- You may lower the price of a round trip air fare by as much as two-thirds by
making certain your trip includes a Saturday evening stay over, and by
purchasing the ticket in advance.
- To make certain you have a cheap fare, even if you use a travel agent,
contact all the airlines that fly where you want to go and ask what the
lowest fare to your destination is.
- Be flexible, if possible. Consider using low fare carriers or alternative airports
and keep an eye out for fare wars.
- Since car rental rates can vary greatly, shop around for the best basic rates.
Ask about any additional charges (extra driver, gas, drop-off fees) and
- Rental car companies offer various insurance and waiver options. Check
with your automobile insurance agent and credit card company in
advance to avoid duplicating any coverage you may already have.
- You can save thousands of dollars over the lifetime of a car by selecting a
model that combines a low purchase price with low financing, insurance,
gasoline, maintenance, and repair costs. Ask your local librarian for new
car guides that contain this information.
- Having selected a model, you can save hundreds of dollars by comparison
shopping. Call at least five dealers for price quotes and let each know that
you are calling others.
- Remember there is no "cooling off" period on new car sales. Once you have
signed a contract, you are obligated to buy the car.
Before buying any used car:
- Compare the seller's asking price with the average retail price in a
"bluebook" or other guide to car prices found at many libraries, banks,
and credit unions.
- Have a mechanic you trust check the car, especially if the car is sold "as is."
- Consider purchasing a used car from an individual you know and trust.
They are more likely than other sellers to charge a lower price and point out
any problems with the car.
- Don't decide to lease a car just because the payments are lower than on a
traditional auto loan. The leasing payments may be lower because you
don't own the car at the end of the lease.
- Leasing a car is very complicated. When shopping, consider the price of the
car (known as the capitalized cost), your trade-in allowance, any down
payment, monthly payments, various fees (excess mileage, excess "wear
and tear," end-of- lease), and the cost of buying the car at the end of the
lease. Keys to Vehicle Leasing: A Consumer Guide, published by the Federal
Reserve Board and Federal Trade Commission, is a valuable source of
information about auto leasing.
- You can save hundreds of dollars a year by comparing prices at different
stations, pumping gas yourself, and using the lowest-octane called for in
your owner's manual.
- You can save up to $100 a year on gas by keeping your engine tuned and
your tires inflated to their proper pressure.
Consumers lose billions of dollars each year on unneeded or poorly done car
repairs. The most important step that you can take to save money on these
repairs is to find a skilled, honest mechanic. Before you need repairs, look for a
- Is certified and well established;
- Has done good work for someone you know; and
- Communicates well about repair options and costs.