Sunday, May 25, 2008

Pennywise, $24 Foolish

We've all heard about and even witnessed those who waste tons of money and time in pursuit of small amounts of savings. Driving all over town trying to score sale-priced anchovies or gasoline. Ruining good cloth with cheap scissors.

Well, today I was one of those people. Twice over.

First, I stayed up waaay too late last night counting up my CVS savings and writing about them here. I ended up sleeping an hour late. When I woke up, I had just about half an hour before the girls and I were supposed to leave on our planned day's outing to the Chicago Children's Museum.

Well, Epu helped greatly in getting the girls ready, but with this and that, by the time I was ready to go out the door I was nearly half an hour behind schedule. Since I was supposed to meet up with a friend at a specific time, and also because the baby would have to nap a few hours after we arrived, I didn't want to be delayed.

So instead of taking the El, like I'd planned, I decided on the spur of the moment to drive. Much more convenient, and I figured, if I found parking for around $12, I'd only be spending about $8 extra after subtracting my El fare. Not counting gas and mileage on the car, that is. (Funny how easy it is to discount those things just because you don't pay for them immediately.)

I ended up finding nothing even remotely affordable in the way of parking. There were some meters around, but they were all full. The parking at the Pier is highway robbery -- $23. So I looked at some lots nearby and pulled into one that said $14, about 3 blocks away. Only after I had pulled in did I read that you needed a ticket from the movie theater across the street to get that rate. The regular rate, for 2 to 4 hours, was $24.

That's right. In my second attempt to be frugal, by parking off the pier, I ended up paying MORE than I would have if I didn't even try. It was a nice day and walking the extra few blocks with the girls was fine, but it sucked that we ended up paying so much.

Naturally, as I walked out of the parking lot I noticed that one of the street spots had opened up. The meters were $2 for two hours, and although I would be gone about 2-1/2 to 3 hours, I thought it was worth risking a ticket that would probably not happen, especially on the Sunday of a holiday weekend.

Urgh. I HATE paying for parking, especially prices like that. On the other hand, I'm glad I noticed those meters there. In the future if I can't leave soon enough to take the El, which is actually kind of a hassle to the Pier because you have to transfer to a bus or walk for quite awhile, I'm going to just look and look and look until I score one of those cheap, cheap meters.

By the way, we had a super fun trip to the Children's Museum. Just me, my girls and the daughter of a friend, all of whom behaved beautifully. And the admission was free thanks to our pass. And they got free lollipops from the AirHeads man on the way out, which quieted their clamoring for ice cream cones.

So, you know.