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5 Things You Should Rent Instead of Buy (And 10 Things You Didn’t Know You Could Rent)

5 Things You Should Rent Instead of Buy (And 10 Things You Didn’t Know You Could Rent)

​​I ​know​…ownership is 9/10ths of the law. It’s really nice to know something belongs to you. But does it always make sense? Financially? Not really. In fact, there are many things that you should rent instead of buy. Including some things you didn’t even know you could rent. Obviously there are also things you should buy, so let’s talk about all of it. Let’s start with what you should be renting…

1. Your Home

Rent your house

    Buying a home is part of the “American Dream”. And there is nothing wrong with doing it…sometimes, but many times it doesn’t make sense. You’ve heard that renting is like throwing your money away. You may have heard that your home should be your biggest asset. Fortunately for you, neither one of those things are true. Sure, it’s great to buy your own home. It’s your home. You can feel proud to be a home owner and you can do whatever you will to the house, but wait until the time is right. The are plenty of times when renting makes the most sense. Don’t fall into the trap of thinking that it’s never a good idea. Here are a few times you should consider renting instead of buying:

    1. If you plan to move soon. This is a no-brainer, but it must be said. You aren’t wasting your money by renting, if you’re planning to move soon. It makes sense to rent for now. You can always buy later when you get where you’re going. Renting will be much less stressful for a temporary situation.
    2. If your market is inflated. A little inflation never hurt anybody, but some housing markets are insane. If your living in an area with extremely inflated housing prices, you can expect that bubble to pop eventually and you may be stuck with a mortgage twice the size of your house’s actual value.
    3. If you’re saving to buy a home. Don’t rush into a bad loan because you don’t have enough money for a down-payment. Just because you can find a “no money down” loan, doesn’t mean you should take it. The interest will eat you alive. It’s better to save for a while and make a large down-payment.
    4. If you don’t want to worry. Too often, we get caught up thinking that these decisions are only about the math and we forget that money is an emotional thing. If you don’t want to worry about maintenance or taking care of your own home, it’s perfectly fine to rent. Do what works for you.

    I didn’t cover every single scenario that could possibly exist, but I did cover the most common ones. Just know that renting is an option. You’re not throwing your money away and you can always buy later.

    2. Your Boat

    Rent your boat

      A boat is a sinkhole for maintenance and repair costs. It almost always makes more sense to rent a boat, especially if you’re only using it a few times per year. Paying the docking fees, maintenance costs and repairs will be enough to make you consider renting a boat when you need it. If you do use it more than a few times throughout the year, consider getting together with a few families and co-owning a boat. This is common practice for private jets and yachts, but it’s worth considering for smaller purchases as well, like a pontoon boat or a speed boat. Everyone will benefit from sharing the cost of owning a boat and it will actually get used on more than a few 3 day weekends throughout the year. Exception: If you’re a fisherman (professional or “up-and-coming”), you may want to consider buying a boat. Small fishing boats are affordable and the maintenance costs are reasonable. You could consider this the exception to the rule, but if you aren’t fishing all the time, it could still be better to rent.

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      3. Your Tools

      Rent your tools

        Obviously, if you’re a mechanic or a craftsman, buy tools. For the rest of us, it might make sense to rent them. There is no need to buy a tool for one project if you know you’re never going to use it again, no matter how cool you feel when you show it to your friends. Tools can be a sinkhole for your money, especially if you shop for tools, like you shop for groceries. Before any new tool purchase, you should ask yourself if you really need to buy it or if it would be better to rent it. Renting tools also gives you the option to insure them and not take on the responsibility of worrying about what happens if you forget that you super amazing laser-sight skill saw isn’t supposed to cut through steel. Home Depot and Lowe’s are just a couple of the places that offer tool rental.

        4. Your Entertainment

        Rent your entertainment

          Movies and video games are cheap to rent, but expensive to buy. How often do we buy a movie, only to watch it once? How often do we buy a $60 video game, only to beat it a week later and basically stop playing it? If you plan to watch the movie or play the game all the time, buy it. Otherwise, just rent it. If you must buy movies or video games, check out some Black Friday deals at electronics stores. Just wait for the crowds and the crazies to get their TVs and iPads, then leisurely stroll into the store, several hours later, and take advantage of the cheap movies and games that often get overlooked. But that’s only if you must buy. With places like Game Fly, NetFlix and RedBox, you really should be renting.

