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Creating the Ultimate Family Vehicle for Less

American Government Special Collections Reference Desk

Creating the Ultimate Family Vehicle for Less

Levi Quinn
May 27, 2011

If you have kids, you know that having a reliable mode of transportation is an important aspect of successfully raising a family in today's busy world. But when it comes to a vehicle that will both get kids to their destination and keep them entertained while doing so, things can get expensive. Families on a budget do not have to sacrifice the ability to drive around in comfort, though, and can create a wonderful family vehicle by using after-market upgrades and options.

Purchasing all of the bells and whistles from the dealership can cost an arm and a leg, but adding your own technological and comfort features can be much less pricey if you put in the work yourself. By buying a base model and having third parties install the desired upgrades you could potentially save thousands.

The first thing you want to do when creating your own ultimate family vehicle on a budget is to make a list of everything you want your car, van, or SUV to have. Leather or cloth interior? Bucket seats or bench seats in the middle row? Navigation? Television? DVD player? Gaming system? Front and back climate control? These are all features that you will need to either include on your list or pass up. Next, you should go down the list and mark off the ones that you can have installed after the car is purchased. For structural and more complex features, like seating and climate control, you will want the car to come from the dealership with these options already in place. This means that all of the remaining features on your list should be included in the car that you purchase. Now it is time to do a bit of research. By comparing your wish list to the models featured on the websites of car manufacturers, you can get a good idea of what vehicles will fit both your budget and your family's needs. Oftentimes a test drive is all it takes to make the final decision after narrowing down the search.

Once you have bought your new family vehicle, it is time to add the rest of the features on the list. Depending up the options you have chosen, you may want to install the features slowly to keep your budget in line. One of the disadvantages of this technique, as opposed to buying the features that you want directly from the manufacturer, is that you cannot always finance your additions. Some stores have great programs, though, that offer credit with little to no interest for a certain time period. Either way, adding these features yourself saves money in the long run—especially if you take the time to shop around for the best deals. Many electronics and auto stores offer installation services for popular features, so make sure that you compare rates to get the best price available. Once you have completed the installation of your car's new options, you should have the ultimate family vehicle for much less than it would have cost to get these features directly from the manufacturer. It may be a bit inconvenient to have to take your car to get the work done, but in the long run your budget (and your kids) will thank you.

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