financial discussions with the girl next door

Rental Cars March 18, 2010

Filed under: Uncategorized — girlnextdoorfinance @ 6:25 pm

A few months ago I posted that my car broke down again so I decided to give up my car for a while. So far it’s been wonderful – I’m sort of anti-social anyway, so I don’t mind not hanging out with people unless they live within walking distance or are willing to come pick me up (not that I have a ton of free time with my school schedule, anyway!). I live a block from campus, and it’s absolutely wonderful having a 5-minute walk as my “commute” to school or work each day.

Since the beginning of the year, I’ve only had a rental car once, when I went “home” for a weekend in late January. This weekend I’m heading there again, so right now I’m averaging once every 6 weeks or so that I shell out for a rental car for the weekend. I usually rent from Enterprise even though I’m not a huge fan of the company. They’re slightly cheaper than Hertz or Avis, which are the other chain rental car places around here. I always reserve online (TIP: If you need a rental car, always reserve online – even if it’s just a few hours before you need the car!) because they have better deals. At Enterprise, the compact cars (the cheapest cars they have available) are $19.99 per day on the weekends, which means with tax and fees it costs me about $65 to rent a car from Friday morning to Monday morning. This includes unlimited miles in the continental US, which is great because if I paid by the mile I would probably never go see my family. They’re closed on Sunday, which means you have to pay for the extra day, even if you’re finished with the car on Sunday and want to bring it back early.

That usually works out alright for me, because I always drive back here on Sunday. Since I have to keep the car until Monday morning (or at least, I won’t save money by returning it Sunday afternoon or evening), I run errands on Sunday that are more inconvenient to run when I don’t have a car.

My car insurance (full coverage) is now $25 per month. (Shout out: I love love love my AAA car insurance. I’ll post more on that some day.) If you don’t have insurance and get it from Enterprise, it’s $20 or $25 PER DAY. (Wow! Definitely worth it to keep mine, even if I hardly use it!) Gasoline to go home and come back here is about $20 each way. So, if I visit family once a month (and right now, it’s a little less than that), I spend about $130 per month on transportation. While this seems like a lot (especially given that it’s in order to have a car for one weekend!), I’m pretty content with it. Even though my car is paid off and got excellent gas mileage, those who have been reading for a while know that I spent a LOT of money on repairs last year, not to mention routine maintenance. When you also include regularly buying gasoline, taking more trips because of having a car always available, plus my higher car insurance rates then (it was $44 per month until December, my car insurance usually drops every 6 months), I’m definitely coming out way ahead and feel no worse off for lacking a vehicle.

Do you rent cars? If so, where from? Do you always use the same company, or do you find that the cheapest deal varies from time to time? Any other thoughts on renting cars?


One Response to “Rental Cars”

  1. I rent quite often, and here are my thoughts

    1. Enterprise is the cheapest. The best for long-term rentals, because I take the full-sized car.

    2. I always check out all the discounts available to family/friends, employees, through my credit card and my CAA program. Hertz, Avis and Budget are the best for this.

    I don’t go to any but the 4 above, because the rest are kind of shady…

    3. I never pay for rental car insurance because I have it through my Visa, and I keep the very bare minimum car insurance on my regular car.

    That’s about it…

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