How to get over the psychological block I have for leasing?

I’ve always owned and never leased. I never could get myself to lease because I always felt it was irrational to spend 15-20K over 3 years and “not have anything to show for it.” How do you get over this and convince myself that leasing may be better off financially then buying a car (cpo or new) and trading it in after 5-6 years?

It is a personal decision. I like getting a new car every 2 to 3 years so in that case leasing can make more sense. I’m looking at a Giulia for 24 months and that will cost me $8,400.

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How about having 0 or negative equity when you trade in your car in 5 or 6 years, unless you put an enormous down payment, while still almost paying off your car in full.

In my opinion, buying a car works if you drive a lot or keep your car until it is no longer repairable or have generous warranty or raises in value.

If you change car every 3 years, the money out of pocket due to depreciation and interest is often more than the lease payment, and you don’t have the hassle of selling the car. If you tent to keep your car doe 10 or more years, the financing often makes more sense.

Whichever type of ownership is better really depend on your personal choice and usage.

If ur heart doesnt wanna do, dont do it. Simple. If it doesnt make financial sense to you, then it is highly possible that it wouldnt make sense by strangers on a forum helping it make sense to yiu :slightly_smiling_face:


Technically you do have something to show for it because you are paying down the depreciation. No different than the first couple of years on a loan

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Good insight. I only drive 7500 miles or so a year. I never hold onto them until they are not repairable (I trade by 100K, if that). And they never rise in value. Perhaps I am a candidate for leasing after all.

Is it ever advantageous to buy the car outright at the end of the lease? I think that would go a long way in helping me to try leasing. That way, in my mind< I could consider leasing a “try it out session” where if I really like the car after 2-3 years, I could buy it.

It really comes down to how long you’d like to keep the car. If you purchase and are keeping your cars for 10 years and putting over 100k miles on them then financially you are probably paying alot less over time…

If you purchase and then after 3-5 years you look to trade in new, you are probably getting hit after hit on the depreciation and negative equity that you are paying more overall compared to a lease (assuming the lease was a good deal)

Just calculate out the numbers. Usually I can lease the same car 3 to 4 times and then it will equal what I would have paid for the initial car.

I actually think selling a paid off car 5-6 years after getting it is worse financially then leasing.

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It’s easy to get over this mental block. Remember cars are depreciating assets, unlike houses. Therefore, buying cars is a losing proposition if you can lease for <=1% of MSRP.


I am actually considering buying out my lease. I drive so little that even lease doesn’t make sense anymore. After 3.5 years, I barely have 19k miles. So I figure my warranty is 10 years, mileage would be around 50k. I can still sell my car for a few grand in 7 years and I wouldn’t be spending much on maintenance.

Leasing works even better if you are not picky, as there are some manufacturers/trims/ options that lease way better than others.

buying out after lease is definitely possible. But whether it is advantageous will depend a few things. I think most important is how you plan to pay for the car at then end of lease. If you again have to finance for 60 months, it often not a good idea because you need up paying a lot more interest.

One suggestion for simple calculations. The car you just trade in at 100K, take your purchase price + interest - trade in value - non maintenance related repair, devise by the year of ownership, what’s your cost/year? If this number is more than your lease cost/year, maybe you should try leasing next time. If not, buying it is still better from cost perspective

math doesn’t lie. If you manage to get a good lease deal then at the end of your typical 36 mo lease term you will have spent less in total $ than if you bought it new and tried to sell it after 36 mo. So it all comes down to how much $ you spend over a period of time.

Of course there are the other benefits of being able to drive something new on a regular basis, always being under warranty and having no/small maintenance cost depending on the brand.

If you know how to get a good lease deal, it beats owning almost always except when you drive more than 15k mi/yr when excess mile charges might make it cost prohibitive.


All the leases I have done so far were planned to be purchased after the lease term, I have not bought a single one of them yet. Once you get a taste of a new car every 2-3 years, there is no way back imo. Besides, like @wz2016 mentioned, one of the “set in stone” rules of financing, buy what appreciates, lease what depreciates.
With 7500 mi or yearly driving you are actually a perfect candidate for leasing.

if you like driving a 5 year old or less vehicle and drive under 15-20k miles a year, leasing usually makes the most sense, IF your willing to drive a model that tends to lease well. If your dead set on driving a model that doesn’t lease well and also has a high resale value, your probably better off buying (Honda Pilot comes to mind). I get bored, and like a new Vehicle every 2 years, my wife likes every 3 years. Leasing just makes more financial sense for our everyday vehicle. Now my play/fun car is a different story, I prefer to own it, I still tend to upgrade every few years, and it does cost me more than leasing, probably a lot more. I don’t care, I want to be able to make upgrades, and trade or sell on a moments notice. It’s just what I prefer. I certainly don’t want to be the richest guy in the graveyard.


