real money growth

leasing vs buying: what should you do?


When it comes to transportation, there is definitely more than a one-size-fits-all approach. When I decided to lease my first vehicle, a brand new 2016 Subaru WRX, I had become very frustrated with auto repairs. I owned my dream truck - article can be found here (#1 biggest financial mistake of my life) - and an old S10 that I used to commute to CSU Fullerton with. Owning the two trucks, at the same time, was draining my savings and consumed all of my time. I was constantly taking both trucks in to the shop to have them repaired.

I did this for a year and had had enough! It was time to sell both of the vehicles and purchase something more reliable. But, what do I do? I had never purchased a vehicle before and really did not want to commit to a $500 a month car payment. I began to research. I told my father about my predicament, and he recommended purchasing a WRX. I told him, right away, “no way,” those cars are way too expensive for me.

A couple weeks had passed, and I slowly started Googling “WRX.” I found that the factory Subaru honored lease for a WRX, at the time, was under $400 per month. I could swing this; but, how much is the down payment? I saw that the down was a little over $1,200. “Hmm, okay, this is doable,” I thought to myself. I need to sell both trucks, first.

Some time passed, and I was able to sell my dream truck and pay back the personal loan that I took to purchase it. I then sold my S10. I was ready to go to the dealership and test drive a new WRX. My fiancee and I went to Irvine Subaru, in Southern California, on a Saturday to look at the car. I was greeted quickly and before I knew it, I was starting the test drive. The test drive was rough - I hadn’t driven a turbo stick-shift car in my life, and the WRX was a challenge at first. We survived, and I decided to pursue the three year 36,000 mile lease.

I told the sales person that I saw a factory Subaru under $400 per month lease that the dealerships must honor. The sales person told me, “you are going to need excellent credit to qualify for this offer.” I told him, “run my score.” He went to go run the score and came back with a smile. He told me that I qualified - sweet! I drove the car home that same day.

Road-side assistance, oil changes and maintenance, drive-train and engine warranties, were all covered for the life of the lease. I did not have to worry about maintenance any more. I turn the car in next month, and did not lose a second of sleep, over the past three years, worrying about if my WRX would start or not. I also did not put a dime into the car over the entire three years, even when the battery died. It was replaced for free by Irvine Subaru.

My overall leasing experience has been amazing. Yes, in the end, I am out the money I paid per month for the lease; but, not having to worry about maintenance freed up so much of my time. I invested this free time into my career, personal relationships, and even hobbies such as blogging.