Doug and I have been busy preparing our car and caravan for our lap around Oz next year. Some of the modifications include;
Car- towing mirrors, UHF, additional gauges, portable shower, snorkel, stereo system, kayak racks, stone stomper, rear drawer system, solar panel and cargo barrier.
Caravan- curtains for the kids bunks, fitting storage boxes, solar panel, charging system and marine carpet.
Buying and fitting these items can be a very expensive exercise, but not if you shop around! Here are some tips to help you save $$$ whilst still getting a quality product.
Ebay & Gumtree
Once you know how much the new product will cost you jump online and check out sites such as Ebay and Gumtree. We purchased our stone stomper from a seller on Gumtree for a fraction of the new price, it was brand new, never used. We saved approximately $400 by buying it this way.
We purchased our cargo barrier (used condition) from Ebay, saving us approximately $ 350
Fit it yourself or ask a friend
I am fortunate enough to have a hubby who is an auto electrician therefore, we have been able to fit a lot of the purchased equipment ourselves, saving us thousands of $$$ however, there were still some items we needed help with such as the additional gauges in the car. This is when we called in the expert advise of a friend who was happy to help, again saving us $$$.
We have also found that DIY videos are readily available these days online. Doug fitted our Safari snorkel on the patrol after watching a Youtube video!
Presents for christmas/birthdays
I am also lucky enough to have a mother who can sew just about anything. For Christmas, instead of mum putting the usual $100 in a card I requested that she purchased some fabric and make some curtains for the kids bunks. Saving us approximately $400 which is what it would have cost if I had them professionally made.
For the kids birthdays this year, I have asked the grandparents to purchase the kids items that they will need for our trip, eg. new wallets.
Check out other brands
Don't just buy the first thing you see, shop around! When researching towing mirrors we found that clearview mirrors were a popular choice among caravanners however, they were super expensive at $745 for a set. After searching online we found a product that was identical and half the price. We picked up a set of OCAM mirrors for $350 from Ebay and they're fantastic!
Use a bartering system
Doug is often asked to complete auto electrical jobs for people on weekends, normally for family and friends. Instead of asking for money in return for the work we try to use a bartering system. For example, a friend of Doug's owns a welding business therefore, in return for some auto electrical work, we had a storgae box made up to fit our caravan.
Layby or Afterpay expensive items
If you know an item is gong to cost a lot, pay your item off in smaller increments by using a layby or an afterpay service. Doug and I had decided early on in our planning that we wanted to purchase a good quality drone to take around Australia with us. We new this would be an expensive item so we put it on layby and reduced the burden of paying for it in one payment.