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One Of The Largest Costs Of An Owner Operator

Food and drinks are one of the largest costs you'll incur as an owner-operator, and it can sidle into the top spot if you work with a carrier. Restaurants along the highway and near truck stops can be cheaper than most, but they can still add up quickly when you're on the road. The best thing you can do to counteract the convenience of just buying a meal as part of a break is to plan ahead and make eating different meals just as convenient.

What are two steps you can take to make cooking your own meals convenient and cost-effective?

1. Install a refrigerator and a microwave. Being able to put together meals from just a few ingredients can be a great way to substitute for restaurant-cooked meals. But that requires a heat source (especially during the winter, when half of the temptation of a restaurant is hot food), and a place to store essentials like milk, cheese, and deli meat. Shopping in a grocery store will save you significant amounts of money immediately, and that can be a huge boost to your savings goals -- especially if your budgeting meals. If you can't afford both at once, or your truck is equipped to power only one, try a crock pot instead of a microwave. Once it's secured, you can have anything from oatmeal in the morning to chili at night bubbling away at your convenience.

2. Treat meals like a business expense. This doesn't just mean saving the receipts for taxes; just like with fuel costs, unexpected maintenance problems, and truck leasing, you should know in advance what your projected food costs are going to be. Once you have a realistic estimate, you can start to shop around and find better deals that are more in line with your business goals and figure out if how much you're spending is an amount you're comfortable with.

At the beginning, middle, and end of the day, meals are a continual expense that you get to ultimately decide the budget for. If you plan ahead and make sure you have convenient options besides restaurants and fast food, then you can make better choices both for your health and your bottom line.