I don't buy stuff because I can, I buy when I think I can afford to pay for it without getting in debt and with out compromising my savings principal and my life style. That's why I maintain zero debt (exception of the mortgages) and it is a very simple rule to follow unless you are a slave to commercials and in to "I need to have it NOW" mentality. I give a huge credit to my father for teaching me how to handle money at a young age and my background in mathematics to not allow myself to be raped by the banks.
Most cab drivers are poor because they lack the knowledge and principal on how to handle cash oriented business, it's not that they don't generate enough cash, as a matter of fact driving a cab if you are creative and consistent enough you can end up saving good amount of cash in a relatively short period of time.
To my fellow cabbies and who ever is in the business of getting paid cash everyday like waitress and bartenders and so on the following tips are Uncle Mad's manual on how poor cab drivers and alike can learn how to save too.
TIP #1 Get rid of your television set! No I am not joking, you can not afford to sit on your ass and watch some tubes while you have a money making machine parked outside. If you are tired get some sleep instead, if you're bored get in to an interesting hobby or do some volunteer work, you can meet some interesting people and get laid at the same time. I think TV is one of the reasons why Americans don't have enough savings, TV is for rich people!
TIP #2 Exercise! By sitting on your fat ass and driving all day your body is not getting enough exercise and you will be exposed to chronic diseases like high blood pressure, diabetics and heart problems and so on. You don't have to join a gym to be in shape unless you want to check out some ass while you work out like I do at Lifetime Fitness. The DC area have so many parks where you can run and you can buy some weight sets and other exercising tools and work out at home and save some on gym dues.
TIP #3 Eat Healthy! Stop living on fast foods and greasy shit, it will make you tired, lousy and unproductive besides loading up on your bad cholesterol. Brown bag healthy food and water of your own, it's much cheaper and you will do your heart a favor.
TIP #4 I know it's hard but stop bad habits like smoking, excessive drinking, playing the daily lottery or other forms of gambling but you need to STOP by all means.
TIP #5 Stick around with a meaningful relationship and if you are married don't fuck around. I see married cabbies do all kind of stupid shit that could cost them their marriage, money and health.
You have to be committed to the last 5 tips before you will be able go to the second phase to start save any money, unless you work on the fundamentals on your well being first and build a will power and a consistent positive routine the chances of you being a financially successful as a cab driver are mathematically very remote.
TIP #6 Don't overwork yourself! The human body is not a machine, it needs a decent amount of rest and sleeping time depending on what your needs are. If you could get away with it have a good 5 working days or 6 if not possible but NEVER work 7 days a week. You will do yourself harm in the long run and you could easily burn yourself out but make sure to be disciplined on your work ethic and Consistency because you are your own boss and there is no one to supervise you.
TIP #7 Educate yourself about the city of where you drive, read anything you could find about the city, be knowledgeable and informative. When I tell my passengers some shit about the city that they didn't know about even though they lived in Washington for years they get real impressed and that could be an extra dollar or two which could turn in to thousands of dollars in the long run. Cabs are expensive and people take cabs for the convenience so you have to sell a great service by being very informative and being an expert in what you do and this goes out to the waiting staff also, take the menu home and study it, understand the ingredients so in a nut shell, KNOW YOUR SHIT REAL WELL!!!
Tip #8 Be clean! Make sure you take a shower before you step in side your cab and wear fresh cloths and clean your cab everyday. Don't be surprised by not getting tipped because you and your cab smell like a fucken garbage and unfortunately I hear some horror stories from my passengers about some of you funky ass cab drivers so lets get with the program. Being neat and clean generates positive energy and will draw more cash to your pocket.
Tip #9 Think positively about what you do for a living and always you should feel like a million bucks. When you feel good you attract good people and never associate yourself with negative jackasses because they will drag you down with them and never bring your personal problems inside your cab with you.
Tip #10 When you are out there driving, relax and take your time, most cab drivers think that they are good because they are aggressive hustlers but that's not the case, usually those monsters are stressed out and live miserable lives and probably don't have jack in their savings. I see these cabbies cutting me off to be in front of me for a pick up but I don't let that bother me at all because I know by the end of the day I will come out ahead with pocketful of cash.
Tip #11 NEVER NEVER NEVER cheat your passengers, I know it happens in DC a lot because we have confusing zone system instead of meters so a lot of people are taken for a ride. If you think you are doing out of ordinary stuff for your customer like getting them a hooker or helping them buy crack let them know in advance how much your time is worth and that's what I do all night long. If you steal other people's money it will come back to bite you in some form or another and it is not the right thing to do. Would you teach your little girl or your little boy to steal? I thought so!
Tip #12 Don't charge for any shit that you can't pay off when the bill arrives! If you can't pay it off that means your ass can not afford it in the first place when you used the plastic. I only charge for my gasoline which is about $800-$1000/month depending on what Dick Cheney and the gang decide on how much they want for a gallon of gasoline but I do pay my bill by the end of the month. I use my card for accounting convenience and to keep my credit history going and as far as I am concerned the only loans you should carry if you have to are for your house and education period. DON'T let the banks sexually assault you! If you are in debt get rid of it first before you start saving.
Now if you can do all that it means that you are ready for the final phase and start executing tip # 13
Tip #13 Pay yourself first! Put away the at least the first $60 every day and then start from zero, convince yourself that $60 doesn't exist do not depend on that $60 for anything. Start to work on your living expenses and ER fund and all the garbage after you paid your ass. Make sure you go to a professional who can help you make a sound investment decisions with that $60/day. Don't try to be a hero and make your own investment shit, the odds are stacked up against you, you can always research and educate yourself about the markets but at the same time you have to let someone who is trained and does that for a living handle your business. If you manage to save your first $60 five days a week with a conservative 10% return on your investment, in ten years you will end up with almost a quarter of a million dollars!(look at the table year by year) imagine if you can put away $100/day or more?
0 $ 15,078.68
1 $ 31,736.30
2 $ 50,138.19
3 $ 70,466.99
4 $ 92,924.49
5 $ 117,733.58
6 $ 145,140.50
7 $ 175,417.29
8 $ 208,864.46
9 $ 245,813.97
Always remember it's not how much you make! it's how much of it you keep! and please if you think this is a helpful post, print it out and pass it on to the next cabbie you see or you ride with. I wrote this because I know a lot of cab drivers who drove for years and years but they have nothing to show for! and it is sad because few changes here and there could have changed the outcome of their future but you are never to late to save and start NOW!
Please don't forget the homeless.
Mad "Warren Buffet" Cabbie