Five ways to cut the cost of parking

Published by Rachel Lacey on 14 February 2011.
Last updated on 02 June 2014

Parking symbol

Finding a car parking space is one of UK driver's biggest stresses. According to a survey from NCP, the average motorist will spend six days a year driving around looking for a free space. More than 40% won't snap one up if they have another car waiting behind them, while 23% even get their passengers to do their parking for them.

It's also an expensive stress. According to the cost of parking at public car parks has risen 12.5% over the last year. Unsurprisingly, London is the most expensive city to park, with spaces averaging at £4.03 an hour while drivers in Edinburgh, Brighton and Reading and Manchester all pay more than £2 an hour.

However while we can't take the stress out of parallel parking or shoe-horning a 4 x 4 in to the last space in the car park, we can show you our top tips for cutting the cost.

Read Rachel Lacey's blog: How I'm cutting the cost of parking

Find free parking

Commuters can often beat extortionate station car parks by finding spaces in neighbouring streets. Check out roads that are a 10 minute walk away from the station and early birds should find plenty of spaces. Ok, so time is a precious commodity first thing in the morning, but a 10 minute walk is a great way to clear your head and get a bit of exercise before work. By parking further away from the station or town centre you may also find you miss the worst of the traffic giving you a few minutes more to complete your journey.

Rent a driveway

If street parking is in short supply, regular commuters could consider renting a space on a driveway close to the station or office. Websites like or will be able to put you in touch with homeowners in your area with parking spaces to spare. How much you pay will be set by the owner but is likely to be much cheaper than commercial car parks. estimates between £10 and £60 a week depending on the area and proximity to stations, airports and so on.

Renting car spaces isn't just for regular commuters, you can also use the same sites to find one-off parking spaces close to the airport when you go on holiday or near stadiums for sports fixtures.

Money saving isn't the only benefit of renting drive ways - your car is arguably safer and less likely to get scratched or damaged by fellow drivers.

Read more about renting driveways in: Five ways to cash in on your home

Plan ahead and shop around 

If you aren't familiar with the car parking facilities where you're headed, check out the local council website before you set out. It should detail all the town or city's car parks and show details like number of spaces and cost. Bear in mind that car parks linked to hospitals, stations and shopping centres are likely to be more expensive than independent facilities.

If you are jetting off on holiday don't just drive up to the airport car park - drivers that book ahead will pay much cheaper rates. You can save even more by checking out surrounding car parks that aren't affiliated with the airport. Websites like and can hunt out the cheapest deals.

How to avoid high airport parking fees

Park and Ride

Parking is always more expensive in city centres, so before driving in find out if there is a park and ride scheme at your intended destination. These involve parking at large out of town parks and getting a bus into the city centre. Not only does it save you money but it also eases congestion. To find out about park and ride facilities across the country check out an online directory of services.

Appeal unfair parking tickets

Once you've struggled to find a space, there's nothing more frustrating than finding a parking ticket on your car when you return. You can reduce your penalty by paying your fine straightaway, but you could wipe it altogether by appealing. Estimates suggest that up to 60% of tickets are issued unfairly meaning the success rates for appeals are very high.

Find out how to appeal an unfair parking ticket

Do you have any other tips to save on parking? Share your thoughts in the comment box below.

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The best way to avoid parking fines is to do your shopping on line,that will hit shops like Aldi and Lidl that have these criminals that run private parking firms, It's funny these type of shops are advertising free parking for Christmas shoppers, Motorists should boycot shops that have these carparks