Buy, Finance Or Lease: How Should I Pay For My New Car?

Whether your old car has given up the ghost or you just like “new car smell,” getting a new ride is a major financial decision.

For many people, used vehicles are a practical option (and are almost always the better financial option). Yet some buyers want a brand-new car, which offers the peace of mind offered by a warranty and no previous owner. Some drivers simply like driving a vehicle with all the latest bells and whistles. If you have settled on a new car, the next major decision is how you will pay for it. Before you start scheduling test drives, take some time to seriously consider whether you ought to buy or lease.

Buying

If you can afford to buy the car you want outright, with no financing, this may be the soundest financial option in the long run. You will not be responsible for any interest or finance charges, and will be able to avoid some of the disadvantages of both financing and leasing.

However, most people don’t have the cash savings necessary to buy the car they want out of pocket. This is why most vehicle owners end up financing their purchase one way or another. Even with financing, however, buying is the better deal versus leasing unless you know you plan to trade in your vehicle every few years. The longer you own a particular car, the more you save over leasing an equivalent vehicle. And, assuming you have a well-made car and do not run afoul of any major accidents, you may have years with no car payments at all once you pay it off.

In addition to the overall cost difference, buying means that you have the freedom to sell or trade in your car at any time. You also have the freedom to keep it as long as you like. This can create much more flexibility down the line than lessees can expect. If you sell a car you own outright, the cash value is yours to use any way you want.

Buying a car also frees you from worry about incidents that can trigger fees in a lease. For example, you can drive the car as many miles per year as you like; go ahead and take that spur-of-the-moment road trip. Wear and tear on the car, whether inside or out, only matters inasmuch as it might affect the car’s ultimate resale value and your own comfort. And if you want to customize your car in any way, the choice is yours.

While these advantages are substantial, purchasing a vehicle does come with downsides. Most dealerships require a higher down payment for a financed purchase than for a lease, in many cases 10 to 20 percent down. Monthly finance payments will also be higher than lease payments on an equivalent vehicle, because you are paying off the entire purchase price, plus interest and finance charges. If you know you are the type of person who will want a new car in a few years regardless of how well your old one runs, you may end up paying enough in finance charges that leasing is the more logical option for you.

If you own your vehicle, you also roll the dice on its potential resale value. Most drivers know that a car starts to depreciate the moment you drive it off the lot. How fast it depreciates, and how its condition fares over time, will become your problem if you plan to trade it in or sell it one day. You will also be responsible for maintaining that condition; after the warranty expires, repairs and upkeep will be entirely your responsibility.

Leasing

Many people think of leasing a car as equivalent to renting a home. While the two arrangements do have some aspects in common, leasing a car is a little bit different from renting real estate.

When you lease a car, you borrow the car’s entire value, less any down payment or trade-in value specified in your lease arrangement, just as you would if you were financing a purchase. As in a regular car loan, you will be charged interest. However, when you lease, you only pay back the depreciation, rather than the vehicle’s full cost. At the end of the lease, you return the car to make up the rest of the loaned amount. Some leases may give you an option to purchase – often known as “lease to own” arrangements – but your lease payments do not mean you have built any equity in the car. First you lease, then you buy, even if you arrange to buy at a discount.

One of the biggest reasons people lease rather than buy a car is because leases offer lower monthly payments for an equivalent vehicle most of the time. You are covering depreciation plus “rent charges,” or interest, rather than paying off the car’s full value. The down payment is usually lower too; sometimes a dealer will waive a down payment altogether for a lease, which seldom if ever happens when financing a purchase.

A lease also relieves a driver of the hassle of disposing of a car once he or she is done with it. As long as the vehicle is in good shape, at the end of the lease you hand over the keys and walk away. This also means depreciation is not your problem. The future resale value is set in the original lease agreement, so if the car turns out to be worth less than expected, it is the dealer’s problem, not yours.

Lease terms are usually such that the car’s factory warranty covers repairs for most or all of period in which you will lease the car. And for some people, the appeal of knowing they will have a new car every two or three years is so attractive that leasing makes sense when factoring in finance charges and interest on an equivalent purchase cycle.

The two major downsides of leasing are lack of equity and lack of flexibility. As with any property you rent rather than own, you do not have the benefit of knowing each monthly payment is building an increased interest in the property. This also means that a lease costs more than an equivalent loan in the long run, even if it is cheaper month-to-month, because you do not recover any portion of your payments in trade-in or resale value.

A lease is also a commitment for a set period of time. You cannot just sell a leased car if you find yourself in a cash flow crunch or return it if you no longer need it. If you do need to end the lease early, the early termination charges will often end up just as expensive as sticking to the contract. Breaking the lease may even cost more once you factor in early termination fees.

