Being frugal requires a strong attention to detail. Small things can add up in big ways to benefit or hurt a financial goal. I was recently reminded of this by happenstance.
I currently work nights in San Francisco, which means it’s best for me to drive into work and bear the expense. Part of that expense is parking. Although I am a self proclaimed parking witch, (I can almost always find convenient and sometimes free parking) I am resigned to pay for a metered parking spot near my place of work.
Luckily, I found, meters are only required till 6 PM, which means at most, I pay for three and a half hours a day. At $3 an hour, this makes my daily parking less than $15 for an 8 hour shift. Almost unheard of in the City by the Bay. So, it would seem that I’m winning on this front.
I found out I can do better.
The other day there was no parking on the street I normally park on. After circling a couple of times I managed to find a spot just around the corner on another street. It was maybe a matter of 40 feet more of a walk. When I went to pay the meter though, I realized that the rate on that street is a dollar less an hour. To some it may not be that big of a difference. But, to a frugal fanatic like myself, I had to stop and do the math.
By parking around the corner I save up to $3.50 a day or $17.50 a week. That’s about a half a tank of gas. Multiply it by 4.2 weeks per month and now we’re talking $73.50. The way I shop, that’s almost two weeks of groceries. Now multiply that by 12, and I will save $882 over the course of a year. That’s a new tech gadget, or a few more kitchen knives, or maybe even a vacation if I do it right.
Makes that extra 40 feet well worth it in my book. A lot can be accomplished by simply paying attention, and now I’m kinda kicking myself for not figuring this one out sooner, but hey, lesson learned. And now, lesson shared.