It's an unfortunate fact that all cars will require some kind of service during their lifespan.
Taking you car to a repair shop will usually cost you an arm and a leg, and not because the parts are expensive. It's the price of labor that get you every time. I am the first to admit that my automotive knowledge is minimal at best, but I have been able to skip the repair shop by doing small repairs myself with a little help from Google.
With today's technology, you can learn anything on the Internet. This includes basic repairs and diagnosis of cars. Many sites even have pictures and step by step instructions how to preform common repairs. Our Ford "Exploder" needed a few various repairs over the last few years. In each case, I was able to spend some time researching the symptoms, locating a part, and fixing it for pennies on the dollar. The last few that I remember were: the PCV valve, a turn signal switch, and a seat belt. I was quoted a few hundred dollars for each repair at the dealer, but ended up fixing them all myself for under fifty bucks total.
I am not saying that you should use google to rebuilt your transmission, but next time you starts making noises consider a quick Internet search before taking it in for repair. You might just find that its a common problem with a simple fix.