If you live in a city where parking is free all over, or where public transportation is a viable option, you may not think much about paying for parking.
Recession Mama Michele Ashamalla: But for the rest of us, those dollars spent on parking meters, lots and valets can really add up. If you allow an extra few minutes to find a parking spot, you can avoid a costly restaurant valet. Allow more time for trying to find street parking near a concert or sporting event venue. Sometimes it can't be done, or isn't feasible, but you might be able to use a shuttle instead or carpool to split the cost (it's better for the environment, anyway.) For short jaunts, keep a coin purse filled with change in your car for parking meters if there's no free parking available. But even skipping parking meters adds up. In some areas downtown, the meters run a quarter for EVERY FIVE MINUTES. By the time I'm done feeding the meter, it's time to put more money in.
You need to really shop around when it comes to long-term parking like at airports. For my last vacation, we had a coupon for a place by the airport we hadn't tried. The coupon was for up to a week totally free. We had a terrific experience with them and when we got home and googled "airport parking coupon" with my city, I found that they offered another free coupon for registering online with them. Since airport parking by us runs about $12 a day, those coupons add up to significant savings.
If you add up the savings of say, one valet a week, and say, four parking meters it would come to between 10 and 20 dollars a week and possibly more than a thousand dollars a year, which doesn't include concert or airport parking. That's worth an extra few minutes of my time, for sure.
A former state deputy attorney general and current stay-at-home mom, Recession Mama Michele Ashamalla has three kids and ten years of experience stretching one salary to cover the necessities and more. She's all about saving money whenever you can, so you have it to spend on whatever you want!