Press-Republican

FYI...

March 26, 2013

The pros and cons of leasing a car

If you've paid attention to car commercials on television lately, you may have noticed there are some jaw-dropping deals on auto leases – or so it seems. Some sharp entry-level sedans carry monthly payments as low as $150.

But the first rule of shopping for any kind of car, whether for purchase or for lease, is to forget the monthly payment and instead, focus on the purchase price, interest rate and the length of time you'll be making payments.

“Unfortunately, I think most people define affordability by how much the monthly payment is,” said Mike Sante, managing editor of Interest.com. A lot of people think, if the check doesn't bounce I must be able to afford it.”

Sante and his team conducted a study in February and concluded that most consumers can't afford most new cars. And that's part of the seductive appeal of an auto lease – it looks much cheaper than buying. The monthly payment is lower and so is the down payment.

Paying for just part of the car

That's because, with a lease, you aren't paying for the entire car, just the part that you're using. In a typical lease, you surrender the car at the end of three years. The car still has a lot of its value left, which the lessor recoups when they sell the vehicle on the used-car market. You are only paying for the first three years worth of value.

But are you overpaying? That's the question you must answer before deciding whether leasing a vehicle is right for you. Often, it depends on the kind of vehicle and the price.

Let's look at two different vehicles and approach them from both a lease and sale perspective.

Before going any farther, let's get business leasing out of the way. Many businesses, both large and small, lease their vehicles because they can deduct the entire lease payment from their taxes. We're ignoring that in this discussion, which is intended striclty for consumers.

A pricey ride

Text Only | Photo Reprints
FYI...
  • DayCareCosts.jpg Day care's cost can exceed college tuition in some states

    Most parents will deal with an even larger kid-related expense long before college, and it's a cost that very few of them are as prepared for: day care.

    April 18, 2014 1 Photo

  • Millions of Android phones, tablets vulnerable to Heartbleed bug

    Millions of smartphones and tablets running Google's Android operating system have the Heartbleed software bug, in a sign of how broadly the flaw extends beyond the Web and into consumer devices.

    April 17, 2014

  • Stepping forward: The real Colbert

    Letterman changed the late-night TV game between his run on NBC's "Late Night" and starting the "Late Show" franchise in 1993. And while it's tough to replace a pop-culture icon, Colbert, in terms of pedigree and sense of humor, makes the most sense.

    April 16, 2014

  • news_twitter.jpg Travelers fly on Air Twitter

    The enlightened age of social media has dawned over the airline industry, casting shadows over telephone call centers and on-site agents. Facebook and Twitter are racking up the friends and followers while the hold music plays on.

    April 15, 2014 1 Photo

  • 297px-Starbucks_Corporation_Logo_2011.svg.png Why Starbucks won't recycle your paper coffee cup

    When you drop that used white paper cup into the bin next to the door at a Starbucks, have you done your part to save the planet? Starbucks has long hoped that you would think so. After all, there's no better way to attract an affluent, eco-conscious clientele than to convince customers that your disposable product is "renewable."

    April 14, 2014 1 Photo

  • Screen Shot 2014-04-08 at 2.16.35 PM.png Are Americans smart to stop drinking diet sodas?

    Recent data from Beverage Digest suggest many are cutting back on diet sodas. Consumption of diet sodas fell more than that of sugary sodas in 2013. This raises two questions: Why is total consumption declining, and is drinking diet soda harmful to health?

    April 13, 2014 1 Photo

  • Fast, cheap test can help save lives of many babies

    As Easley did more research into her daughter's death, she learned that a pilot program had started just months earlier at Holy Cross Hospital in Silver Spring, Md. (Easley had delivered at a different hospital in the Washington area.) The program's goal was to screen every newborn with a simple pulse oximeter test that can help detect heart problems such as Veronica's, allowing doctors to respond.

    April 12, 2014

  • Starbucks retools pastry menu after customer complaints

    After the coffee chain bought gourmet-baking company La Boulange in 2012, it used the acquisition to add fancier pastries to U.S. locations. Now Starbucks is discovering that some customers liked the food better before, prompting another round of retooling.

    April 11, 2014

  • Lindley, Tom.jpg Taking someone out to the ballgame gets expensive

    Families in big-league cities like Boston and New York pay steep prices to catch a baseball game. It's not so expensive everywhere - especially if you're frugal.
     

    April 10, 2014 1 Photo

  • How improv comedy skills became a must-have for entrepreneurs

    A few years ago, for complex reasons, I attended the orientation week for Columbia Business School students. The week involved team-building exercises that forced us to solve problems together.

    April 9, 2014