In an era where mobility is indispensable, especially for professionals with active work lifestyles, owning a car has become less of a luxury and more of a necessity. However, the financial implications of car ownership can be daunting. Between loan payments, gas, insurance, and maintenance costs, owning a car can quickly drain your savings. According to ValuePenguin’s analysis of 2020 U.S. Census Bureau data, 8.45% of U.S. households do not own a car, potentially due to these high costs.
One solution to this problem, particularly for those who want the convenience of a car without the financial burden of ownership, is car leasing. Leasing offers an alternative path to mobility—one that comes with its own set of advantages and considerations.
The Advantages of Leasing a Car
Leasing a car can provide numerous benefits over purchasing a brand-new vehicle:
Lower Monthly Payments
One of the main advantages of leasing a car is that it typically involves lower monthly payments compared to purchasing a vehicle. When you lease, you’re only paying for the depreciation of the car during the lease term, not the entire value of the vehicle. This can make leasing an attractive option for those looking to drive a new car without committing to high monthly payments.
Drive Newer Models
Leasing allows drivers to consistently upgrade their vehicles every few years. This means you’ll always have access to the latest models equipped with the most recent technology and safety features. If staying up-to-date with automotive trends and technologies is important to you, leasing may be a good fit.
Fewer Maintenance Worries
Since lease terms typically last for two to three years, the vehicle is often under warranty for the entire lease period. This can significantly reduce the cost and stress associated with car repairs and maintenance. Any major issues that arise are generally covered under the manufacturer’s warranty, providing peace of mind and financial protection.
No Resale Hassles
Unlike owning a car, when you lease, there’s no need to worry about selling or trading in the vehicle when you’re ready for a new one. At the end of your lease term, you simply return the car to the dealership. This eliminates the hassle and potential stress of negotiating trade-in values or selling a used car on the private market.
Timing Your Car Lease for Optimal Savings
Leasing a car can be a financially savvy move, especially if you time it correctly. Dealerships often have specific periods throughout the year when they’re looking to clear out older inventory and meet sales quotas. These are opportune times to lease a car as dealerships typically offer attractive deals.
Here’s a more detailed look at the best months for leasing a car:
As the year starts to wind down, dealerships begin to receive inventory for the next year’s models. This leads them to clear out the current year’s stock, often resulting in attractive lease deals, especially on models from the outgoing year.
The Black Friday shopping period isn’t exclusive to retail stores. Many car dealerships also offer significant savings during this time. It’s an excellent opportunity to explore lease offers as dealerships roll out special deals to draw in customers.
With the end of the year looming, dealerships are typically focused on meeting their annual sales targets. They often put forth enticing lease deals to boost their sales figures before the year concludes. Moreover, with next year’s models on the horizon, they have added motivation to clear their lots, leading to even better deals.
End of Each Quarter (March, June, September, December)
Dealerships usually have quarterly sales targets in addition to their monthly and yearly goals. These quarter-end periods can be opportune times to lease a car, as dealerships might offer improved deals to meet these targets.
Holiday Weekends (Memorial Day, Labor Day, etc.)
Dealerships frequently run promotional sales during extended holiday weekends. These occasions can present excellent opportunities to lease a car, as you might find special lease deals that go beyond standard offers.
New Year’s Day
Despite signaling the start of a new calendar year, New Year’s Day can still be a fruitful time to lease a car. Dealerships might be striving to clear remaining inventory from the previous year and meet any leftover sales targets.
End of the Model Year
While this doesn’t map to a specific month, the end of a model year is generally a good time to lease. This period comes when car manufacturers release new models, prompting dealerships to offer appealing deals to clear space for the incoming inventory.
However, there are also less favorable times to lease a car:
New Model Release
When a car manufacturer releases a new model, it often results in a frenzy of excitement and demand. During this period, the supply of the new model might not meet the high demand, causing lease prices to surge. Waiting a few months for the initial excitement to die down can often result in more favorable lease terms as dealerships have more inventory and are more inclined to negotiate.
Early in the Model Year
The early part of the model year isn’t usually the best time to lease a car. Dealerships often have a lot of inventory during this time and aren’t under pressure to move last year’s models. This means they might be less willing to offer attractive lease deals or negotiate on price.
Spring and Summer Months
Warmer weather tends to bring out more car shoppers, leading to increased demand. With more potential customers, dealerships may not feel the need to offer as many enticing lease deals. The spring and summer months also coincide with tax refund season when people might have extra cash to spend, potentially driving up prices.
Beginning of the Month
The start of a new month is typically a less advantageous time to lease a car. Dealerships have a whole month ahead to meet their sales targets and might not be as motivated to offer great deals. On the other hand, the end of the month can often be a good time to lease as dealerships might be more eager to close deals to hit their sales quotas.
During Major Product Recalls
If a car model is undergoing a major recall, it could affect lease prices. The reduced availability of that model could lead to higher demand for other models, potentially increasing their lease prices.
Remember that these are general guidelines and actual lease prices can vary depending on various factors, including individual dealership promotions and local market conditions. It’s always a good idea to do thorough research and shop around before committing to a lease agreement to ensure you’re getting the best deal possible.
Wrapping Up: Tips for Securing the Best Car Lease Deal
Understanding the best times to lease a car can provide a significant advantage when it comes to negotiating your lease terms. However, while timing plays a crucial role, there are other factors to consider to ensure you secure the best car lease deal:
Spend time researching different car models, lease terms, and dealerships. Knowledge is power when it comes to negotiating.
Understand Your Needs
Know what kind of car you need, how long you want the lease for, and how many miles you drive annually. Tailoring your lease to your specific needs can help avoid costly overage charges.
Don’t be afraid to negotiate. The sticker price isn’t always final, and there’s often room for negotiation.
Don’t settle for the first deal you find. Shop around at different dealerships and compare prices to ensure you’re getting the best deal.
Read the Fine Print
Make sure you understand all the terms of your lease agreement before signing. Look out for any hidden fees or charges that could add up over time.
Remember, the best lease deal for you is one that fits your budget, meets your driving needs, and gives you the flexibility you desire. By considering these tips and timing your lease strategically, you’re well on your way to securing a fantastic car lease deal.