Jul 072013
 

If you drive here’s an easy way to save some money. One common problem that faces many drivers is finding parking space. Over time I have developed a very simple strategy to quickly find an empty space in a somewhat crowded parking lot. It’s pretty obvious but here it is anyway.

I basically go for a stall that’s near the entrance/exit of the parking lot :D That’s pretty much it. The idea is to park the car ASAP and minimize the amount of time and distance it has to travel within the lot. Most people would probably try to find a spot near the front of the store or entrance but that’s also the busiest area of the lot. Sometimes people circle around and around, wasting money, time, and polluting the environment :( just so they can save seconds off their walk *pfft*

When I drive to work I normally park in one of the stalls closest to the parkade garage door since we don’t have assigned stall numbers. Then it’s a brisk 30 meter (100 ft) walk to the stairs, which takes all of 20 seconds or so. Instead of trying to find a parking spot closer to the stairway entrance I save about 60 meters of fuel per day (^_^) The current price of gasoline here in Vancouver, BC is about $1.45/L ($5.5/gallon) and my car’s fuel economy is about 11 Km/L (26MPG.) This means I save about 4 cents a week on gas! (゜∀゜) And that only accounts for work. Supermarkets as you can imagine have huge parking lots :D Sometimes I save almost 200 meters of gas when I go shopping at Costco! (✌゚∀゚) Because 100 meters each way. In the diagram below the green arrows near the left point to where I would park.

13_07_parking_savings

The only downside with parking further away is you have to walk more. But doctors say walking is good for you :) I work 8 hours a day sitting in front a computer desk so I’ll take the fresh air whenever I can :0)

Criteria: May not be the most popular idea if you are with other people in the car and the parking lot is not very full ( ・_・) Or if you’re in a hurry. Or if you plan to carry something heavy to/from the building.

Estimated annual savings: $2.50

Compared with my other ideas in the Easy Savings series this one isn’t as effective (ಠ-ಠ) However it’s better than nothing ^_^; And the health benefits of the exercise component cannot be stressed enough. Happy parking everyone ;) 13_07_parking_douche

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  40 Responses to “Easy Savings: Parking – Jul 2013”

  1. Ha! Love it! A penny saved is a penny earned, right?!?

  2. Is that a boat taking up two spots in the first picture? I usually just park in whichever spot I come to first. My wife usually gets annoyed when I do that and there’s another spot that can clearly be seen further up the row. I never really thought of it as a money saver but I do it more just because I hate sitting in the car trying to find a spot. I want to park, get in, grab whatever I need and get out. It always made me laugh to see people circling the parking lot at the gym. I really don’t understand that one.

  3. Haha, nice. I usually just park wherever I can have a quick getaway without people around. I don’t like crowded parking lots.

  4. Unless it’s raining or I have to carry something heavy, I usually just take the first spot I find. I’m not really trying to save gas or anything. It just takes less time for me to walk into the store from even the farthest spots than it does to drive in circles trying to find a closer spot. Nice to know that my impatience will save me a great $2.50 this year.

  5. Hard to argue with you on this one – little savings add up!

  6. I don’t own a car so if I’m ever in a car I’m always the passenger and I don’t know how I would feel if J always parked closest to the entrance lol. Either way, this post was cute, I enjoyed it :)

    • Depends on the weather too. When it’s really warm I prioritize parking in the shade for out door parking lots. But when it’s raining or snowing I might try and find a place near an awning or something :0)

  7. What I’ve learned since moving to Canada is that people don’t want to walk from a distance, they want to park right at the front. I’ve been watching this every time we go out somewhere to park. The back of the lot is empty and the front is full with people circling when they could easily park at the back and walk up. In the UK parking comes at a premium so we take what we can get. Now I always park as far away as I can and my wife is used to it now. I tell her it’s good excecise to take a few minutes to walk up and less reason to worry about someone smashing my vehicle with their car doors since not many people park far from the door.

    • North Americans certainly seem to be more lazy overall. We Canadians get a lot of influence from the US. But when it comes to transportation I think we can learn from the UK and other societies where people put more emphasis on walking and bicycling.

      • I tend to people watch being new here so I can understand how people around me adapt to their environment and besides the crap driving skills of many I also notice that people want convenience for everything. We don’t get that so much back home. I had never been to a drive-thru until I moved here let alone a drive-thru bank wow!

