Save Money by Reducing Parking Tickets

Recently a friend told me that the parking tickets in Detroit went up from $20 per infraction for an expired meter ($10 if you paid it within a week) to $45 with no pay by date discount. That really caught my attention. You see, I was that person who conducted a cost benefit of risking the parking ticket versus paying a guaranteed $10-$20. If I had the change, and the meter was working, I would definitely feed the meter, however there are other times when I was running into a place for a few minutes, the meter was broken, I didn’t have change, or the meter wasn’t accepting credit cards when I would take the risk. I did this because generally the risk was worth it because at worst I would break even and at best I got free parking!

However, the recent change in rates really changed my perspective.  At a cost of $45 per ticket the risk is no longer worth it, given that most lots are between $5 – $20 assuming there is not a sporting event or a special event. Now, when I am attending an event and face with the “should I feed the meter dilemma”, these are the 5 questions I consider:

  1. Is there free parking? This is the ideal situation because it doesn’t require any cash outflow. However, I need to know where the free parking is located and how far I have to walk. Depending on the attire of the event, I may be wearing heels, which poses an additional challenge. Also, I need to consider how late it will be when the event ends because I don’t want to have to walk far, late, and in heels to save a few dollars.
  2. If I can’t park for free, how long do I anticipate being in the event? Knowing this will help me understand my parking options and how much change to get if I plan to park at a meter or in a lot. I try to think about the break-even point where it makes more sense to park in a lot instead of feeding the meter. With this knowledge, I still need to know if parking at a meter is a viable strategy.
  3. Do the meters have meter maximums? For example, in Detroit, there are many meters where I can only park for 1 –2 hours, and the machine will not let me buy time longer than the meter maximum. Therefore, if I know that I will be at the event for more than 2 hours I will generally explore other parking options.  Depending on the event, it may be a viable strategy to run out and continually feed the meter. However, if I chose this route, I must remember to set an alarm to ensure I don’t forget.   One more consideration is the process used for ticketing. Some places will mark my tires and even if I feed the meter, the police will still ticket me for violating the maximum.
  4. Can I take public transportation?  This is a great option because I don’t have to worry about parking, and taking public transportation is very inexpensive especially if you have a monthly pass. However, depending on the city, I still need to be concerned with question #1.
  5. Can I use a service like Uber or take a cab? With this option, I don’t have to worry about parking, I can generally use credit, and I get dropped off in front! Sounds awesome! I just must be sure to watch the cost, and understand the cost of using this service versus the benefits.

A little planning ahead goes a long way, because eliminating parking tickets doesn’t require a budget cut. Imagine, you get to keep something that you really enjoy, because you plugged this simple money leak, that only requires being a bit more careful about how you park.

List of cities and the amount per parking infraction

Please note that this is not a comprehensive list of all types of parking tickets. It is meant to be a guide to help you to understand how quickly parking tickets can add up to big dollars if you aren’t careful and/or have multiple infractions.

LocationAmount of CitationTime to Pay Before Price Increases (days)

$65.00 for Manhattan 96th St. & below

$35.00 for all other areas

Chicago$50- $10060
Los Angeles$6830
Washington, DC$2530

Aisha Taylor is a #1 Amazon Best Selling Author of the book “5+5 FNPhenomenal Ways to Save $100 This Week Without Killing Your Lifestyle”, and the Founder of FNPhenomenal (Frugal –n- Phenomenal). FNPhenomenal helps women to break the vicious cycle of making money, but not keeping it. FNPhenomenal provides education about money management, empowers women to take control of their lives, develop a healthier relationship with money, and pursue being phenomenal.

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If this posts inspires you to get your finances in order, don’t let the work stop here.  Consider enrolling in one of my online courses. I have one on budgeting and one on saving.

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