|Don't rule out fractional ownership.
I was a part of a fractional group at ZBB in a Cherokee and my experience was fantastic. I basically bought a share in a corporation and the asset of the corporation was the aircraft. It cost me an up front capital payment then the monthly fees covered annual insurance /and hangar rent / hangar expenses. The hourly fees covered, fuel, engine reserve / hull damage, and maintenance fees. An AME was on call if we needed one, and it was billed to the corporation and then if there were any overages the partners had to come up with the money, but that was never the case while I was there. Not to say it couldn't happen but it didn't for me.
In a nut shell it cost approx $5000 for a 1/10 th share up front, $95.00 Per month, and $60.00 per hour.. So if you flew 2 hours a month minimum You are cheaper than renting from a School. Plus with the engine reserve and maintenance fund, you basically were getting a zero time engine aircraft, cause the fund always stays with the share if you decide to sell it.. For me it was cheaper than renting to acquire the hours, cause I managed to sell the share for what I paid for it.
Insurance for the plane is a bit of an issue, and you can go a couple of ways, buying all risk insurance can be costly because you have to insure to the lowest common denominator, so if you get a guy that wants to use it as a training aircraft to get his license, he's essentially a Zero time pilot and the insurance would be really expensive, then if you have multiple partners in our case 10, it also increases your costs. So our solution was to buy liability insurance, and then self insure the hull for collision or damage. That can only be done if everyone agrees to rules regarding damage and payment for damages should they occur. There was almost sufficient funds in the insurance fund when I was a partner to buy a used plane with an expired engine, and then use the engine fund to overhaul the engine. So in a nutshell I wasn't concerned. But then there always is the wild card, that something goes wrong and you are left holding the bag..
I think it comes down to what do you want to do with your license. If its simply a PPL and hobby flying, a school rental might be a better option, but if you intend on something longer term and travel for longer periods avoiding those 4 hour minimums going for the elusive $100 hamburger or pie, then the fractional option is something that shouldn't be ruled out.
Just my $.02 based on my experience.. Go meet the guy with the Cherokee or the Champ and see how its structured then do the math and work it out. You will figure it out..