Saving $20 to gamble on $300

Introduction

I used to park at the airport but lately, I’ve been using Uber since it’s cheaper than parking.  However, it still costs $40 one way from my house to the airport.  I eventually found a spot that’s mid-way between the airport and my house to make the rides $20 one-way.  I could have probably looked further to see if I could get even closer to the airport, but the part of town by Seatac airport isn’t the best.  So I was content parking mid-way.

This parking spot is by a ‘park-n-ride,’ which is a parking lot that you park during the day while taking the bus to work.  The spot I found was on the street, in front of the park-n-ride.  I park on the street because the park-n-ride has rules against parking your car overnight, especially over many nights.  So that’s why I parked on the street.  This area of town isn’t the best nor is it the worst.  It’s across from an apartment complex that looks decent.  Anyway, I had parked there 2 times before on extended weekends just fine.  So when I went to Chicago last month, I parked there on a Thursday night and picked it up on Sunday night.

I came back on Sunday night and saw this:

 

The back window actually didn’t have a hole; it was just cracked ALL OVER.  I didn’t think it was vandalism (baseball bat) since I figured that would leave a hole or one spot where it’s more cracked than other spots.  Anyway, when I started to drive, that’s when the glass caved in and the hole formed.  I had to pull over and remove as much glass as I could.

The next day, I was able to call around and get the glass replaced for $300 all in.  I asked the guy if it was possibly heat and he said no way since it’s tempered glass.  I asked him if it was vandalism, and he said possibly that or a rock flying from a lawn mower.  I don’t remember the grass being cut where I parked, so I think it’s safe to say it’s vandalism.  I checked my rear dashcam later and the glass was fine as of Sunday afternoon, so it must have happened on Sunday night before I picked up the car.  Maybe someone was mad that I was still parked there after 3 days.

 

Lessons Learned

Parking at this spot saves me $40 per trip, so it would have taken 8 trips before I broke even.  Clearly I didn’t make it that far.  I knew it was always a risk, but I was willing to take it.  Am I going to park there again?  NO!  Clearly someone has a vendetta about me parking there.  I’ll just pay the extra money for Uber and call it a day.  I did also learn how cheap the back windshield was; I figured that was going to cost me nearly $1,000.  I was fine with paying $300 out of pocket instead of letting insurance handle it.  I gambled and lost.

  • Kenucky Wildcaat

    In my city, anything left on the street 24 hours can be towed. However, they mainly tow if /when someone complains.

  • calwatch

    Generally I’ll park for free if it’s during the day or at most one night – there’s a secret spot near Los Angeles Union Station next to a police station that has free parking – but I would not do it multiple nights. With Groupon/Living Social for parking you can usually find spots for $10 or less near most major airports.

  • L T

    strange, park and rides in my area (NH) allow up to 21 days of parking and most have buses to/from the airport, guess that might be more common where there isn’t as much need for parking

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  • Ani Patil

    Wait the real question is, youre paying for uber because???

    • Miles per Day

      I use the term “paying” loosely

      • Ani Patil

        sadly its time for a dead deal post

        • Miles per Day

          haha yup, i’ll give it a few weeks to make sure it’s dead dead.

  • Mark Ostermann

    Do you have any cheap points hotels near the airport that let you leave the car there for extended periods of time? You can just hop the shuttle to the airport too then.

    • Miles per Day

      No unfortunately not.

  • Noah @ Money Metagame

    We’ve been using the off-site parking for our last few trips. Usually only $8-10/day and it’s right next to the airport so the shuttle is quick.

    • Miles per Day

      I may go back to that if I have weekend trips. Which one do you go to?

      • Noah @ Money Metagame

        We’ve done the Park N Jet 2 the last couple times, it’s right on the route we usually take the airport.

  • Chen Chang

    I think your title is incorrect. It should be “saving $40 to gamble on $300”

    • Miles per Day

      You’re right. I’m too lazy to edit.

  • Justin

    Nice post. Sorry about your window. Lot of these decisions pop up with churning. For example, I recently purchased an iPhone and could have saved ~$20 by using gift cards but elected to pay with CC to get the extended warranty (S/O Apple). Always thinking about which is better.

    • Miles per Day

      When it comes to big purchases, I put it on my cc as well. For warranty and price matching just in case.