You also may find yourself responsible for an assortment of fees when you return your leased car. If you drive over the mileage limit, which is typically 12,000 or 15,000 miles per year, charges can add up quickly. The same is true if your car shows wear and tear beyond what the dealer considers “normal,” which is a major reason why drivers with young children or pets often find leasing impractical. Lessees will also want to be sure they are diligent about oil changes, tire rotation and other upkeep to avoid more than “normal” wear. And if you have made any modifications to your car, they must be reversible or you will be charged for residual damage.

Leasing a car typically involves more complex paperwork than does buying, even if you finance. Moreover, you will almost always need excellent credit to qualify to lease at all; buyers with bad credit have to shoulder higher interest rates but can typically still get a loan unless their credit is truly awful.

Unless you buy your new car outright, you will need to pay financing charges whether you buy or lease. But in general, finance charges are much higher for lessees than buyers, though in most states this difference is partially offset by a sales tax break on lease payments. Lessees may also need to pay lease initiation fees at the beginning of their lease or disposal fees at the end, expenses that buyers will not need to worry about.

Other Concerns

If the major sticking point for purchasing is the relatively higher monthly payment, you can consider opting for a longer term loan to bring the payment down. However, because cars depreciate over time, longer loan terms increase the chance of going “upside down” on the loan – that is, finding yourself in a situation where your vehicle is worth less than what you owe. Longer loan terms also often mean you will end up paying more interest over the course of the loan. Still, even with these concerns, a longer loan may offer advantages over leasing for many drivers.

Whether you buy or lease, you should always negotiate price with your car dealer. Some experts claim you will get a better deal if you negotiate as if you plan to buy the car, then say you plan to lease after you and the dealer settle on a price and trade-in value.

If you plan to finance a purchase, you should also beware of simply accepting the dealer’s finance offer without shopping around. Apply to more than one lender so you can compare options. Do not only consider the interest rate, but also the loan term and any other fees, such as a prepayment penalty.

As with any major purchase, taking the time to fully weigh the pros and cons of car payment methods will yield long-term benefits. There is no one right answer, but if you successfully match your decision to your needs and lifestyle, you can drive off the lot ready to fully enjoy that new car.

Final Fantasy 3 – When Magic Disappeared Forever

Ages ago, evil beings created powerful creatures called Espers, and unleashed them against each other. The resulting battles left their world a smoldering rubble. Legend has it, the Espers destroyed themselves and most of humanity. Magic disappeared forever.

Centuries have passed and a rational world now exists with Espers living only in myths, until one frozen solid since the ancient wars is unearthed. Suddenly, there are reports of magical attacks on civilians. Imperial Commandos launch raids using magic powered MagiTek weapons. Magic is obviously alive and the world is in danger again. Who or what is behind the rediscovery and redeployment of this legendary power? What chaotic plans exists that will wreak havoc on this orderly world?

Final Fantasy III is one of what many consider to be the classics for RPG genre games. Released as Final Fantasy III for the SNES in 1994, it is actually the 6th installment of the immensely popular Final Fantasy series produced by Squaresoft. The game takes place about 1000 years following the ending of a great war called “The War of the Magi” which removed magic from the face of the world.

It is a typical turn based RPG with the player having control of over 15 playable characters each one with his or her own strengths and weaknesses and different fighting styles and stories to tell. The main character is a young half-human, half-Esper girl whom is trying to find her place in a world torn asunder by war. The main villain in the story is one of the most colorful villains in the Final Fantasy series, a rather funny clown named Kefka.

Joining forces with him are a few other military style villains with lesser roles and even a few NPCs who get involved. There are many plot twists that include cut scenes involving characters that allow the player to have a “real-time” feel with the story. The characters have “expressions” that while being very basic, convey the general theme of each scene to the player. In my opinion, this game is perfect for the player who wants to see some of the best the SNES had to offer in terms of RPGs.

Gameplay:

As far as games for the SNES go, there are only 1 or 2 other games as engrossing as Final Fantasy III. All of the elements that make the other games in the series enjoyable are here. The player can rename all of the characters in the game including the ever present summons (called Espers in FFIII).

There are a multitude of side quests in the game that vary in difficulty from easy to difficult in terms of time and involvement to complete, and the level of commitment necessary to complete the game can vary between 25 hours. To just finish the core storyline of the game, can be up to 100 hours give or take. This is if you want to obtain what is called a “complete” gaming experience meaning gathering all of the most powerful weapons, armor, and magic, and also leveling characters up to maximum levels.

The only reason the game is not getting a 10 rating in this department is the fact that while leveling characters is not a problem in the beginning and middle of the game, once a character reaches the higher levels (above 60) it becomes a very time consuming, tedious process to level up the character sometimes taking hours upon hours to raise a character just one level. This I would say is the main common problem with RPGs of this era. But, if you do not mind that sort of monotony, this game is for you.

