Last week, I wrote about why it’s not always a bad thing to spend more money on some purchases. When pointing out the benefits of investing in quality products that you’ll use over and over again, it’s easy to see why you should fork over a few extra pennies for purchases such as footwear, cars, and home improvements.
But what about the money we spend on quality items that we won’t be using again and again? What about those special, one-time purchases that life sometimes requires?
The simple solution is to forgo making a purchase in lieu of renting the item. Not only will you save a significant amount of money, but you’ll also free up your closet from mountains of unnecessary clutter. While it may be a buyer’s market in today’s real estate world, it’s certainly always a renter’s paradise when it comes to these items:
- Tools. Last summer, I needed to do a complete demo of a concrete walkway on my property. Two days (and an aching back) into my sledgehammer bonanza, I realized that it would be so much easier if I just had a jack hammer to do the dirty work for me. A quick trip to my local home improvement store had me demoing to my heart’s content using a rented electric jack hammer. I saved time, energy, and money by renting the heavy-duty tools I needed for this one-time project. The only caveat with tools is that if you’ll be using a certain tool over and over again such as a hammer, level, or cordless drill, you should definitely take last week’s message to heart: invest in quality tools one time to avoid unnecessary replacements in the future!
- Special occasion attire. Operas, symphonies, weddings. All of these events require a certain type of formal attire that may not be readily accessible in your own closet. Before you head off to your local upscale retailer and plunk down a cool $500 for a designer gown or tux, consider renting these items. A quick Google search will bring up a plethora of rental options that will in turn save you a plethora of dollars. In addition to attire, you should also rent any necessary party supplies, decor, and/or service items you may need for your next soiree if you’ll be playing the role of host or hostess.
- Textbooks. Planned obsolescence has a hand in far more than technology-based products. It’s also a key player in the textbook market. Considering that you may not be able to sell back your book at the end of the semester and that you’re lucky to get a fraction of its original cost back even if you can, it makes much more sense to rent your textbooks whenever possible. As with the special occasion items listed above, a quick Google search will give you information about a breadth of textbook rental companies through which to spend your hard-earned dollars.
- Bicycles. If you’re an avid/daily cyclist as I am, renting a bicycle wouldn’t be your best option (however, it is yet another item you should invest in!). If you’re a casual rider, vacationing, or simply yearning for an alternate form of exercise one weekend, bicycle rental is for you. In many major cities, there are bike loaner programs that are effortless except for swiping your debit/credit card. These programs also handle all required maintenance, so you can pedal away with ease.
- Caskets. Yes, you read that correctly–you can rent a casket. Considering that the average cost of a casket is $2-3K, you should seriously consider making a casket rental part of your final arrangements. Perhaps the most simple way to get more bang for your buck through a product rental, renting a casket is very easy and very common. How it typically works is that your beloved rests in a nicer, rented casket for any viewing and/or services but is buried in a less expensive option when it comes time for their eternal rest. While it seems a bit morbid to discuss caskets and finances, the reality is that most people’s final arrangement plans don’t include enough money for the actual cost, so saving money with a casket rental is an acceptable way to pay homage to the deceased while also saving around $1K.
Have you ever rented an item instead of purchasing it?
Robert Farrington is America’s Millennial Money Expert® and America’s Student Loan Debt Expert™, and the founder of The College Investor, a personal finance site dedicated to helping millennials escape student loan debt to start investing and building wealth for the future. You can learn more about him here and here.
He regularly writes about investing, student loan debt, and general personal finance topics geared towards anyone wanting to earn more, get out of debt, and start building wealth for the future.
He has been quoted in major publications including the New York Times, Washington Post, Fox, ABC, NBC, and more. He is also a regular contributor to Forbes.