Save Big On Parking Costs With These 7 Tips
Think about it: You pay a significant amount of money — daily, monthly, yearly — to park your car on a street, in a parking garage, or in a lot. And your car just sits there, taking up space, while someone who owns that spot takes some of your hard-earned cash for allowing you to park there.
But you can put the brakes on paying high parking fees and tickets with a little bit of planning. Here’s how.
1. Budget your time better and you could pay less for parking
If you’re running late you might be tempted to park in the first spot or garage you find, regardless of the cost. Allow yourself more time to arrive at a destination and search for acceptable parking, and you could save several dollars every time you park.
2. Use websites to find parking sites
Websites such as Parking Panda and ParkWhiz allow you to search for parking in garages — even streets — in the vicinity of your destination. You can search for the cheapest, most easily accessible spots in the area you’ll be visiting.
3. An app can change how you park (no scrambling for change for the meter!)
SpotHero, Parkmobile, and other similar apps enable you to easily pay for metered parking. You can find out how much time is left on the meter and add money straight from the app.
4. It makes sense (and dollars and cents) to check out a pretax parking plan
If you pay to park at your work site, ask your employer about a pretax parking benefit that allows money to be taken out of your paycheck to pay for parking. Your employer might also offer parking plans or special discounts for frequent parkers.
5. Hit the road when parking fees hit their lowest point
In many cities and towns, parking fees are not in effect during certain days and times, including evenings, weekends, and holidays. You can choose to travel during those times to avoid parking costs.
6. Carpool so you’re not drowning in parking fees
If you and your friends or coworkers are all heading in the same direction, you can carpool instead of driving separately and split any parking fees you might incur.
7. Learn to parallel park so you’re not squeezing your budget
Yes, it’s tricky and can be nerve-racking, but parallel parking can save you money. Street parking is often cheaper than pricey garages or pay-to-park lots, and is sometimes free depending on the day and time.