When leasing a car is the more frugal option

Liz Weston

If you need a car, the most frugal option is to buy one that’s 2 to 3 years old, pay cash and drive it until the wheels fall off.

The least frugal option traditionally has been leasing, where you make monthly payments to drive a car but don’t own it. You’re paying for the vehicle during its most expensive period – cars lose more than half their value on average in the first three years – and you have nothing to show for your payments after the lease ends.

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