It is common knowledge that unless you can avoid it, or don’t have to pay for it, a parking garage might as well be a total money suck on your wallet. Parking at sporting events can run $50 or more, and here in DC, parking spots can easily run in the hundreds of dollars a month. Let’s discuss some strategies to avoid getting ripped off when parking your car.
First, if you are going to be using a grocery or retail store garage, make sure you get your ticket validated (if they do). Some stores let you self validate, and others by a cashier. Second, a parking garage charges by the hour, make sure the time entry is accurate. A reader of mine recently told me of her experience with an inaccurate ticket clock. The clock was fast by about 10 minutes, she reported. So, when she checked out and was charged over the time she was actually there, she complained. Taking the time stamp off the ticket and comparing it to her phone’s time (which should be near 100% accurate) there was definitely a discrepancy. How many people that day got snared in that trap?
Discounted parking garage alternatives
If you are looking for cheaper alternatives to a parking garage, there are a few websites that broker parking spots. I just learned about Parking Spotter, a sort of Craigslist for parking, and another, Spot Hero, which is another listing site. Full disclosure, I just signed up for Spot Hero and really like their site. From the app or website, the easy-to-use interface will show a listing of all parking opportunities available in the area. Once you find a spot, which can be by the hour or month, pay in advance and you are good to go. The site claims to offer consumers up to 50% off parking rates not otherwise available. I am looking forward to testing it out soon.
Bottom line is, before parking your car in just any garage or lot, see if there is an option to save you money first