The characters in Final Fantasy 3 offer a host of clever individual attacks. Each character has his or her own special talents and the player can choose to utilize each character’s talents or can just ignore them. An essential part of each Final Fantasy is magic, and this game is no exception. There are a multitude of magics available to the player to use, each one learned from equipping certain Espers.

The longer an Esper is equipped, the more magic is obtained from the Esper and once the learning curve for the Esper reaches 100%, all of the magic available from that Esper is learned. Some magic is able to be learned from two to four Espers, while other magic may only be learned from one specific Esper. This makes Esper use a conscionable thought process. The player must plan their use of Espers in order to learn the needed spells.

Graphics:

Again, I am comparing this to other SNES games. This game is 2-D. Plain and simple. It features a 3/4 overhead view 90% of the time and also features an overworld which has since been all but removed from most RPGs. The graphics were considered state of the art in 1994 when this game was released. There are rich color textures and some very good use of the Mode-7 graphics capabilities of the SNES in both scaling and rotation which are show cased especially when the characters use the airship for transportation.

As far as actual graphic renderings are concerned, the game is 2-D, so if you are expecting to see walking, talking, fully rendered 3-D you are out of luck. In scenes where the graphics are made to be inflated or close up, they become pixilated the larger they become. These problems aside, the graphics for its day, when compared to other games out at the time, were considered to be very quite advanced.

Sound Quality:

Here’s where the game shines. The score is enormous! Created by the world-renowned Nobuo Uematsu, there are at least 100 different songs in the game (including renditions of the main theme) and also includes a scene with one of the earliest examples of voiced “singing” in video games. The songs feature 128 note polyphony and a beautifully detailed musical story. Because the game’s dialogue is text based, the music allows the player to get involved on a more emotional level with this game and the characters than many other games out at the time.

There is a great combination of deep bass, singing strings, and synthesized keyboards to keep the listener enthralled and engaged throughout the game. There are very few songs that last less than five minutes without repeating so the player never really gets the boring monotonous feeling that usually accompanies games from the SNES.

Replay Value:

There are very few games that can be left to sit for years on a shelf and then picked up and played again with the same level of commitment and enjoyment as Final Fantasy III. The game is just as much fun the every other time through as it was the first time through. As a matter of fact, with all of the side quests and obtainable items, weapons, armor, and magic, the game could possibly be one of the hardest RPG’s created for the SNES to obtain a “perfect” or 100 percent complete game. There are always ways to expand the difficulty of the game and make each play through a unique experience.

Concept:

Not exactly the most cutting edge in gaming, this game has the very familiar “fight the monsters and gain levels before fighting the final boss and saving the world” theme. While the Action RPG gamer will find this game very repetitive, the fan of the Turn Based style RPG gamer will love it.

Having a female as the main character in the game is a concept that was not used very much prior to Final Fantasy III. This seemed to be a risky idea but Square pulled it off flawlessly. Also, with all of the other characters in the game, the stories unfold rather nicely for each character. This adds to the depth of the game as well as the entertainment concept.

Overall:

If you are a fan of the Final Fantasy series, a collector of vintage games, or a person who is interested in getting involved in the series but is worried about the complexity of the newer Final Fantasy titles, this game is for you. Final Fantasy III is great for the “old-school” player and the “newbie” alike. It has a great story, great sound, and WILL take over your life for a few days if you let it. The characters are original, have many different abilities to use, and have emotions that make playing this game really great.

The NPCs seem to have more of an impact in this game as opposed to most and the main characters are some of the most imaginative I’ve ever come across. The towns are sprawling, the graphics are engaging, and the sound is rich and vibrant. The story unfolds well, and from the opening scene, most players are hooked. The enemies are varied and numerous and the bosses difficult while not being impossible. I highly recommend this game to anyone who owns a SNES.

5 Video Games You Should Play Before You Die

5.) Halo 3 (2007)
Why: The Halo series is one of a kind. It brought friends together to blast one another in an epic space combat. Halo 3 is perhaps the best of the series when it came to the glorified multiplayer, with a dramatic storyline with absolutely no shortage of opera music cues and a hardy character customization. Many titles still try and replicate what Halo did and it just can’t be matched.

4.) Minecraft (2011)
Why: Minecraft is one of the best-selling video games of all time, so you would have to be living under a rock as a gamer to have never come across it. You get to create your own world basically and do whatever you want. If you think it, then you can create it. The nice thing about Minecraft is it is offered on almost every platform, including smartphones. This game is good for letting your mind wander and become an artist.

3.) Super Mario 64 (1996)
Why: Mario is one of the most known titles, but anyone can tell you this might be the best game in the franchise. The game is not like any of its predecessors because this was the first 3D platform game in the series. It is a bigger world than the ones before and the additional moves and jumps Mario can do makes the game fast-paced and more exciting. There are a total of 120 stars and the game has a ton of replay value. Mario platformers are still being made today and none of them still cannot come close to how good this game was.