          5. Your Sports

          Rent your sports

            From water skis and snowboards to tennis rackets and scuba gear. If you’re not using it all the time, consider renting. I know, your arsenal of sporting gear from every recreational activity ever invented may look cool, but it’s wasting your money. And while it will save you some money, it also won’t clutter your garage and your storage room. Generally when you’re close to the sunny lake or the snowy slopes, you can find a place to rent some gear; however, shop around, because the places right next to all the recreation are usually the most expensive. Just driving a few miles outside of the area could easily save you half (or more) on the price of your sports equipment. Just always be sure to read the policy on “return condition” and what happens if something breaks.

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            Things You Didn’t Know You Could Rent

            OK, I admit, you may have actually know about some of these, but if you knew about all of them, you should really find a hobby. Here are 10 things you may want to consider renting that you probably didn’t know you could…

            1. Dresses

            With sites like Rent the Runway and Lending Luxury, it’s easy and affordable to rent a dress instead of buying it. In those times when you’re only going to wear it once, why let it take up the closet space?

            2. Textbooks

            Go to Book Renter or Chegg to find cheap textbooks for rent. Book Renter even offers free shipping. Renting text books makes sense most of the time, since you’re likely never going to open the book again after your class is over.

            3. Camera Lenses

            Lens Rentals and Borrow Lenses allow you to rent camera lenses. It’s great for one-time needs. You can also use them to try out an expensive lens before you fork over the money.

            4. Parking Spaces

            Just Park lets you search for parking spaces in crowded cities and rent them straight from the site. If you have extra space in a busy city, you may want to consider putting your parking space up for rent.

            5. Caskets

            Yes, you can rent a casket. Funeral homes now provide many options to save people money…this is one of them. How does it work? The body is placed in a simple wooden box, then placed inside a fancy, expensive casket for the funeral. Once the funeral is over, the body is buried in the simple wooden box. Weird? Or convenient? You decide.

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            6. Dogs

            Usually, this is just weird. However, there are time when it makes sense. Borrow My Doggy allows you to rent a dog when you need a companion. If you really need a companion, you may just want to buy a dog, but you do have the option to rent if the need arises. You pay an annual subscription fee to be able to search the list of available dogs and schedule your “Welcome Woof”.

            7. Wives

            This is borderline sexist and technically, you’re not actually “renting a wife”. Rent-A-Wife is a maid service that claims to let you “rent a wife”, but it’s really just a hired hand…that happens to only be women. Yeah, I’m not sure why that’s OK either.

            8. Friends

            This may sound sad at first, but it’s actually a neat idea. Rent a Friend lets you rent someone to attend an event with you, introduce you to new people or just to hangout. It’s different, but now there is a little part of you that wishes you came up with the idea. (It may be a really tiny part of you)

            9. Jeans

            One trend that’s becoming especially popular in Europe, according to The Wall Street Journal, is jean rental. Right now, you can rent jeans on a 12-month lease. You simply put down 20 euros as a deposit and then pay 5 euros a month until your lease is up. Then you can either buy them for an additional 20 euros, exchange them for another pair or simply return them.

            10. Christmas Trees

            If you want a real tree for Christmas, but you don’t want to mess with driving to the farm, chopping it down and loading it on top of your freshly washed SUV, you can just rent one. The Living Christmas Company will let you rent one of their trees and they will deliver it right to your home. The tree remains potted, so you’re required to water and care for it. As long as the tree is still green and healthy when they pick it up, you get your deposit back.

            Things You Should Buy

            Now to steer away from renting wives and caskets. Here’s some less weird stuff. If you see the words “rent-to-own”, you should run away. Don’t do it. Renting to own is a great way to pay at least triple the normal price. Here are 3 things that people often get sucked into renting to own:

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            1. Furniture

            Never rent-to-own furniture. You pay “new” prices, except you keep paying…every month. It’s better to finance new furniture (though that’s not the best idea either) than buying from a rent-to-own store. It’s best to buy slightly used. Let someone else take the massive depreciation that happens in the first few months of owning new furniture.

            2. Washer/Dryer

            Don’t do it. You’re better off shopping in the classifieds or on Craig’s List for a nice used set, rather than paying 10 times the price to rent one. If you must have a brand new set, it’s usually better to just go buy them, but not from a rent-to-own store.

            3. Electronics

            Don’t rent-to-own, just own. Shop around to find the best deals, but renting to own is not the way. On top of the high prices, what happens when that TV or stereo stops working? They aren’t going to pay for it, you are. There are too many great places to buy electronics to settle for renting to own. There are things you should rent and things you should buy, but most importantly, do your research. Figure out which one makes more sense for you and your situation. If you are thinking about buying something, first ask yourself if it could and should be rented.

