Whether you’re going out for a night on the town, spending a day with the family or it’s just another day at the office – the price you pay to park could catch you by surprise.
I still remember how shocked I was the first time I drove into work (downtown Chicago) and had to pay $30 for parking . Just to think if I paid $30/per day everyday, it would have ended up costing me $630/per month ($30 x 21 days). That’s not cheap! In fact, that’s more than I paid to rent my first apartment.
When it comes to parking, what you don’t know can cost you. Chicago has the highest parking rates in the country, but the price you pay to park in other major cities like New York City, Los Angeles, Boston and San Francisco can really add up too. Are you paying too much for parking?
Here are 7 Surefire Tips to Save on Parking:
- Use Public Transit – Taking the train in to work saved me quite a bit in parking costs.
- Plan Ahead and Compare Parking Rates – Spend a little time checking the different parking rates in the area. You may be surprised to see a parking lot right across the street from where you parked would have been half the price.
- Pay Monthly – If you’re driving in everyday, choosing a monthly parking payment option could save you more money than paying daily. Plus, you’ll have the peace of mind knowing how much you’re paying every month and save time looking for a parking spot everyday.
- Look for Early Bird Specials – In by 9 a.m. out by 7 p.m. can really save you money on parking.
- Pay Attention to Parking Meter Rules – Check the parking meter ahead of time to make sure payment is required when you park. You may not have to pay for parking during certain times of the day. For example, 9PM – 8AM. Oh, I miss when parking was free on Sundays. 🙂
Time Out Chicago’s article, “What’s up with that? Can I use the same parking-meter receipt to park on different streets in Chicago?”, shined light on a little known secret (Portable Time) to help you save on parking in Chicago. According to chicagometers.com:
Portable time: Receipts purchased at pay boxes are good until expiration at any meter with the same or lower hourly rate, and they now are clearly printed with the rate so motorists can easily determine where they can use their receipt. Given that the vast majority of meters are in the neighborhoods at the same rate, that means people can take payment with them as they visit many different business districts.
- Beware of Parking Tickets and Towing – Pay close attention to the signs where you park and monitor your time, because a parking ticket or having to pay the cost for towing far exceeds the price you would have paid to park.
- Discounted/Validated/Special Event Parking Rates – Depending on where you’re going, working or eating —you may qualify for a discounted parking rate. Events, restaurants and employers often offer special parking discounts. Be sure to ask about your parking discount ahead of time.
Do you have any other tips to save on parking?