One of the things that seems to creep into every student’s finances is parking on campus. For as long as I can remember, I have been obsessed about getting a good parking assignment. I did my undergrad and masters at Arizona State and was fortunate to have one of the best parking structure assignments on campus. I didn’t care how much it cost, I shelled the cash out to make sure I kept my permit. Since parking has more than doubled since I last needed to park anywhere near ASU, I doubt that would be the case anymore.

Then we moved to Athens, Georgia for me to go to school at UGA, which despite increasing its parking fees this year, is considerably less than most schools. I’ve never had a hard time parking anywhere, and like ASU, I received a good assignment. However, I had to take a closer look at what I was spending…

I paid over $300 for a permit last year and lived about a mile from campus. Pathetic, huh?  I mean, I did walk on occasion, but why waste a good permit? Now, we’ve moved across town and the drive would be a few miles more. Gas prices, as you all know, are quite ridiculous these days, and in addition to that increase, I would have to pay more for a parking permit.

Then I made a small discovery outside our new home: a bus stop.

So, I did some research on the bus routes and discovered that the bus that passes 20 feet in front of my house is the very same that would take me no more than 100 yards from my building on campus — and students can take the bus for free. But, I saw that there were no late hours, and since my classes are all in the afternoon or evening, It would work out.  But then a friend chimed in. “Actually, there’s another bus that services the area on nights and weekends.” I checked it out and he was right.

So, after mulling it over a little while longer, I decided it was time to forsake the permit and instead enroll in the alternative transportation program, which would still allow me to park in designated lots twice a month. The infrastructure is in place for me to get to A to B without a car…why not go with that option? I could take the bus all week if I wanted, but on Thursdays, after 5 p.m. I can park right behind my building for my late class. The options are all there. It just makes sense.

I would be saving $420 by not purchasing a permit, plus, if gas continues to stay the way it is, I figure I’d be saving almost $600 in gas costs this coming year.

So, I’m saving over $1000, walking more, and doing a little bit more to help reduce carbon emissions. Already, I’m seeing the money I would have spent on the permit going to a Garmin Forerunner and another pair of running shoes. 🙂

The more I think about it, it’s not a sacrifice, it’s a no brainer.