Southern Belle in Training

Fashion, Travel & Lifestyle Blog || Est. 2012 || Charlottesville, VA

June 19, 2020

5 Reasons I Decided to Lease My New Car.

    Yesterday marked one month since I drove my new car home! My old car reached the end of its life last month- it got to the point where it was more expensive to fix it than the total value of the vehicle. After many conversations with my parents, coworkers and friends, a lot of Consumer Reports reading, several dealer visits and test drives... I officially became a lessee on May 18th, 2020. It's only been one month of leasing so far so I can't speak for how I'll feel about it in a year or two from now, but for the time being I've had a fantastic experience and believe this was 100% the right decision for where I am financially, my driving habits, and my general preferences on cars. If you're planning to get a new vehicle soon or in a bit of a pinch and getting one unexpectedly like I was, here's why I think you should consider a lease:



5 Reasons I Decided Leasing > Buying

     1. I don't drive very much: This is the biggest one! A lot of people see as the major downside of leasing is that you have strict mileage limits. You can be charged significantly when you turn in the car if you've gone over that, or be forced into buying the car to avoid those fees. But when I sat down and actually analyzed my driving habits and did the math on how much mileage I'd use on average with a year in my old car, I was pleasantly surprised to learn that it was right in line with leasing.
     I've never had a commute longer than 10ish minutes to work, and the other places that I frequent each week (fitness studio, grocery store, library. etc) are also about the same distance from where I live. My unique work hours and early bedtimes mean that I rarely go out weeknights anymore. I take on average one 6-7 hour road trip a year, and a few 3-4 hour ones. That many weekend road trips could be a problem if I had a long daily commute or was frequently out and about all day every day, but I'm not!
     For my first month with my new car, I drove down to Columbia, SC (six hours each way) for Memorial Day Weekend, and I was also in Richmond last weekend for a hair appointment. I was really nervous about driving that much for my first month as a lessee... but the month ended for me yesterday and I was still about a hundred miles under what I've deemed as the limit I should drive each month! And that was a heavy driving month. I truly don't think I'll have a problem going forward.

     2. Attractive lower payments: The other big reason I went with a lease! At the time that my old car died, I didn't feel financially "ready" to get a car yet. I was still driving my first car from high school, and I hoped for another year or two out of it at the least. My savings account wasn't at the place I wanted it to be at yet for adding on a car payment, but I had no choice.
     When you buy a car, you put down as much as you can up front to try to get your monthly loan payments as low as possible. I only felt comfortable doing a few thousand down, and I knew that meant my monthly payments if I purchased would be a lot higher than I wanted. Or, the other option was buying an older used car, which I also didn't really want. If I was going to be putting money into something unexpectedly, I wanted it to be a new vehicle. With a lease, I could put that same few thousand down and find a lower monthly payment that worked for my tighter budget. Plus I'd be driving a brand new vehicle!

     3. I hate car maintenance: Stereotypical girl here but no shame in admitting this. I hate dealing with car maintenance with a passion. I swear I've been taken advantage of by different mechanics so many times over the years because of how clueless I am. When my old car used to have problems and the mechanic would try to explain to me what was going on, it was like they were speaking a foreign language. I live out of state and far from my parents so I don't have them to help me out with this, nor am I in a serious relationship where a guy could take over doing this for me. Perhaps I'd be a little more interested in trying to learn how to do very basic car repairs like changing oil or windshield wipers myself if I had more room to learn these things (like a house and a garage), but I don't. With my former car being so old, I got used to having to deal with big maintenance issues quite frequently. I hated driving something that never felt reliable. I love know that with my new lease, I'll only have to take care of oil changes, tire rotations and inspections for the next three years! With the mileage terms on my lease it's unlikely I'll have to buy tires, change the breaks, fix the broken AC, or anything else that seemed standard on my old car.

     4. No long-term commitment: As I shared in a recent blog post about renting vs. buying a home in your 20s, I really enjoy renting apartments during this decade of life. I love the fact it's such a minimal commitment compared to a house. Leasing a car is the same thing! I love knowing that in three years it's totally up to me if I want to buy the vehicle and continue to drive it, or trade it for something even newer and better!

     5. Able to afford a higher model and better features: Because of the lower monthly payments with leasing, I was able to be driving a much better model of car than I would've if I bought. As I explained earlier, my budget for the down payment and what I felt comfortable doing for monthly payments was pretty low, as I was hoping to have another year or two to save up. If I bought a car instead of leasing for the same money I've invested now, I'd probably be driving something several years old with a lot of miles, that probably wouldn't have been a huge upgrade from my old car. Since I am leasing, I am driving a brand new 2020, and it's also one of the highest models for the type of car it is! My new car had every feature and more on my wishlist (except for a sunroof- but maybe my next lease will have that 😉)! If you choose to lease, you will most likely be driving a nicer car than you could afford to purchase. Why not right?!


     My parents have never leased cars and didn't know much about it (they prefer to buy low mileage used cars and drive them until it's not worth it to fix anymore, just like my old car), so I made sure to ask many friends who had leased before for their honest opinions when I was car shopping. Several of you on Instagram also sent me helpful DMs about your experiences after I shared I was considering it (shout-out especially to Mackenzie and Lindsey for the extra helpful tips!). If you're also thinking about trying a lease, don't just take my word for it. Do as much research as you can, and don't be afraid to ask a ton of questions to the salesperson and manager at the dealership. There are a lot of articles on the internet that say leasing is always a bad idea. It is definitely not the right move for some people, depending on their lifestyle and driving habits. But it's also a great option for others, myself included! The key is to really analyze your budget, driving habits, and ask every question you can think of to those who have done it and the dealership staff.

    In my car shopping experience, I did learn that some brands of cars didn't have the best lease deals. A lot of them do have tons of fees attached that they will try to be shady and hide from you. Sadly- that's the case I found with Mazda. My old car was a Mazda and I would've loved to remain loyal to the brand... but their lease deals plain and simple were just horrible. It made me so sad when I learned that, but I knew it was much more important to me to be open to other brands of cars rather than getting into a bad deal with Mazda.

     For privacy reasons I won't be sharing the exact make and model of my new vehicle here. 😊 Just like I never shared that I formerly drove a Mazda until now! But I will tell you I am so happy with my new car! It took some getting used to and all the features made it a huge upgrade from my old one, but now I love it. If you are local to Charlottesville, I am happy to DM/email you which dealers I visited and had good/bad experiences with.


    I hope this post was helpful to anyone who might be car shopping soon! And even if you aren't, hopefully it was a still a fun read. I was shocked at the amount of people that have DMd me over the past few weeks to ask if I ended up getting a new vehicle! I guess I never gave a proper update on how car shopping had ended on there.


     God Bless,


     xoxo Annaliese

     xoxo Annaliese
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3 comments

  1. This was super helpful. I do not plan on buying a car anytime soon, but this post really opened to my eyes to what route I could go with a car.

    - Gigi
    http://studyinglifewithgigi.com/

    ReplyDelete
  2. I've never considered leasing a car, so this was very interesting!

    ReplyDelete
  3. This was so informative. We've thought about getting me a bigger car since we have a baby now. I haven't considered a lease, but honestly I don't drive much so it sounds like it should be something we think about.

    ReplyDelete

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