Renting a cheap car does not necessarily mean breaking the bank. There are ways of getting discounted rental cars and saving money.
First and most importantly, get the smallest car that will satisfy your needs. The bigger and fancier the car, the more money you will spend. This is especially true for sport utility vehicles and minivans; they can be significantly more expensive, and if you do not need the extra room, it is in your best interest to rent a sedan, or smaller vehicle.
Second, there is a lot of money to be saved if you rent your vehicle at a location away from the airport. You can actually save a lot of money if you spend a little extra time and take a shuttle to the rental facility. Off-airport locations do not charge airport mandated fees.
Third, make sure that you know your insurance coverage inside and out. Some credit card companies will cover the cost of repairs if you decline the rental company's insurance, but be certain that you read the fine print. Some credit cards will not cover certain types of vehicles, and may not apply in certain locations. Sometimes it may be in your best interest to pay the extra for the rental company's insurance, since it may save you money and time in the long run. Just remember you can be held responsible for the full amount of any damage done to the rental car while it is in your possession.
Before you even consider which company to go with, you are going to want to evaluate your needs, decide on the size of car you want so that you can avoid making hasty or expensive decisions. Also be aware that vehicle classifications systems will vary between rental companies. "Compact", "mid-size", and "luxury" may mean different things to different people, so be sure to know what you are getting and at what price.
Car Rental Express displays the best rates available, by ascending order. You can also check if there are any specials that are related to the length of time you will need the vehicle; many places offer weekly or weekend deals. If your plans are flexible, you may be able to save money by renting a cheap car when price breaks are available. Be sure to inquire about restrictions on special offers, including blackout dates when that specific rate is unavailable.
Car rental rates are not set in stone, in fact they change more often than you may think. Doing your research is the best way to get the best rate. Make sure to ask about special discounts from auto club memberships, corporate contracts, or other special clubs; some car rental agencies give you a discount for being a Costco member, so there is no harm in asking about all of their discount rates. Remember, most car rental agencies have a lot of cars to rent out, and those cars are not making them any money just by sitting on the lot, so you may be able to pay less than expected, and still get a good cheap rental car.