Making Food on the Road Less Expensive

Let’s face it, constantly eating out can not only get old, but the costs of eating out can add up to be outrageous. I can vividly remember going out to eat with my family at a specific Mexican restaurant when I was about 10 years old. My father could feed his family of four including the tip, with a 20-dollar bill. This day and age, a commercial truck driver could easily spend $20 on a meal just to feed him or herself. In doing the math, even if you were to spend $15 a day for five days, you will end up spending $3,900 each year on eating out. Multiply that by just five years and this calculates to almost $20,000 in food costs. That is close to the price of a brand new Volkswagen Jetta! So how can one avoid the high cost of eating out on the road throughout the week?

One of the simplest ways a truck driver can save expense on food is by choosing where and how to eat their food. Fortunately, there are ways a driver can reduce how much he or she spends on food while working over the road.

In large part, the only dining choices truck drivers have most of the time are truck stops and a few restaurants that have parking lots large enough to accommodate a truck and a trailer. However, there are options out there that can help a driver avoid expensive truck stops and restaurant chains. These options consist of crock-pots, mini-electric ovens, lunchbox cookers, mini-fridges, and coolers. It’s also possible to pick up food in shops as you pass through various places, so whether you want morgantown pepperoni rolls or a boston roast beef sandwich, there are options out there. While the initial cost to purchase items such as a mini-fridge, crockpot or a cooker may not be cheap, there is a huge savings in the long run when comparing the cost of purchasing meals at a restaurant over the same period of time. In other words, the amount of money a truck driver can save weekly/monthly by preparing their own meals will make up for the one time cost of the appliances.

Purchasing food from a grocery store can cut a driver’s weekly food price in half, and on a yearly basis, can save him or her thousands of dollars. The downfall is that it does take time to prepare your food before you eat it. Food preparation can sometimes seem daunting at the end of a long drive shift. Besides preparing the food, a driver will also have to spend time shopping for it, packing it, and planning for it. However, it could be argued that a really long line for food at busy restaurants can equal out to be just as much time. Some days it may seem like too much effort to prepare your own meals, but if you can make the time to do so, even a few times a week, it can save you a lot of money over time.

If a driver is not wanting to put in the extra time necessary to prepare their own meals, he or she can still find ways to save money by eating out. Most truck stops have reward cards that drivers can accumulate points and get free meals, drinks, and snacks. Some truck stops and gas stations even have coupons a driver can print out or show the cashier from an app to get discounted food.

Along with reward points and coupons, a driver also can cut their costs by buying only what they need, choosing smaller meals, or splitting each meal and saving the other half for later. If a sandwich is enough to fill your stomach, do not purchase French fries, a bag of chips, a candy bar, and an extra-large drink to go along with the sandwich. Do not allow your stomach to drive your wallet! If you only buy what you need at each stop, money can definitely be saved each week.

For the driver who is willing to spend a little more time planning and/or preparing, there are many ways they can reduce their overall food bill while out on the road. One just needs to decide whether the time, preparation, and planning is worth the long term savings. Remember the old adage, pennies make dollars! People also say, “Time is money!” You choose which one is right for you.