Not Just for Housing Anymore

When to Rent and When to Buy

Camping.  I haven’t been since I was eight years old on a trip with my brownie troop. I miss it though. I have fine memories of campfires, late night ghost stories, roasting hot dogs and sleeping in tents. I want to do it again soon.

In a few weeks I’ll be going camping again for the first time in decades. I’m really excited about it. A group of couples and our kids will be heading to Peace River campsite outside of Clewiston, Florida. We’re going to spend President’s Day weekend canoeing, eating smores, and snuggling in our sleeping bags.

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The problem is that since I haven’t been camping in nearly thirty years I don’t own the necessary equipment to do so. I also don’t anticipate that I will love camping so much that I’ll want to do it every other weekend or even every other month. So I am not really keen on the idea of buying all new camping gear just to use one time. It just doesn’t make sense to me.

Instead I looked into renting camping gear to save money. And what I found was astonishing.  There are a number of local stores that will rent me a tent, sleeping bags, portable grills, basically anything I would need for a successful camping trip. And it is a whole lot cheaper. On lowergear.com, a camping gear rental site I found I could rent a three person tent for up to three days for only $37. If I were to buy a tent outright it would easily cost me $200-300. Now that’s a good deal!

This whole idea of renting versus buying got me thinking about what else I could save money on. Take a look at all of the things you should consider renting instead of buying if you don’t plan to use it very often.

Tools

So everybody probably has a hammer, wrench and other basic tools. We use these tools often when we need to hang a picture, repair a piece of furniture or put together our kid’s latest toy. But what about a pressure washer or a power saw? These tools are used a lot less often and we probably could use the extra space in the garage they take up. Big box warehouses like Home Depot and Lowe’s allow customers to rent tools for a lot less than the cost of buying it brand new. For example you can rent a carpet cleaning machine from them for $18 for four hours. If you were going to buy one it would run you about $150 or more. Next time you want to tackle a home improvement project look into renting your tools before you run out and spend hundreds of dollars buying all the tools you’ll need to get the job done.

Bicycle

Most of the people in the U.S. aren’t getting much use out of their bicycles right now. There’s too much snow and it’s too darn cold out! For those of us that only take the occasional bike ride it might be more financially savvy to rent one. New bicycles are expensive, easily running you a couple hundred dollars. Instead look into rental companies like rentabikenow.com or bikeandroll.com. Simply choose your area and find the nearest rental location. You can even choose the type of bike you want to rent depending on if you are going mountain biking or just for a leisurely stroll around the city.

Designer Gowns

Unless you run in the same social circles as Donald Trump or President Obama you probably don’t have that many occasions that call for a tuxedo or ball gown. Next time you get invited to a fancy wedding or charity event consider renting your dress instead of buying a new one. Sites like renttherunway.com allow you to browse their selection of designer duds and rent that for a fraction of the price for four or eight days. They’ll ship you the gown and even send you an additional size free of charge! After your event simply mail the dress back using their pre-paid mailing packages. I found a Chloe dress that retailed for $595 that I could rent for $85.

Purses

Like dresses, you can rent a designer purse for considerably less than the cost of buying one. Instead of plunking down hundreds, maybe even thousands for the trendiest new designer handbag consider renting it for a season or special occasion. Websites like bagborroworsteal.com and handbagenvy.com rent out designer purses on a weekly, monthly or seasonal basis. I found a Louis Vuitton tote that I could rent for only $37 a week or $110 a month.  Shipping is free and the amounts of designer bag options are endless. This option will keep your wallet fuller and your closet less littered with all of last season’s bags.

Furniture

Mr. Patterson and I host a Superbowl party at our house nearly every year. It’s a lot of fun but we always have more guests than seats at the event. Renting furniture for special occasions like parties, weddings, or home staging is a great alternative to buying furniture you’ll only need for a short time.

Check out Cort.com or rentfurniture.com and browse their collections of bedroom, living room, dining tables and more. You can rent pieces for as little as a few days or as long as a few years. Packages generally run you a couple hundred dollars a month, plenty of time to throw a great party or sell your house.

This list is by no means an exhaustive one. You can rent virtually anything instead of buying it. The sole purpose being to save yourself some cash. Next time you need something and you know you only need it temporarily look up if renting it would be more cost effective.

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Keeping Money in Your Pocket,

Nancy Patterson


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