Most of us with cars will have 2 season parking commitments, one at home and one at work. And most of the time, the payment of the season parking is conveniently paid by GIRO so as to save the hassle of going to AXS machines or the parking vendor’s office to make payment every month. This is on the assumption that we will fully (or nearly fully) utilize the season parking each month. However, this is not a fail-proof assumption as we have learnt the hard way.
This incident happened for the month of February 2011 at my work place.
As usual, the payment of $90 for February’s season parking is deducted in late January via GIRO. I noticed it, but didn’t give it a second thought. It is a regular payment thing after all.
February came and I went to work as usual on the 1st.  <- I’m keeping count of the number of days I physically parked my car at the office.
Then followed by the 2nd which was a half day due to it being the eve of Chinese New Year. [1.5]
The 3rd to the 6th was the Chinese New Year long weekend. Yeah… [1.5] <- It’s starting…
Immediately after the public holidays, I attended my In Camp Training from the 7th to the 18th for a high key call up. [1.5] <- Half the month was already gone.
Now, hourly parking is charged at $1/hr. Assuming that I parked my car from 8.30am to 6.30pm daily, that’s $10 per day if I do not purchase season parking. Put it another way, 9 full days of hourly parking is equivalent to a full month of season parking. That is, if I’m going to park 9 days or less in a given month, I’ll actually be better off just going by hourly rates. See where this is going?
The 19th and 20th were weekends and so I went back to work on the 21st. [2.5]
On the 22nd, I went to work as usual. Here’s where it gets worse. I applied for my entitled exam leave for the 28th and 25th, and further applied annual leave for 24th and 23rd in order to have more time to prepare for my upcoming exam! [3.5] <- Noticed that February has only 28 days so I’m not going to step into office anymore for the rest of Feb!
On the 1st of March, I stepped back into office thinking to myself, “Wow! Time really flies, it’s March already. Now, how much work have I done in February? 1st, 2nd, CNY, ICT, exam…”
Then why am I paying $90 for season parking when I’m only in office for just that few days? A quick calculation revealed that I would have paid just 3.5x$10=$35 by hourly parking. I have in fact overpaid by $55! Ouch! <- I could have bought another board game with this money.
What a heavy price for pay for this oversight!
Nevertheless, I did learn my lessons from this incident. Do not take regular payments for granted. Sometimes, it just isn’t worth it. Take season parking for example, one should really look ahead in the calendar and take into account travel plans (be it business or leisure), public holidays, block leave (although you should never take block leave), ICT, etc, and decide whether or not season parking is worthwhile in that time period. Similarly for other regular bills such as broadband and mobile phones, does one’s consumption patterns warrant such high bandwidth high priced plans? Time to re-examine our lifestyle and trim the excess fats.