Things To Keep In Your Car to Remain Frugal
Is your car stocked for anything? Do you keep extra supplies in your car to help you remain frugal when you are out and about? Even if it is just the driver you need to take care of, it still helps to be prepared. When you have kids, it seems you can never be too prepared. Prepared for what you say? More than just a break down is what. There are many things you need to prepare for, but obviously you can't pack your whole house into your car.
Planning ahead for the unexpected will help you to remain frugal. For us this includes a stocked diaper bag. I keep wipes (for cleaning hands as well as diaper changes), diapers, plastic bags, extra outfits for the kids including socks and underwear, water bottles or juice boxes, sunscreen, kleenex, small toys or books, and snacks, snacks and more snacks. I also keep allergy medicine for my son and I, Pepcid for my daughter with reflux, children's motrin, bandaids, and hand sanitizer. If you do not have a diaper bag, a small duffle bag will work just fine. When my daughter with reflux was younger I also kept a clean shirt for me in the diaper bag, as she was constantly vomiting on me.
Other things that I keep in my car are magazines that I get in the mail. Then if I have a few minutes to kill while waiting on someone, I do not run into the nearest store to pass the time, I sit in the van and read a magazine. A book would work just as well. I also keep a towel or two, in case of spills or sickness. My daughter gets carsick easily, so bags for her to use and towels and wipes to clean up really make life easier.
Towels and wipes can also be used if you have a flat tire. You can kneel on the towel to prevent your clothes from getting dirty and use the wipes to clean your hands when you are done. If you are out of windshield wiper fluid and aren't near a gas station to clean your windows, pour some water from a water bottle on the windows and then wipe with a towel. Towels and plastic bags are useful for muddy feet as well. Either put a towel under your feet or take your shoes off completely and put in the bag to help keep your car clean.
Keeping snacks in the car is a real lifesaver for us. Kids get hungry frequently, but I also know that I get awfully grumpy when I am hungry. A granola bar on the go helps a lot to get us through until we can get home to eat a real meal. Having snacks and water bottles in the car has completely cut out drive through runs for us. Having these in the diaper bag has also allowed us to keep the kids happy during long appointments. We keep our diaper bag in the car at all times. If we use some items while we are out, I bring it in and replace them right away, making sure to put the bag back in the car right away.
Having a map in the car will save you money as well. No one likes to stop and ask directions and buying a map at the gas station can be very expensive. All maps that we have ever bought are in the car at all times. If we are turned around we can quickly pull over and check the map. This keeps us from wasting gas while we either look for the place or look for a gas station where we can ask someone who might or might not know. And of course it prevents us from buying more maps.
Everything I have listed here can be easily kept in a small bag and thrown in the trunk or back seat. It really doesn't even take very long to get it together, but once you have it, it will make your life easier. And most important it will save you money.