People spend money like fish swim in the water, it just comes natural to them, they don’t think twice about it. I can see my monthly credit card bill to figure that doozy out. But how much money do you think people spend on crap that they don’t need? Better yet, how much money do people spend on BUYING crap that they could be RENTING instead?
Seriously, there are about a dozen things in mind that much better off being rented then bought…let’s face it people, the American dream of “owning” all of our belongings has long been overrated. Stop reading those generic finance articles that talk about how the evils of renting and leasing, because often times there is a perfectly logical and financially sound reason to do so. In fact, I’m going to give you 5 items that you should always consider renting or leasing prior to buying outright, so pay attention!
I find it incredibly ridiculous that people buy DVD’s, I really do. Do you remember those VHS collections that people used to own? I was one of them. I amassed a rather large and expensive collection of all of my favorite movies, hell I used to enjoy sorting them by genre and title, then poof…the damn thing is a relic and I don’t even own a device that can play them anymore. In the music industry you saw the same thing happen with the 8 tracks, cassette tapes, and now CD’s. The difference between movies and songs is that one is typically 2 hours long and probably gets viewed once every couple years. Do you really need to spend $25 on a movie when you can rent it for $3? Not to mention all the content that Netflix and Amazon are buying up, chances are that movie (and 1,000 others like it) will probably be available with your $8 monthly subscription fee at some point.
Honestly, I learned my lesson the hard way, several times over. Buying power tools is a huge waste of money for the average person. Yeah I know one of you out there prides him or herself on being the next Bob Villa, but for most of us we don’t need to own a power washer let alone a buzz saw. Tools are expensive, and realistically they only get used a few times in your life. If you need a power washer, or a blower, then just go and rent one for a few measly bucks at your local hardware store. Once you figure out the cost of buying, paying taxes, the hassle and money to maintain it, you will find that a simply rental will do the trick.
Ughhh…talk about learning yet another lesson. I remember the first time I went camping, I was convinced I need a 4 person tent for just myself, and a waterproof case for possible canoeing, a sleep bag, air mattress, power inflator, etc. It’s been 8 years since I took that first trip, I’ve now been camping twice in my life. That means the $600 I spent on all of those various items can be divided over two trips, which means I spent $300 to camp each time (not including grounds and parks fees). And they call that “roughing it”. Renting some basic camping equipment for those of us suburbanites is by far the best option.
I know this might sound unusual, but I’m not advocating for car leasing, rather car renting! I know this might not work for everyone, and since I live in metro Detroit which is the epicenter of suburban sprawl it doesn’t work quite as well here, but those of you in densely populated areas can really benefit from companies like ZipCar. This company allows people to rent by the hour within a close proximity. There is a particular college campus near me that has seen this concept flourish. There has actually been so much success with temporarily renting vehicles that sites have sprung up that allow individuals the ability to rent their own cars out to their peers. If you’re on vacation and don’t have plans or need your car it can be a great way to save a few bucks.
Handbags & Purses
My wife would disagree with this one, she likes to make her way to the Coach outlet twice a year, once for a summer bag and another time for a winter bag. Part of me is happy that she goes to the outlet mall to make the purchases, where they are just a little cheaper, but the other part of me wonders why she has literally a dozen bags in mint condition but needs two new ones every year regardless. I once tried selling her dozen bags as part of a package deal on Ebay and she flipped out on me. She said I had grossly undervalued them, and she said it wasn’t worth it to give them up at such a low price since they had cost her A LOT more when she bought them. Three years later and none of them have been used since. These days you can find websites, and even a growing number of stores that will rent out accessories of this nature. This is an area you will literally pay pennies on the dollar, especially if you want retire a purse or bag every couple months.
Honestly, I could think of another 5 that are no-brainers, but the one’s above are items that I have already learned from real life experience. I think more people are starting to jump into the “rental movement” as they see the growing financial benefit. That’s why companies like Rent-A-Center are popping up everywhere. The average person has their mobile phone for less than 1 year, but they still think it’s beneficial to buy a new one each time…I just can’t understand why. Whether it’s clothing, lodging, or even a new television, stop and think about how long you plan on having this item and why you “need” to buy it rather than rent.