Good Morning DINKS. Today we are discussing the cost of having a car. You may remember from a previous post that buying my car was my biggest financial regret. Besides the actual cost of buying a car and the maintenance that is required there are so many other costs associated with owing a car such as registration and license fees as well as insurance costs and upkeep.
The cost of parking in a city and the fines for forgetting to feed the meter can become very costly. I got a $52 parking ticket for an expired meter while I was parked on the street. I think that it is important to note that cost of a ticket for an expired meter in my city has jumped from $37 to $52 in the past three or four years, this is totally outrageous. To make a long story short, I forgot to pay my ticket and less than a year later my $52 ticket was $215.
There is a reality show on television called Parking Wars that chronicles a day in the life of various parking authority jobs from ticket agents and booting cars to workers at the impound lot. I love watching this show because people get so upset about the fines they have to pay, even though it was clearly their own fault. I even watched an episode of Parking Wars where an angry car owner pulled out a gun on the parking authority agent who tried to tow his car. Originally the show was based in Philadelphia but it has since expanded to Detroit.
There was a couple on Parking Wars whose car was booted and then towed because they owed over $1500 in parking tickets; now that is a lot of money. I can think of at least 10 other things that I would rather do with $1500 other than pay parking tickets. However, I can also think of several other things that I would rather do with the $215 that I paid for my own (unattended to) parking ticket.
I learned some interesting facts about the profit that cities make from people paying car related fines and the cost of parking tickets. Philly earns $50,000 per day from coins in Parking Meters and over $12.5 million per year from the costs of Parking Tickets. Those figures don’t even include car towing fees. Philadelphia tows 175 cars per day. The cost of a ticket in my city for having our car towed is $72 plus the cost of holding and storage fees at the impound lot.
Don’t Let Your Car Cost You Extra Money
- Pay Your Tickets on Time. Don’t be a dummy like me, please learn from my mistake.
- Buy a Car from a Car Dealership. They will run an ownership history check on the car to make sure that the previous owners do not have any outstanding parking tickets or moving violations on the car. When we buy a car we inherit all of the previous infractions associated with that VIN (vehicle identification number).
- Sell a Car Privately. This allows us to set our own purchase price and make a profit on the sale. I sold my car privately for $13,500 and my Honda dealership only offered me $9000. I gained $4500 by selling my car privately and waiting to find the right buyer.
- Don’t keep excess items in your car. If we don’t keep excess items in our car we will not be forced to be without them or lose them if our car is booted, towed, or stolen.
- Run an ownership search. This makes sure that the person we are buying the car from is in fact the registered owner. There could be a big problem if it turns out that we just bought a stolen car.
Tips To Save Money on Parking Tickets
- Put Money In The Meter….constantly if needed.
- Watch Your Watch and Check The Time. Don’t let the time in our meter run out.
- Read the Street Signs. Just because a parking spot is open does not mean it is available.
- Just Pay for a Parking Lot. If you can’t find a street parking meter just park your car in a parking lot. It may be more expensive than paying for a parking meter, but it is a lot cheaper than having our car towed or ticketed.
- Save Your Receipt. When you pay for a parking meter save your receipt as proof of payment just in case you are wrongfully ticketed.
Photo by Alan Clever