Road Money Rules


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**Guest post written by Road Bill Boronkay, Ignite Hospitality Services Blog Associate.

 

"For many, the "Romance of the Road" includes the finest in gas station dining. The fact that we’re making a living doing what we love isn’t lost on those who hire us, many of whom apparently think our “love of the game” can pay bills, since many pay rates have stayed flat the last 15 years or even decreased. Part of the game is getting to the stage with some money in your pocket.

 

The first thing everyone thinks of is the price of gas. Amazing how an industry with record profits passes along the cost of any repairs they incur to it’s customers-part of the reason they routinely enjoy record profits. The philosophy of “cost of doing business” never enters the mind of oil executives. We’re all aware of gas buddy, grocery stores that give you savings at the pump for shopping and gas cards that do the same. Basically, you need a bigger wallet just to carry all the cards. Also, different states have much higher gas taxes. As an example, I try to make sure my tank is full before crossing Pennsylvania where filling up is much more expensive than New Jersey and Ohio. Yes, that’s how well my career is going.

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There’s a good chance we eat more while driving than we do watching movies (btw-popcorn butter is murder on steering wheels). Boredom eating doesn’t just kill your diet but it takes a major toll on your wallet. I gave up fast food a long time ago, so this may be a bit of the, “Back in my day…” syndrome, but damn, when did drive thru’s get so expensive? Competition arrived. Many of those turnpike service areas have really stepped up their games. Fresh, non-fried options (you really don’t have to fry everything) are around. The drawback…they’re more expensive. Like many money savers, a little extra planning goes a long way. Drinks are a budget killer. Individual Cokes or bottled water add up. I’m still amazed (here comes another, “Back in my day…”) bottled water is actually a thing. Most towns have good tap water. On top of that, the plastic bottles are horrible for the environment, incredible waste. Fill up a sports bottle or two. If you like soft drinks, teas or whatever, a trip to Target (or another grocery store) shows you how much profit is made off individual bottles at a convenience store. A six pack of vitamin water zero is normally about the price of 3 bottles in at a Pilot, Flying J or whatever. Same theory goes for snacks, sandwiches and gosh darn it, who doesn’t love getting Lunchables at a fair price? The point is, a short grocery run is worth the time investment.

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The biggest expense is usually lodging. At a certain age, you just can’t picture staying at a dirty hotel or sleeping in your car. You want to do a show after driving 10 hours and feeling like you need to shower off after taking a shower? By the way, you’re most likely spending $75 for that “I’m going to sleep in my clothes” room. There was no way around it, until a friend recommended Ignite Hospitality. It’s a pretty simple system. You get quality hotel rooms for prices you wouldn’t believe. It does require a little work on your end, emphasis on little. You stay in the hotel, then write social media reviews on the property. Really, that’s pretty much it. Take a few pics to go with your reviews and you’re done. It sounded too good to be true but at my friend’s urging I tried it and let’s just say, “Damn.” The savings have allowed me to take gigs I would’ve turned down (which gives you an idea of the quality of gigs I often get). It’s really that simple. Most of these hotels have a great breakfast (which goes back to saving you money on food as well). The full explanation and sign up are on their website, www.ignitehospitalityservices.com.

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For a few reviews, you get a great room, usually a big breakfast (which I try to eat as late a possible…then skip lunch until getting to the club if the club is comping food). Rereading this, I’m realizing I’ve found some ways to cut travel costs and at the same time I’ve learned, damn, I can be really cheap. That said, I’m not stuffing my pockets with Little Debbie’s, so I’ve got that going for me. A little pride goes a long way…but not as far as a free meal. It’s a barren jungle out there."

 

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