Spend a Little, Save a Lot: Parking

If you own a car, you can set aside $5 to save $50. Even $1… that’s only ten dimes. That’s it.

I didn’t do this, and now I’m kicking myself. It can happen to all of us.

I live in Vancouver, and had to drive down town last week. I had to run around to knock a few errands off my list. I (perfectly!) parallel parked my car and went to run into the coffee shop where I was meeting a friend.

It was relatively quiet street, and I didn’t have any change in my pocket (only a $5 bill), so I opted to ‘skip the meter and watch out the window’. You obviously know what happened. I forgot about watching, had lunch and came back to find a $50 ticket on my windshield.

I’m an idiot.

Instead of wallowing in that, I’ll use it as a teaching moment. Do you ever do this (or something similar)? Do you ignore a bill, only to incur a late fee? Will you bounce a cheque because you didn’t verify the amount in your bank account?

This is one of those times we advocate spending! Especially when it’s going to save you money.

I wasn’t saving money by not pumping the meter – I would have to park 50 times without getting a ticket to even validate the risk. And if you’ve ever parked in Vancouver, you know that can’t happen.

Where Else Can This Work?

There are lots of chances to avoid bigger costs later, by spending a little more now. We see this with shoes (buy some that will last), regular maintenance vs. emergency repairs on your house or parachutes… you really don’t want to skimp on parachutes.

My friend (that I met for lunch, incidentally) keeps about $10 in change in his car’s console. When he gets a looney, he’ll throw it in there. He hasn’t gotten a ticket in this city in years. He spends to save, and I’m starting that now.

vancouver_parking_meter

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