As you probably know, no car can ever be totally childproofed. Kids always seem to find ways to make the best plans go awry. You can, however, make your car a friendlier place to be during errand runs or long road trips. Grabbing a few key, but inexpensive items can also reduce costs on interior cleaning too. Here’s how you can save.
Talk to most parents who own a car with a DVD player and they’ll tell you that road trips have never been the same since the purchase. Fidgety kids love being able to watch their favorite movies on those long drives. But getting a DVD player straight from the dealer can be pricey – some add $2,000 to the sticker price. The low cost way to keep your kids happy is to look into an aftermarket system. A little research will help you find the best overhead components for your particular vehicle, and bartering with the retailer can often times lead to a free installation as well – that is if they haven’t thrown it in with the purchase already. Compared to what you’ll pay at the dealer, you could easily save $1,500.
Low tech can be equally important in making your car a friendly place for your children. Many stores stock tray tables that strap on to the back of the front seats or hook onto a car seat for under $25, and many come with pockets to store things like coloring utensils and pads of paper. The best part about having a place to store things means messes stay relatively contained – saving you money on cleanup.
This may seem like a ‘duh’ moment, but having one dedicated place to put trash in your car saves you time and money on cleaning in the long run. The best part? These can be absolutely free. Just use a plastic bag or a container you don’t use around the house and throw it in the backseat. Your wallet will thank you later.
Messy adults sometimes need these just as much as kids. Seat covers can protect your leather or cloth from the grime that comes with shuttling kids around. Many variants can be found at stores, but the cheapest way to go is to use a fitted sheet and some clips to keep it in place. Stores like Ikea and Target have them in a rainbow of shades – so you can match the interior colors – and all are machine washable to save you time. Before you buy that fancy one, remember that they all look equally unattractive covered in melted gummy bears and dried milk.