  8. I usually park in the first spot I see, and tend to prefer to park farther away from the door. I never understand people that drive around for an extra 5 minutes to get 100 meters closer… so stupid to me. The only time I really put any thought into it is when I’m at the grocery store – I try to park close to a cart-return slot :)

  9. This is brilliant – park further away and walk an extra fifty yards, why don’t you?

    Sadly, here in Malaysia parking comes at a premium. If you’re going to the mall on the weekend either go early, or be prepared to spend an hour or so driving round the parking garage looking for a free space.

    • Going early in the day will also mean less traffic on the way there :) Many populated cities around the world have this problem. Parking lots in some major US cities are selling at over $100K per lot.

  10. lol, $2.50 a year savings will add up over the years!

  11. haha, funny, but I do exactly the same thing. Whenever we go shopping or anything, I park as far away from the entrance as possible and then walk. When coming out we have a cart anyway. then you see 300 lbs woman driving around and then taking the electric cart and driving thru the store and then complaining about her weight. What the heck, pick you lazy butt up and walk!

    We also sometimes take a back pack and just walk shopping. Last time we walked to a local Walmart, but shopped more than I could carry in a backpack, so I ‘borrowed” a cart to push it all the way home. The guy pushing the carts from the parking lot back inside the store went nuts. When we got home I loaded the cart into my pick up truck and returned it. But it was fun.

    • Lol, fun story. The description of the overweight women reminds me of those people from Wall-E :)

      • Wall-E? Do you mean the website “people of Wallmart” or whatever the web name is? Some of the pictures on that web are hilarious. I cannot believe some people are willing going public wearing stuff on those photographs.

  12. I try to park a little further away so that we will have to work. Need the exercise anyway and usually the crazies don’t want to have to walk so I don’t have to put up with the people fighting over a spot because its closer. With so of the places being so close to our home we now just walk. Im not sure it saves us much, I see you’ve already figured out your annual savings of 2.50.

  13. I park as far away from the entrance and other vehicles as possible just so the little angels(idiots) do not dent my car. Someone still manages to park right beside me anyways…

    • And those little dents cost money to repair so that may be the biggest savings factor out of it all :)

      • This.

        Those dents are the biggest reason I park far from anyone, and away from the store. I don’t care about saving two cents but saving the dings and the exercise are important to me.

  14. you also save on reduced mileage depreciation on your car lol.

  15. My boyfriend is being ridiculous with always going to the front door of the shop and see if there is a spot, then going around in circles twice before finally agreeing to park further. It drives me crazy but that’s more about the time lost and the laziness of not wanting to walk 50 meters than the fuel economy. If it were snowing or heavily raining, maybe, but on a normal day if you have two legs you can walk.

  16. We don’t pay for gas with using Modo and Car2Go, but I prefer to park quickly and then walk to wherever it is I am going rather than circling endlessly looking for a parking space. Much less stressful to walk!

    • Yes, less stressful and more predictable to walk. It’s always a gamble to look for a potential parking space because sometimes people get lucky, but in most cases they’ll just end up wasting time circling around.

  17. What used to crack me up is people who want to find the closest parking spot when they go to the gym! I mean wouldn’t walking a few extra feet be beneficial? :) I’m have a very low tolerance for circling. I usually just pick the closest spot too to when I enter a parking lot. But that has less to do with gas and more my tolerance for just driving around. :)

  18. Don’t forget, the extra walking burns calories which means your car moves less weight and gets a tiny bit better mileage as well.

  19. I hail from CBB, but I drive a late model pick up truck,extended cab…. I go for the further parking spots as it is simply earlier to park the big beast when I have more room to do so. If I can find a spot that I can pull in and pull straight out I will go for it. Worst case I do have a handicap tag for the truck but I only resort to that if the hubby is in the truck with me and having a rough day. As for the twits that turn their nose up at my older truck…. Suck it up…. It’s paid for. Can you say the same????

  20. Haha, for that $2.50 annual savings you sure got some good discussion going. I’ll throw in my two cents. Add to your parking strategy, people should avoid drive-thrus. I park and walk in to pick up my Timmies each morning, and there’s always a long line of cars & trucks idling for their XL triple triples. If parking is too far away, I get by till tomorrow. I’m not sure how much a drive-thru person spends in gas idling over the year, but what bothers me is thinking about what our country as a whole is doing to the environment idling day after day for their coffee or fast food.

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