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Painless Ways to Save Money: Rental Cars

This is the first of a series.   There’s no shortage of advice out there telling us how to save money.  However, much of it is along the lines of “give up your latte” or “don’t go out to eat”.  Great, I’m already depressed enough about the economy and now they want me to drink nasty coffee.

We decided to come up with a different list.  Ways to save money without having to change your lifestyle.   These are better ways to spend your money or equivalent products that are cheaper.   The goal:    To have the things you have today, only to spend less to have them.

Rental Cars:    Use the ‘opaque pricing’ option on Priceline or Hotwire.

Yes, you can use these services for airfare and hotels and you can save plenty of money that way as well.   However, there is one big difference with cars that fits with our theme for this series.    When you book airfare or hotels through these sites, you give up some control.   For example, you may have to fly at an inconvenient time or change planes.  Or, a hotel might be in a different part of the city than you want.   You won’t know the specifics until after you make a non-refundable commitment.   However, those risks are minimal with rental cars.   Whether you get assigned to Budget or Avis, Hertz or some other major provider, you’ll be picking your car up in roughly the same place and the class of car you pick (e.g., compact) will get you essentially the same car from one provider to another.    So, unlike airfare or hotel, there really is no trade-off when using Priceline or Hotwire —-  just savings of 10-30% or more.