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Learn From Your Mistakes: Parking Tickets

Getting parking tickets is an unfortunate but inevitable part of life. Signs are often confusing and it always seems like parking meter attendants are out to get us.

Parking Ticket
image by alicegop

Our Financial Mistake

We have parking beneath our apartment in the garage. We have tandem spots, so one person is always blocked in. We know which days I leave first and should be in back and which days Lauren leaves first. Occasionally we’ll park on the street if there’s a spot and we can avoid having to switch spots later.

Well, there are only two times we can’t park outside. On one side of the street, there is street cleaning 10am-12:30pm on Mondays and on the other side it’s 12pm-2:30pm on Tuesdays. Lauren came home at 2pm on Tuesday and seeing that they had already cleaned the street, decided to park on the street. It would save us the hassle of having to move our cars when I got home.

How Much It Cost Us

Of course, she found a ticket on her windshield later, for $75. According to the letter of the law, she was in violation, but in the spirit, she was not. However, appealing involves taking the time to go argue and can’t be done via mail, so we sucked it up and moved on.

In a related note, this is just a reminder to fill up your meter with more time than you think you’ll need. You’re risking a similar sized ticket, and usually it’s only 25 or 50 cents to protect you from a possible expired meter. Plus, you get the peace of mind knowing you can go to a store or appointment and not have to worry about getting out of there after a specific number of minutes.

How We’ll Avoid Parking Tickets In The Future

We’ve decided to completely avoid parking on the street if not necessary. Switching spots might be a little annoying, but in reality it only takes about 2 minutes. Having to do that a couple times a month to avoid $75 parking tickets is worth it.

Plus, since we recently reduced our auto insurance coverage, having the cars in a protected area helps us avoid break-ins and damage from other cars hitting us. We’re sometimes lazy, but we shouldn’t risk tickets just because we don’t want to walk down a flight of stairs.



  1. A $75 ticket for parking on the wrong side of the street on the wrong day? That’s ridiculous. I live in a small rural town, so we don’t usually have to contend with parking laws too much — the downtown area has parking meters, but the fine for violating them is only about $10. Still high enough that it remains a deterrent from ignoring the meter entirely and the meter monitors get around frequently enough that you’re likely to get caught if you let your meter run out.

  2. Ouch. That sucks. We had to start playing parking switcheroo religiously after our 3rd letter from the HOA about our cars in the street for longer than 6 hours (even when they weren’t). Parking tickets and HOA’s…sheesh…

  3. I once got my car towed in San Francisco and had to pay $300+ to get it back! You better believe that I will never, ever, ever misread a street sign ever again!

    • The luckiest thing I’ve ever seen is my friend’s car being towed. He called the number on the sign, it turns out it was towed less than 2 blocks away and there was no ticket, nobody to pay. Basically they just moved his car for him.

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