First off, thanks GoForthFast and bimcwe for pitching in some great info.
I understand the frustration with the cost of maintenance and parts. I do want to offer my experience and caution however. Being an independent mechanic myself, the biggest thing is trade off of between quality and cost. It is sometimes beneficial to buy the OEM or OEM supplier part and pay a little extra money to make sure you get a part that lasts (for example water pumps or any other critical engine part). In my early days, I tested some lower cost parts to try and save a dime for my personal cars, but most needed replacement far sooner than the OEM part, causing increased labor costs if they were to be used on customer cars.
I wish I was located in NY so I could provide you with more affordable mechanic services.
My tips are..
Shop around. Also, don't be afraid to ask what their labor rates / hr are. Sometimes you can ever call the stealer service department and ask them how many hours (a.k.a. "shop hours") a particular job will take so you can see if the indy shops are being fair.