            Featured photo credit: AngiAesthetic via flickr.com

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            Kalen Bruce

            Military, Writer

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            Last Updated on July 4, 2019

            25 Killer Sites For Free Online Education

            25 Killer Sites For Free Online Education

            Whether you’re five or ninety five, the internet has a lot to offer. Particularly when the topic is education, the resources on the internet are endless.

            Best of all, many high quality sites are completely free. From history to coding, excellent free online education awaits on the following 25 sites.

            1. Coursera

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              Coursera is a website that partners with universities and organizations around the world. This brings a wide variety of topics and perspectives to one searchable database.

              Coursera is a powerful tool for free online education, and includes courses from many top universities, museums and trusts. This gives the site an extremely wide range of in-depth courses.

              Coursera is extremely useful if you’re looking to study many different topics, or want courses from different schools and groups.

              2. Khan Academy

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                Partnering with many post secondary schools, Khan Academy offers a useable, well organized interface. Also curating many courses from around the web, Khan Academy offers impressive depth on many different subjects.

                Among the more well known educational sites, Khan Academy is also incredibly useable, which may make it easier to keep learning goals.

                3. Open Culture Online Courses

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                  If you are struggling to find exactly the material you are looking for, try Open Culture’s listing of free online education courses. The page highlights 1000 lectures, videos and podcasts from universities around the world. The site features a lot of material found only on universities private sites, all in easy to browse categories. This means you can find hundreds of university courses, without having to visit and search each university’s own site.

                  Open Culture’s list features courses from England, Australia, Wales and many state universities around the United States. A very helpful resource for finding many courses in one area of study.

                  4. Udemy 

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                    Udemy’s free courses are similar in concept to Coursera’s but additionally allows users to build custom courses from lessons.

                    Working with many top professors and schools, the site mixes the customizable platform of other sites with a heavy emphasis on top quality content. This is another site however, that mixes free and paid content.

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                    5. Academic Earth

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                      Another site with courses from many different schools is Academic Earth. Much like the three sites above, Academic Earth brings together top notch courses from many different sources, and focuses on offering a wide variety of subjects.

                      Academic Earth lists courses by subject and school, so it might be easier to find what you’re looking for.

                      6. edX

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                        Another great option for free online education is edX. Also bringing together courses from many different schools, the site has impressive, quality information for everyone. edX covers a great range of topics.

                        7. Alison

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                          Unlike the previous sites on this lists, Alison is a free education site offering certification in some areas. Alison offers courses mainly in business, technology, and health, but also includes language learning courses.

                          It’s a great option if users need certification for their learning as Alison also offers school curriculum courses.

                          8. iTunesU Free Courses

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                            A very convenient place for free online education is iTunesU, because it integrates seamlessly with your iPod, or any app-ready Apple mobile device. On iPad, iPhone, or iPod touch, users download the iTunesU app.

                            Desktop users can access  iTunesU on the upper right hand corner of the iTunes Store. iTunesU is also convenient because the store is categorized much like iTunes.

                            Users can search learning materials in many different ways, including genre and topic. However, courses are often a mix of free podcasts or videos, and paid content.

                            ITunesU does include courses on a pretty wide scope of topics, but does not integrate with Android, Google or Windows mobile devices.

                            9. Stanford Online

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                              Your hub for all the online offerings from Stanford University, Stanford Online offers self-paced and session based courses. While Coursera features some courses from Stanford, many classes are only available via other hosts. Some courses require iTunes, but most are completed in your web browser.

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                              Stanford Online is a great site for high quality courses, though the topics are somewhat limited compared to sites partnered with more than one school.

                              10. Harvard Extension

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                                Like Stanford Online, Harvard Extension features free online education courses from Harvard only. This is another excellent source for top notch course material, though the course variety is less rich than multi-school sites.

                                Additionally, Harvard Extension allows you to search for courses by professional certificate. This makes it much easier if your online education goal includes certification.

                                11. Open Yale Courses

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                                  Open Yale Courses echoes Harvard Extension and Stanford Online, in that it offers only courses from Yale. While the site is similarly limited to topics taught at the school, Open Yale Courses offers a lot of videos of actual campus lectures. The availability of videos makes the site a great option if you’re looking for quality courses, but learn better by watching than by reading.

                                  12. UC Berkeley Class Central

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                                    Much like the other schools on this list, UC Berkeley has a variety of free online education options. The school has slightly fewer courses than the schools above, but includes some supplementary lectures, webcasts and RSS Feeds, making it easy to keep up with the topics you choose.

