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How to Save Money on Rental Cars: Penny Pinching and Frugal Living

Updated on February 4, 2012

How to Save Money on Rental Cars: Penny Pinching and Frugal Living

CUT SPENDING NOW! This site is dedicated to saving you money on a rental car. This free website includes hundreds and hundreds of time-tested tips to help you save your hard-earned money each and every day. If you want to save money on a rental car, you’ve come to the right place.

It's time to cut spending and stop overpaying for basic goods and services that are necessities. I'm a penny pincher, and you can learn a lot of different ways to live frugally yet comfortably by reading through this free website and its links. You can save a lot of money! I’ve saved thousands of dollars using many of these ideas. You can do it too!

How to Save Money on Rental Cars

Car Rental Links: How to Save Money on Rental Cars

How to Save Money on Rental Cars

  • Before renting, check to see what insurance you have. Rental companies offer many different insurance and waiver options. Before renting, check with your insurance agent and credit card company. By doing so, you might be able to avoid duplicating any coverage you may already have.
  • Do your research, and be persistent. Dealing with car rental companies is tricky business. Much like booking a hotel, it’s all about getting lucky. Catch the right rental agent, and you get a good deal. In general, if it sounds like you’re getting a bad deal, you probably are. Don’t take it. Call back later, and talk to a different agent. Ask for discounts and deals. Be nice. You might be surprised how well this simple tactic works. I’ve personally saved hundreds of dollars by asking for these discounts and being nice to the agent. Remember, rental agents deal with many people each day. Many are rude and unfriendly. If you’re the nice one, you’ll probably get preferential treatment. Ask for any and all discounts. Some of these discounts may include AAA, AARP, American Express, airline affiliate programs, and others that I can’t even think of. Ask, ask, ask, and save money.
  • Ask for a weekly fee if you’re going to rent the car for a long time. Often, these rates are cheaper.
  • Drive and save a little. Rental fees can be substantially different, for the same company, in different towns. Knowing this can often save you a tremendous amount of money. I once spent 30 dollars on a taxi and drove to a nearby town. While there, I rented a car for 24 dollars less, each day, than I could have in the original city. Since I had the car for five days, I saved 120 dollars.
  • Call the car rental company ahead of time or book reservations on the internet. You can often find better deals by doing this.
  • Become a frequent renter. You’ve heard of frequent fliers? There are also frequent renter programs. Use them and save. Most major companies offer frequent renter programs that can help you earn upgrades and free rental days.
  • Look into becoming a preferred renter. Most major car rental companies offer preferred renter programs. Belonging to one of these clubs may result preferential treatment, the ability to bypass the rental counter. Many of these programs cost more, but most companies will waive the fee if you ask them to do so.
  • Many rental companies offer unlimited mileage for business rentals. Be certain to verify their policy before renting. Exceeding your mileage allotment can cost a lot of money.
  • Ask for a non-smoking car. By doing this, you’ll probably get a newer and cleaner car. You’ll also increase your chances of getting an upgrade.
  • Always refill the car prior to returning it. It’s not uncommon for rental agencies to charge massive amounts of money to refill your car. One company I used to do business with used to charge people 5 dollars more, per gallon, than the station across the street. Don’t fall for that trap!

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    • arizonataylor profile image

      arizonataylor 7 years ago from Arizona

      Thank you. I typically save more with the coupons than I do with the regular AAA discounts. Either way, saving money is a good thing.

    • profile image

      Mike 7 years ago

      You are right about using AAA and then asking for any other deals. I found out that there are many coupons for money off in the Entertainment Book (it is a thick book of coupons published annually). Many of the rental car companies have coupons in that and the Yellow Pages book as well. Great tips by the way. Thanks!