spending money on tobacco
products (which if used also hurt your health and can lead to
- Making an error in goal
setting by buying cheap products that wear
out more quickly instead of better quality products that last longer;
- Spending too much money on
self-gratification or entertainment
instead of making and sticking to a budget;
- Spending money on a home
you're seldom in and that provides no return on investment instead of
putting your possessions in much less expensive self-storage
-- unless your home
support team is in it;
- Buying items from someone
hocking them out of the back of his car when you have no idea of the
quality of the products or their origin.
Money through Neglect or
Lack of Knowledge
- Letting interest accrue on
outstanding tickets (like one former truck
driver training school fellow student
of ours did);
- Not being good at record
keeping (keeping receipts) that lead
- Paying for charges on your
credit card bill that you didn't make (because you didn't review your
- Not getting a signed
for payment of services that could have been turned into your trucking
company for reimbursement;
- Paying for small truck
that you could have easily done
yourself if you had the right tools
- Not getting a refund for an
item at a truck
stop that doesn't work for you within the allotted time frame;
- Not processing trucking
paperwork promptly and consequently losing the potential ROI you could
have made from prompt investing; and
- Paying more out-of-pocket
following a claim because you had insufficient truck
insurance, when paying just a little more for insurance could have
resulted in no
Ways Truckers Can Lose Money Involuntarily
The following list contains some ways that anyone -- not
just truckers -- can lose money.
For educational purposes only, we list these ways that
money (or other
assets) get taken from people through no fault of their own, so that
you can be as prepared as possible to guard against them.
- Bank failure;
There have also been many, many bank failures in the USA
When Mike learned that a bank we had had our money in
failed in 2007, the first question Vicki asked was, "Did we lose
Thank God that the bank that took over guaranteed the
funds that we had deposited with the one that failed.
But with one fell
swoop, everything we had worked for years to save could have been gone.
If you think that your deposits are safe in the event of a bank
failure, you need to read this and see this.
- Deposit confiscation:
Americans may not be as familiar with this as folks in Europe, but some
deposits from savers in Cyprus were confiscated.
article said that no deposits are safe.
- Investment loss:
Every type of investment carries some amount of risk. For example,
houses and trucks can get flooded.
At one time, we
invested in mutual funds and individual stocks.
did all of the research himself and for a time we were making a return
on our investments. When the time came that we experienced a 26% loss,
Mike determined that enough was enough and we sold all of our shares.
Some types of investment
vehicles are less prone to loss than others.
One driver experienced loss from items
stolen from his(?) truck while it was in the shop.
didn't say how much the stolen items were worth, but another trucker
said he had an "ipod
taken" from their truck's bunk.
Perhaps these things could
have been removed from the truck before it went into the shop; then
again, some valuable items are mounted in a truck like CB radios.
what extent does one try to protect himself against theft?
- Heavy medical bills:
One of Vicki's relatives was admitted to the hospital where he
underwent extensive testing and treatment that could not keep him
His spouse ended up with thousands of dollars of medical bills
that insurance did not cover.
A 2012 article from the U.K. says, "The
report, released this week, depicts a bleak picture of the future, with
a growing number of pensioners slipping into poverty as they use up
their savings to fund care and rely on friends and family for help."
Money saving tip:
Obviously, there are things you can do to not lose money voluntarily.
And in some cases, you might be able to lessen the loss of involuntary
actions taken against you.
For example, when we switched car insurance agents
in 2012, our new agent urged us
to increase the uninsured/underinsured part of our insurance policy.
said that if we left our coverage at the old level, we would have to
pay more out-of-pocket if we experienced a particular type of loss.
When applied in a commercial truck sense, owner-operators should
their truck insurance regularly.
Ask your agent if the level of your
cover your truck in certain (or likely) situations.
Be aware that you can be "insurance rich and cash
Be careful about trying to protect yourself against every type
can help guide you.
Educate yourself about reasonable precautions and
protections you can take against losing money.
If you're so inclined,
investigate extra protections.
money is lost, it may likely never be recovered.
Consider the trade-off in doing things for
yourself versus having others do them for you.
For example, how much
money could you save if you eat meals in your truck versus eating them
in restaurants (cost of meal, cost of tax and cost of tip all added
Run the numbers.
If you eat a breakfast restaurant
meal priced at $7.99 and you're in a place in California where the tax
is 10% (add $0.80) and you leave a $4 tip, your total cost is $7.99 +
$0.80 + $4.00 = $12.79.
How many eggs, how many slices of toast and how
many pieces of meat could you have fixed in your truck for that?
worth it to you to eat out, even considering your time?
Consider all of the things that you're spending
money on as well as things that could cost you money that you could
have put toward saving
Return from Ways Truckers Lose Money: Lessons on Prevention and Planning to our Budgeting page or our Truck Drivers Money Saving Tips home page.