2.) Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time (1998)
Why: Everyone has their favorite Zelda game, but Ocarina of Time encompasses the best features from the glorified series. There is a huge world that you have the freedom to explore, a magnificent score, and a truly remarkable origin story. The dungeons are not too challenging, but intricate enough to not get too mad when you can’t figure a puzzle out.

1.) Pokémon X and Y (2013)
Why: Whether you are a kid or an adult, with this franchise that never seemed to matter. Pokémon revolutionized what it meant to make characters like Pikachu come alive. They modernized the handheld multiplayer gaming and made it what it is today. X and Y is one of the newer titles, which is great because the game never stops using the old characters the adults grew up on.

Game Review – Fire Pro Wrestling Returns

The North America release of Fire Pro Wrestling Returns was November the Thirteenth. That’s a little over two years after the Japanese release. Having spent about two solid weeks with the game in my possession, I think I am able to give a non bias review. I am a long time fan of this series, but I can still recognize it’s faults. How does Fire pro Wrestling Returns stack up against the more popular competition? Where to start…

There are no drastic changes to the core Fire Pro game play. It’s the same solid grappling system long time fans have grown accustomed to. Those who are new to Fire Pro will need to spend some time getting used to the timing. The fighting system punishes button mashers. I would advice newbies to set COM difficulty to 1 and work their way up to a harder level. This is one of those games where appreciation is only gained after learning the ins and outs.

The series’ trademark features are tight game play and a huge roster. FPR boasts a total of 327 real life competitors. To avoid copyright issues, everyone has been given a name modification. Vader is named “Saber”, Kenta Kobashi is “Keiji Togashi”, etc. Feel free to rename everyone accordingly. You also have the option of changing the attire for default characters. You don’t have to sacrifice one of your 500 edit(CAW) slots when your favorite wrestler changes gimmicks.

FPR’s all-star roster features wrestlers, boxers and mixed martial artists from around the world. Puroresu legends like Giant Baba, Satoru Sayama(original Tiger Mask) and Jushin “Thunder” Lyger are selecible. As always the default roster is dominated by Puro wrestlers. Some of the fighters well known to American wrestling/UFC fans include Bret Hart, Sting, Andre the Giant, Petey Williams, Mirco Cro Cop and Quinton “Rampage” Jackson.

A new addition to the series is a “corner to center” attack. When your opponent is knocked down in the middle of the ring, you can hunker down in the corner to set up a spear, super kick or a few other maneuvers. This adds a bit more drama and accuracy to matches that feature characters who set up these attacks a certain way. Because of this new feature, you can create an accurate Shawn Michaels or Bill Goldberg if you were inclined to do so.

A traditional steel cage match has finally been added. Players can use weapons like barbed wire bats, or the cage it’s self to inflict pain upon others. Other match types include S-1(boxing, punches only), Gruesome( a 12 sided UFC inspired cage) and the Electrified Barbed Wire Exploding Deathmatch. While the has Hell in a Cell, The Japanese hardcore wrestlers hurl each other on electrified boards covered in skin shredding barbed wired. It’s different, but fun none the less

Buzz worthy features include Ref edit, Belt Edit, and Ring/Logo Edit. There is a GM mode called “Match Maker”, but is it very limited. All you do is set up matches between fighters and get graded by the percentage of crowd reaction of the match. There strange special events that happen during match maker do very little to expand beyond it’s limitations. For some inconceivable reason, created wrestlers are barred from use in Match Maker.

Presentation is nothing special. Menus are serviceable, but accessing some features can be a chore at times FPR’s 2D graphics remind me of arcade games like Wrestlefest. Character sprites are not hi resolution, but they are large and detailed. Spike could have easily recycled graphics from Fire Pro Wrestling Z. They instead created new sprites and reanimated some pre existing moves. Some animations seem a bit robotic, but are pretty smooth.

I’m sad to say Spike has once again mapped the pick up weapons button to the run button. Want to get a fluorescent tube from the corner while playing in an exploding barbed wire match? Make sure you are close enough to said tubes. Otherwise you’ll go running into the barbed wire ropes, thus end up looking like a complete fool. It doesn’t ruin the game or anything, but such neglect of the R2 button has me dumbfounded. Overall that is one of my biggest gripes with FPR.

I don’t give numeric scores or grades in my reviews. If I were the type to do that, Fire Pro Wrestling Returns would probably receive a 91. It’s the best in the series, but like any other game it has flaws. Even so called classic games that get perfect scores from other reviewers have a few faults or glitches. I recommend this game to anyone who is into pro wrestling or the UFC. You don’t have to be into Puro to like FPR, the unique game play and customization options are more than enough to peak ones interest.