Ways to save on transportation costs
- By Milt x_Zall
- Dec 07, 2000
In the midst of the holiday season, travel is on many people's minds. Here
are some helpful hints for saving money now and in the future when dealing
with planes, repairs and automobiles.
1. You can lower the price of a round-trip fare by as much as two-thirds
by making certain your trip includes a Saturday evening stay and by purchasing
the ticket in advance.
2. 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.
3. Be flexible, if possible. Consider using low-fare carriers or alternate
airports, and keep an eye out for fare wars.
1. Car rental rates can vary greatly, so shop around for the best basic
rates. Ask about any additional charges (extra driver, gas or drop-off fees)
and special offers.
2. Rental car companies offer insurance and waiver options. Check with
your automobile insurance agent and credit card company in advance to avoid
duplicating coverage you may already have.
1. 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 librarian for new car guides
that contain this information.
2. 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
3. Remember there is no cooling-off period on new car sales. Once you
have signed a contract, you are obligated to buy the car.
1. Before buying any used car, check price guides to compare the seller's
asking price with the average retail price. And have a mechanic you trust
check the car, especially if the car is sold as is.
2. Consider purchasing a used car from a person you know and trust.
They are more likely than other sellers to charge a lower price and point
out problems with the car.
1. Don't decide to lease a car just because the payments are lower than
on a traditional auto loan. The leasing payments are lower because you don't
own the car at the end of the lease.
2. When shopping, consider the price of the car (known as the capitalized
cost), your trade-in allowance, any down payment, monthly payments, excess
mileage fees, excess "wear and tear" fees and the cost of buying the car
at the end of the lease.
3. Check the "Consumer
Guide to Vehicle Leasing," published by the Federal Reserve Board, for valuable
information about auto leasing.
1 .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.
2. You can save up to $100 a year on gas by keeping your engine tuned
and your tires inflated properly.
1. Find a skilled, honest mechanic. Before you need repairs, look for
a mechanic who is certified and well-established, has done good work for
someone you know and communicates well about repair options and costs.
Zall, Bureaucratus columnist and a retired federal employee, is a freelance
writer based in Silver Spring, Md. He specializes in taxes, investing, business
and government workplace issues. He is a certified internal auditor and
a registered investment adviser. He can be reached at [email protected]