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

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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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            Last Updated on January 5, 2022

            33 Painless Ways to Save Money Now

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            33 Painless Ways to Save Money Now

            In a difficult economy, most of us are looking for ways to put more money in our pockets, but we don’t want to feel like misers. We don’t want to drastically alter our lifestyles either. We want it fast and we want it easy. Small savings can add up and big savings can feel like winning the lottery, just without all of the taxes.

            Some easy ways to save money:

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            1. Online rebate sites. Many online sites offer cash back rebates and online coupons as well. MrRebates and Ebates are two I like, but there are many others.
            2. Sign up for customer rewards. Many of your favorite stores offer customer rewards on products you already buy. Take advantage.
            3. Switch to compact fluorescent bulbs. The extra cost up front is worth the energy savings later on.
            4. Turn off power strips and electronic devices when not in use.
            5. Buy a programmable thermostat. Set it to lower the heat or raise the AC when you’re not home.
            6. Make coffee at home. Those lattes and caramel macchiatos add up to quite a bit of dough over the year.
            7. Switch banks. Shop around for better interest rates, lower fees and better customer perks. Don’t forget to look for free online banking and ease of depositing and withdrawing money.
            8. Clip coupons: Saving a couple dollars here and there can start to add up. As long as you’re going to buy the products anyway, why not save money?
            9. Pack your lunch. Bring your lunch to work with you a few days a week, rather than buy it.
            10. Eat at home. We’re busier than ever, but cooking meals at home is healthier and much cheaper than take-out or going out. Plus, with all of the freezer and pre-made options, it’s almost as fast as drive-thru.
            11. Have leftovers night. Save your leftovers from a few meals and have a “leftover dinner.” It’s a free meal!
            12. Buy store brands: Many generic or store brands are actually just as good as name brands and considerably cheaper.
            13. Ditch bottled water. Drink tap water if it’s good quality, buy a filter if it’s not. Get 
                a reusable water bottle and refill it.
              • Avoid vending machines: The items are usually over-priced.
              • Take in a matinee. Afternoon movie showings are cheaper than evening times.
              • Re-examine your cable bill. Cancel extra cable or satellite channels you don’t watch. Watch the “on demand” movie purchases too.
              • Use online bill pay. Most banks offer free online bill paying. Save on stamps and checks, and avoid late fees by automating bill payment.
              • Buy frequently used items in bulk. You get a lower per item price and eliminate extra trips to the store later on.
              • Fully utilize the library. Borrowing books is much cheaper than buying them, but in addition to books, most local libraries now lend movies and games.
              • Cancel magazine/newspaper subscriptions: Re-evaluate your subscriptions. Cancel those you don’t read and consider reading some of the other publications online.
              • Get rid of your land-line. Do you really need a land-line anymore if everyone in the family has a cell phone? Alternatively, look into using VOIP or getting a cheaper plan.
              • Better fuel efficiency. Check the air pressure in your tires, keep up with proper auto maintenance, and slow down. Driving even 5MPH slower will result in better fuel mileage.
              • Increase your deductibles. Increasing the insurance deductibles on your homeowners and auto insurance policies lowers premiums significantly. Just make sure you choose a deductible that you can afford should an emergency happen.
              • Choose lunch over dinner. If you do want to dine out occasionally, go at lunchtime rather than dinnertime. Lunch prices are usually cheaper.
              • Buy used:  Whether it’s something small like a vintage dress or a video game or something big like a car or furniture, consider buying it used. You can often get “nearly new” for a fraction of the cost.
              • Stick to the list. Make a list before you go shopping and don’t buy anything that’s not on the list unless it’s a once in a lifetime, killer deal.
              • Tame the impulse. Use a self-enforced waiting period whenever you’re tempted to make an unplanned purchase. Wait for a week and see if you still want the item.
              • Don’t be afraid to ask. Ask to have fees waived, ask for a discount, ask for a lower interest rate on your credit card.
              • Repair rather than replace. You can find directions on how to fix almost anything on the internet. Do your homework, and then bring out your inner handyman.
              • Trade with your neighbors. Borrow tools or equipment that you use infrequently and swap things like babysitting with your neighbors.
              • Swap online. Use sites like PaperBack Swap to trade books, music, and movies with others online. Also, look for local community sites like Freecycle where people give away items they no longer need.
              • Cut back on the meat. Try eating a one or two meatless meals every week or cut back on the meat portions. Meat is usually the most expensive part of the meal.
              • Comparison shop: Get in the habit of checking prices before you buy. See if you can get a better price at another store or look online.

              Remember that saving money is not about being cheap or stingy; it’s about putting money into your bank account rather than giving it to someone else. There are many ways to save money, some you’ve never thought of, and some that won’t appeal or apply to you. Just pick a few of the ideas that sound doable and watch the savings add up. Save big, save small, but save wherever you can.

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              Featured photo credit: Damir Spanic via unsplash.com

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