I used to have the same mentality when it came to leasing a car but after going through the numbers and determining that I wanted to have the latest technology in my car I came to the realization that leasing enables you to experience the most car for the least amount of money now. Of course, if you want to drive your cars to the ground, there’s no debate that financing the car is the correct decision. However, if you’re young and haven’t set up a base of where you want to stay in the long term leasing allows you flexiblility in that you can decide to buyout the car at the end of your lease should you decide you want to keep it after paying the bulk of the depreciation otherwise you can just return the lease and not be stuck selling the car at a loss should career circumstances change and you are required to relocate. A concern many have when it comes to leasing is the mileage cap that is imposed - remember, if you go over significantly you can simply purchase the price at the residual value (even though this number is based off MSRP manufacturers subsidize the set residual to artificially lower lease payments) so you can effectively purchase your vehicle that you know was maintained and taken care of at a price that the leasing company would sell the car at auction. Another factor that can help you get over your psychological crutch is that leasing enables your payments to be lower TODAY. Ask yourself, do you have investments in the market or real estate? By effectively having more capital today due to lower lease payments compared to financing you can drive the same car but have more money to invest in ventures you see fit as well as flexibility in where you want to spend your money.

Another concept I see many people new to leasing struggle with is the fact that you DONT own the car until the payment is completely paid off. If you decide to trade your car in 4-5 years in, you may not even have any equity in the car- when I worked at a dealership I would see tons of people come in wanting give trade their cars in and be surprised when we told them that even giving them book value of the car they were still under water after making years of payments (many customers forget that there is a transactional cost when it comes to reselling their vehicle, people believe their car is valued at retail when in fact if they trade their car in their true value is significantly lower than what they saw on KBB). Also, as your car gets older you will be responsible for all of the wear and tear when it comes time for maintenance. Having a lease enables you to not have to worry about unexpected maintenance bills (under factory warranty and maintenance plans) whereas if you were to purchase the car you would eventually have to spend a money on the upkeep of your car (brakes, tires, etc). Bear in mind each 1,200 you spend on your car in maintenance and upkeep equates to almost 100/month in terms of money spent. The effective price of ownership of a car is therefore marginally better than leasing, so ask yourself if saving a little money is worth the sacrifice of having the latest technology and safety in something most people use everyday.

In conclusion, there are pros and cons for both leasing and financing- you just have to determine which is right for your lifestyle. If you like to change cars every 3-5 years leasing is generally the optimal decision in terms of actual cost and remember, you don’t technically “have anything to show for it” until you realize whatever equity you have in the vehicle- and sometimes you’ll be surprised at how little equity you have after the expense of selling comes into play (whether it be dealer margins or hours spent trying to sell your car private party).


This is simplistic at best. I’ve bought and owned cars for less than a total cost of 36% of MSRP (ie 1% per month).

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I don’t know where you saw this “set in stone,” but it’s simplistic at best.

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If you can buy new cars for <= 36% of MSRP, please hook us all up.

Honestly, I think it’s a myth that financing a car Ieaves you “something to show for it” when it is paid off. Someone mentioned that cars are a depreciating asset, and this is true whether you lease or finance.

There are always factors that come into play that differs from person to person.

The ideal lease is someone who has negotiated a good selling price, pay the proper depreciation, and low MF (interest). Keep in mind this person probably should not drive that car over 15k a year.

The ideal finance situation for a car is someone who drives cars more than 6-7 years or maybe someone who puts a lot of miles on their cars. If you’re a person who likes to switch cars every 3-4 years, there is zero reason to finance.

So the main question people should ask before leasing is, how much do I drive and how long am I going to keep the car? Be honest with yourself.

Of course there are a lot more factors, if you finance you have to factor in repair/maintenance costs versus a lease. Since leased cars are all covered under warranty except wear and tear items, it will be a lot cheaper. But then again, this is going to vary across makes. And before people chime in here with specific makes and models, yes, I know that unicorns like FJ cruisers held their value like crazy. Those are special cases and sometimes you can’t really plan for those things.

So do your research, run the numbers since you can get a good grasp on leasing here, and come to a decision based on your circumstances.