The cost of parking is something that all motorists are faced with on a regular basis even outside of a cost-of-living crisis, particularly if you commute or live in an area that has limited public transport options. Prices can vary wildly from location to location and town to city, but here are some clever ways you can make some savings no matter where you live.

Check out the previous entries in our series on how to make your fuel go further and how to save on car insurance for more ways to save money and top tips to help you keep the costs down.

Look for free parking opportunities

It’s surprising how much free on-street parking you can find in our towns and villages (it’s much more of a challenge in larger cities, we admit, but not impossible). Put aside a few minutes before you leave to investigate the area you’re heading to and you might be able to find an alternative to a pay-and-display car park. Residential zones can often offer solutions if you’re willing to walk a bit further.

Friends and family can be a good source of information or simply jump online to have a look at the area yourself. Just make sure that you’re aware of any time restrictions to avoid running the risk of getting a parking ticket.

Shop around to find the cheapest parking option

When you specifically want to use a public parking option, or there’s no alternative, it can pay to do a bit of research to locate the best option ahead of time. Different car parks in the same area can have drastically different tariffs sometimes due to their operator, the number of available spaces and facilities. This is especially true in larger cities, where you might find you can make a good saving if you’re willing to compromise a little on location.

There are several online sites or apps such as Parkopedia that list parking options and associated costs, so be sure to check them out before you depart on your journey.

Make use of smartphone parking notifications

Accidentally overstaying your welcome in a car park could land you with a very unwelcome parking fine. And if you’re not sure how long you’re going to need, or you end up losing track of time, it’s surprisingly easy to do.

Thankfully, many parking companies offer apps to let you pay for parking and will send you reminders when that parking is due to expire. There’s often a small fee attached to this service, but it’ll help you to avoid a much larger fine (and you can remotely extend your parking time) so we think it’s probably worth it.

Appeal unwarranted parking fines

Speaking of parking fines, if you receive a parking ticket that you don’t think was warranted, then you’re within your rights to appeal it. Take photos of where your car was parked and the surrounding street or car park, as well as any tickets you’ve purchased and placed on your dashboard. If you’ve paid through an app, try and take a screenshot or get a PDF to show the details of the transaction.

Once you’ve gathered all the evidence, contact the company that issued the fine and present your case in a clear and balanced way to see if the ticket can be overturned.

Take advantage of Park & Ride or rental facilities

Many larger cities will have Park & Ride facilities on their outskirts, where you can park up for a small fee and then catch a bus into the centre. This can be a really cost-effective option and can also save you the stress and hassle of having to drive through a busy city.

Some larger towns and cities also offer e-bike rental, which can be another clever way to avoid parking costs and get around easily.

Rent out your driveway

Our final point is less about saving money and more about potentially making a little more. If you happen to live in an area where parking is at a premium (for example, close to an airport or train station), then it’s worth looking into renting out your driveway when you don’t need it. There are various online sites where you can advertise your space, but just be aware that some will take a fee or commission for providing the service.

Be sure to keep an eye out for further top tips in the months to come on how you can save money and remember that is here to help you keep on motoring for less.