                                    13. MIT OpenCourseWare

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                                      Similarly, MIT offers a variety of free courses. The school has a comparable number of courses to the schools above, plus includes very in-depth course materials on the subjects available. MIT also offers free RSS feeds, a convenient way to continue learning.

                                      14. Carnegie Mellon Open Learning Initiative

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                                        Carnegie Mellon’s free online education site is comparable with the other school’s on this list, however, Open Learning Initiative also covers a smaller range of topics. But for the topics that are covered impressive, in-depth material is available.

                                        15. Codecademy

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                                          Codecademy is a website dedicated specifically to teaching coding. Where other coding sites follow an example/practice session workflow, Codecademy includes a live practice window. This means you can practice coding while still viewing the lesson material.

                                          The courses at Codecademy are well written and easy to follow and the website is organized very nicely. Codecademy features a centralized dashboard where you can monitor your progress, plus organizes lessons into complete modules. This lets you learn an entire language without needing to pick the next course manually.

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                                          16. Code

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                                            Code is another website focused on coding and app writing. A site with high quality courses, Code also features learning options for kids.

                                            In addition to kid friendly courses, Code offers free online education classes on a wide variety of technology topics. These classes include app writing, robotics and Javascript.

                                            Most of the courses are also geared in a such a way that they can be useful in a classroom setting. This makes Code a great resource for harder to find coding topics, as well as various learning settings.

                                            17. University of London Podcasts

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                                              The podcast page on the University of London website is another great source for free education. While the courses are limited to podcasts, the site features podcasts from it’s own campus, as well as eleven universities in and around London. This gives learners a wide base of topics and lectures, but still ensures in-depth material.

                                              18. University of Oxford Podcasts

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                                                Similar to the University of London, the University of Oxford features many different podcasts. Most are public lecture series or lectures from visiting professors, with several different recordings available.

                                                The advantage to this particular site is that podcasts are organized into series, making it easy to subscribe to multiple lectures on one topic. Another good site for thoroughly in-depth lectures.

                                                19. BBC Podcasts

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                                                  For the more casual learner, the BBC offers a wide variety of podcasts on many different topics. Most podcasts are updated weekly, and focus on everything from finance, to sports, to current events.

                                                  Through the World Service line of podcasts, there are also many in different languages. The focus of these podcasts are less in-depth and theory based, which may be more accessible to the average person.

                                                  20. TED-Ed

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                                                    Another great destination for more general learning is TED-Ed. From the same people that brought you the all encompassing, motivational web series, comes a site chocked full of educational videos. Most include impressive animation, and all are ten minutes long or less.

                                                    Not only is TED-Ed an excellent site for the curious, it also includes supplemental materials and quizzes on the videos. This makes the site extremely useful in formal education settings, as well as in entertaining ways to brush up on new discoveries and topics.

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                                                    21. LessonPaths

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                                                      LessonPaths is another great tool for those looking for a more usable and convenient way to access learning material. On this site, users create link playlists of their favorite learning materials from other sites. Users then rank these collections, making it easy to find many different high quality, accessible sources on a given topic.

                                                      22. Memrise

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                                                        Another impressive free online education site offering ease of use and convenience is Memrise. Available both on desktop and as an app, Memrise is a particularly powerful tool if you are studying a language. The site encompasses many other topics as well, though some of the course material is user generated content.

                                                        Part of what makes Memrise special is their integration of games into the learning materials, mixing learning with entertainment.

                                                        23. National Geographic Kids

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                                                          The kids site for National Geographic is another site that makes free online education applicable for younger users. For those looking for kid friendly education, a large variety of games, puzzles, videos and photos keeps kids interested on this site.

                                                          National Geographic Kids doesn’t organize learning into courses, making materials available by topic and medium instead. This makes National Geographic Kids a good option for those looking for a more casual learning environment.

                                                          24. Fun Brain

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                                                            Fun Brain is another good option for kids who want to learn online, but focuses on games and fun puzzles. Particularly focused on math and reading, Fun Brain’s game based approach can be valuable if the child in question struggles to pay attention.

                                                            Fun Brain offers rewards and challenges as well, and is another site aimed at a casual learning experience for kids K-8.

                                                            25. Whyville

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                                                              Similar to the sites for kids free online education is Whyville a destination for preteen online learning. The site includes a variety of social features, with a focus on learning materials geared for young teens.

                                                              Whyville also mixes in educational games, to make the site a well rounded option for kids too old for simple games, but too young for heavy reading based material.

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                                                              Featured photo credit: Dai KE via unsplash.com

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