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7 Things You Should Rent Instead of Buy

7 Things You Should Rent Instead of Buy

The economic pressures we all face are becoming more apparent with more people looking at short-term rental options to cut the cost of purchasing an item they may not need to use often enough to justify the cost. The Huffington Post reports that this new trend has a ton of benefits – from saving money, to promoting sustainable practices.

According to Good Housekeeping ,making new products uses a huge amount of energy and resources; from petroleum products to wood, rubber, metals, minerals and more.

Continually buying new products that you only use occasionally takes up precious space in your home, contributing to clutter and the stress of having to maintain the product.

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According to One Green Planet, it is better for the environment to rent instead of buying whenever possible. People should always be encouraged to reuse or repurpose items to ensure a greener planet.

Here are 7 items you should rent instead of buying:

1. Tools

Most of us need some pretty basic tools for quick fix jobs around the house but do you really need a full shed of power tools you never use?

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According to Yahoo Finance the Home Depot rents out a variety of tools for the occasional home repair or maintenance project. For instance, I can rent a 20-inch gas chainsaw from my local Home Depot for $63 a day — a good value, considering that buying one from the store can cost from about $200 to $570.

United Rentals also has over 40,000 pieces of equipment available for rent so be sure to check them out if you are looking for something in particular.

2. Video Games

Not only do video games cost an arm and a leg they also cause clutter and take up space in your home. Rather than owning a million games you never play, it may be more cost effective just to rent the ones you will play. Check out sites like GameFly or Gamerang to rent video games. The service is similar to Netflix and the companies offer large libraries of games to choose from.

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3. Parking Spaces

Driving into work everyday can become a massive hassle if you are continuously needing to find a park or paying for expensive garage parking. Did you know that people rent out car spaces they don’t need to use in your city? Check out sites like ParkAtMyHouse or Parking Panda to see a full list of rentable parking spaces available saving you precious time and money.

4. Dresses and Formal Wear

You need an expensive designer dress for a fancy party but can’t really afford to buy one? Lucky for you there are now many online renting sites catering the need for short-term formal wear. Sites like Rent the Runway allow users to borrow dresses for 3-5 days for as little as 10% of the retail value. They even send two sizes in case the first doesn’t fit. Lending Luxury also rents out dresses and accessories by top designers, many for 90% off the retail price.

5. Textbooks

The expense of buying textbooks you use for one semester is pretty outstanding, especially when money is already hard to come by. Fortunately there are websites like Craigslist where you may be able to find cheaper second hand books. Alternatively you can rent textbooks for a cheap price from Chegg.com. According to Good Housekeeping, the service is quick and simple, and boasts free shipping on returning books. Plus, Chegg plants a tree for every book users rent, sell or buy. So far more than one million have been planted! Rental costs on Chegg range from about 10% of list price to about 30%.

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6. Sports and Fitness Equipment

We all know someone who has an entire room of fitness equipment – a treadmill, a cross-trainer, some expensive weight machine…and they never use it. They may have purchased the items with good intentions on getting fit and healthy but just didn’t find the motivation to keep up with it.

The best scenario here would have been to rent the item rather than buy it. According to Good Housekeeping it is not a bad idea to try before you buy, to make sure you really want to pursue an activity before you invest hundreds of dollars in it.

Check out your local Yellow Pages for great fitness equipment rental suppliers.

7. Camping Gear

Although we wish everyday was a holiday, this unfortunately isn’t so. You may want to go camping with the family a few times a year, but before you spend hundreds of dollars on camping equipment, check out your local camping shop to see if they offer rentals as many now do. Websites like Eastern Mountain Sports  or Rent Your Tent also offer good rental deals for camping equipments that won’t leave you high and dry.

Featured photo credit: Janne Hellsten via flickr.com

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Published on October 8, 2018

13 Incredibly Useful Tactics to Help You to Stick to Your Family Budget

13 Incredibly Useful Tactics to Help You to Stick to Your Family Budget

Are you having trouble sticking to a family budget? You aren’t alone.

Budgeting is difficult. Creating one is hard enough, but actually sticking to it is a whole other issue. Things come up. Desires and cravings happen. And the next thing you know, budgets break.

So how can you stick to a family budget? Here are 13 tips to make it easier.

1. Choose a major category each month to attack

As the saying goes, “Rome wasn’t built in a day.” With that in mind, one approach to help you get into the habit of sticking to a budget is simply starting slow.

Spend too much on Starbucks runs, eat out too often, and have an out-of-this-world grocery bill? Choose one bad habit and attack.

By choosing one behavior to focus on, you’ll prevent yourself from being overwhelmed. You’ll also experience small victories, which help you gain positive momentum. This momentum can then carry over into your overall budget.

2. Only make major purchases in the morning

If you’re making large purchases in the evening, there’s a good chance you’re doing so after a long day and you’re probably tired.

Why does this matter? Because our judgement tends to be off when tired – our willpower is compromised.

Instead, only make major purchasing decisions in the morning when you’re energized and refreshed. Your brain will be firing on all cylinders and your resolve will be high. You’re less likely to give in and settle at this point.

3. Don’t go to the grocery store hungry

Have trouble with impulse buys at the grocery store? If so, there’s a good chance you’re going grocery shopping while hungry.

The problem here is that when you’re hungry, everything looks good. So you’re more likely to make split decisions on things that aren’t on your grocery list.

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Instead, make sure you eat prior to your grocery store trip. Then take your list, along with your full stomach, and go shopping. Notice how food doesn’t look quite so good when you’re not fighting cravings.

