A Cheap Lease Payment Doesn't Always Save You Money

2018 Honda Fit
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A Low Monthly Payment Can Cost More in the Long Run – Here Are Some Examples

If you want to lease a car for the lowest possible monthly payment but fail to consider the total cost of the lease, the numbers may fool you. Budget-conscious consumers who aim to allot $100 or less to a monthly lease need to consider other costs. Be ready to bring a lot of cash to the table for the down payment and have some in the bank to pay out-of-pocket costs should your mileage exceed the terms of the lease.

The best lease deals usually come in the form of lease specials from manufacturers. However, with a few exceptions, finding a $100 lease special from a manufacturer is like finding a needle in a haystack. There are some: This month, you can lease a 2017 Kia Forte LX for $90 per month for three years with $3,090 down, or a 2016 Smart Fortwo for $89 per month for three years with $1,983 due at signing.

More likely, you’ll have to work out your $100-per-month lease at the dealer, and without the manufacturer subsidies that come with lease specials, that can get mighty expensive. We’ve used auto manufacturers’ online calculators to see what vehicles you can lease for under $100 per month. To get the low monthly payments, the cost is a high down payment. It is often so high that the lease is no deal at all.

If your heart is set on a lease, take a look at alternative options, including leases just over $100 per month on cars like the Volkswagen Jetta or Honda Fit. Or reconsider a lease altogether in favor of a zero percent financing deal on cars like the Hyundai Accent or Mitsubishi Outlander Sport.

Is cheaper better? Check out the examples of conventional leases with low monthly payments on the following slides and see for yourself.

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