Three tricks and major coupons to lock in a car rental deal.

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ST. LOUIS -- In my continued search to save you time and money, today we tackle one of the most aggravating and inflated elements of travel: car rentals!

Today following these three steps can easily save you a lot of cash on your next car rental. Want more money-saving ideas or deals? Follow @MattGranite on Twitter.

1. DON'T PICK-UP OR DROP-OF AT THE AIRPORT. If you can skip the car rental counter at the airport you'll save somewhere between 25% and 35% on the overall cost of your car rental. Airport kiosks usually have inflated drop-off and pick-up fees. It's often easy to find a car rental company within a mile or two of an airport for a much lower rental fee.

2. SKIP THE BIG BOYS. Sometimes going with a smaller company like Fox, Payless or Sixt Car Rental will save you more money over the "big boys" like Hertz, Budget or Enterprise. Also, in my opinion, skip every insurance policy they throw at you. The coverage through your current provider will usually suffice.

3. TACK ON DATES & USE A COUPON. This may sound bizarre but sometimes adding an extra day or a weekend to your actual travel dates will result in an overall lower rate, even if you return your car early. I've seen this technique also work well on hotels. When it comes to coupons.... here's what I found:

CLICK HERE to compare rates and lock in the lowest car rental rates. This is hands-down my favorite way to rent.

Other discounts:

$14.99 Weekend Special w/Hertz When You Pay Now
Up To 20% Off + Third Weekend Day Free w/Budget using Mastercard
Midsize SUV Rental For $33.99 per day w/Dollar Car Rental


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