Just had my discovery flight and I’ve been wanting to go for my PPL for a while, just not sure I can justify the 15k or so investment in my current financial situation. Would it be really bad to spread my lesson over a period of a few years?

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Not recommended, usually the longer the total timeframe the higher the number of hours you need to complete it. Traditionally the cheapest way to do it is joining a club with a pro-Bono instructor and a an old C150 or similar.

Don’t think there are many around me unfortunately. I think the cheapest I can find is an old piper at a total cost of 190 or so an hour (NJ)

That will definitely increase the total cost because you will have to relearn things more often - flying regularly really helps the concepts stick. But, if you really want to get started and are fine spending more in total if it means your yearly spend is lower, sure.
My recommendation would be to fly as regularly as possible, at least once a week if possible, twice a week is better.
Don’t do what I’m doing (spreading my training over ten years because my job really doesn’t allow me to fly regularly). If you’re going to spread it out, make a plan to fly and study regularly.

I don’t have the money atm :( can’t justify the cost of this hobby rn. For now I practice using home sims and in the future I’ll pull the triger

Agree not to spread out. Will take much longer and cost a lot more. I can’t imagine just flying once a week or less and getting it.

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