4. Read one-star reviews for products

Is there a product you just have to have (but maybe not really)? Check out the one-star reviews.

By reading all the horrible reviews, you may be able to basically trick yourself into deciding that the product isn’t worth your time and money.

Next thing you know, you didn’t make the purchase, you saved the money, and you feel good about the decision.

5. Never buy anything you put in an online shopping cart until the next day

If you are making a purchase online, it’s typically a two-step process. First, you click “Add to Cart” and then you go in to review your cart and pay.

The problem is that there not typically much reviewing during step two. It’s generally click pay and there you go. However, this is the perfect point to stop for reflection.

Once you add to your cart, your best bet is to step away until the next day. Let the item sit there and grow cold, so to speak.

This gives you a night to “sleep on it” and decide if you really want and need to spend that money. If you wake up the next day and still find the purchase viable, then perhaps it’s time to go for it.

6. Don’t save your credit card info on any site you shop on

One of the other pitfalls of shopping online is that fact that most sites ask you to save your credit card information.

While the sites will frame it as a method of convenience, the truth is they know you’ll spend more money in the long run if your credit card information is saved.

The “convenience” takes away one last decision-making point in the purchasing process. True, it’s a pain to get out your credit card and enter the information every time. But guess what? That’s the point. If that inconvenience helps you stay on budget, then it’s worth it. Which leads into the next tip.

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7. Tape an “impulse buy” reminder to your credit card

Credit cards make spending much easier than cash. When you spend cash, you can literally see your wallet emptying. A credit card comes out, then goes back in. No harm, no foul.

That’s why it’s a good idea to tape a reminder to your credit card. Customize a message that is something along the lines of “do you really need this?” or “does it fit the budget?”

That way when you pull out the card, you get one last reminder to help you question your decision and stick to your budget.

8. Only use gift cards to shop on Amazon

Amazon is probably the easiest place online to blow money. It’s just so easy to click and buy. However, one way you can slow the process down is buy only using gift cards. Here’s how it works.

If you plan on making a purchase on Amazon, go to the grocery store and purchase a pre-loaded Amazon gift card of the proper amount. There’s no convenience fee, so you literally pay for the money you’ll spend.

Now take that gift card home and load it to your Amazon account. There’s your money to spend.

Why does this help? It makes you have to purposely go to the score and purchase the card in order to purchase the item. That’s a pretty deliberate thing that takes some time, commitment, and thought.

This process will effectively kill the impulse buy.

9. Budget using cash and envelopes

As mentioned earlier, it’s a lot harder to spend cash than swipe a credit card. You can take this even farther by using only cash, and separating that cash by budget category.

Create an envelope for each category and stick the cash in there at the beginning of each month. When the envelope is empty, no more spending on that category, unless you borrow from another (be careful of that approach).

This can be pretty helpful for people that have a hard time following transactions in their checking account, or keeping a budgeting spreadsheet.

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The envelopes simplify the tracking process, leaving no room for error. Nothing hides from you because it’s tangible in the envelopes in front of you.

10. Join a like-minded group

Making the decision to stick to something like budgeting is difficult. It takes long-term commitment.

You’re going to feel weak sometimes. And sometimes you may fail. That said, support from others can help strengthen resolve.

Support can come from a spouse or a friend, but they won’t always have the exact same goal in mind. That’s why it’s a good idea to join a support group that’s likeminded.

No need to pay here, as there are tons of free communities that fit the bill online.

For example, reddit has multiple subreddits that deal with budgeting and frugal living. You can follow, subscribe, and get active in those communities.

This will open your eyes to new tips and strategies, keep your goal fresh on your mind, and help you realize there are others dealing with the same struggles and being successful.

11. Reward Yourself

When you set a budget, it’s usually with a large goal in mind. Maybe you want to be debt free, or perhaps you want to see $10,000 in your savings account.

Whatever the case, the end goal is great, but the end is often far away, making it hard to see the end of the tunnel.

With that in mind, it’s a good idea to set mini-goals along the way. This helps you still look at the big picture but have something that’s attainable in the short-term to help with momentum.

But don’t stop there – set rewards for yourself when you reach that small goal. Maybe it’s an extra meal out. Or a new pair of shoes.

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Whatever the case, this gives you something in the near future to look forward to, which can help with the fatigue that can result in pursuing long-term goals.

12. Take the Buddhist approach

You don’t have to be a Buddhist to recognize some of the wisdom in the teachings. One of the tenets of the philosophy involves accepting that we can’t have everything we want. And that’s okay.

Sometimes you won’t feel good. Sometimes you’ll have cravings. You can’t deny them. But you can recognize them, accept them, and let them pass by. Then you move on.

Apply this to the times you want to do things that will break your budget. You’re going to have the desire to eat out when you shouldn’t. You might want to stay out and spend too much at happy hour with your work friends.

The feelings will come. Recognize them, accept them, but let them go.

13. Set up automatic drafts to savings

If you wait until you’ve spent all your budgeted money to deposit money into savings, guess what? You probably aren’t going to put any money into savings.

It’s too easy to see that as extra money and end up using it to treat yourself.

Instead, set up automatic savings withdrawals. That way, the money is marked and gone before you can even think about it. It becomes a non-issue. It’s no longer “extra.” It’s just savings.

Conclusion

Sticking to a budget can be difficult. No one is denying that.

However, if you can do a few things to set yourself up for success, and put some practices in place to curb impulse buys, then you can (and will!) be successful sticking to your family budget.

Featured photo credit: rawpixel via unsplash.com

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