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6 Things It Makes More Sense To Rent Than To Buy

Simone Johnson  |  August 19, 2019

Is renting really the new buying? Here’s a look at 6 items you should definitely consider leasing instead of purchasing. 

Goats. Professional cuddlers. A wedding dress. Paparazzi. 

These are just a few of the things you can rent — not that you should, of course (although the idea of buying a professional cuddler strikes us as vaguely illegal), but sometimes buying isn’t always as cost-effective as we think. Some of us are more comfortable with renting than others. Millennials in particular are known for being “generation rent,” since high student loan debt has stymied home purchases, and the sharing economy has emboldened us to rent everything from office attire to home decor. 

But millennials’ life goals aren’t all that different than their parents. “We may just want a better balance,” says Douglas A. Boneparth, a millennial himself, financial planner, and president of Bone Fide Wealth in New York City. “We all want to be comfortable and happy. But the way we go about it is extremely different.” 

For example, millennials tend to value experiences over things, and because we’re waiting longer to marry and have children (or choosing not to altogether) we live more transportable lives, which is having a real impact on our decisions surrounding what’s worthy of purchase vs. what should be rented, explains Catie Hogan, a millennial and financial planner with Element Financial Group in New York City. 

Here’s a look at six things you may be wiser renting rather than buying. 

SEASONAL ESSENTIALS

You should consider renting any items you won’t be using often, Hogan says. Not only will this allow you to save money, it can also help you reduce clutter in your home. Take camping gear, for example. Who wants to purchase and store tents, sleeping bags, grills and more, for a trip you might only take once per year? 

Additionally, urban or small-home dwellers may want to consider renting suitcases or luggage for vacation. Countless companies make luggage rentals available for less than $10 per week, and you won’t have to worry about them lurking under your bed like the boogeyman, or threatening to crush you every time you open your closet door. 

VACATION HOMES 

Having a summer home sounds really good on paper, but do you really want to visit the same place every year? And it’s not like you’ll be stuck paying hotel prices if you don’t have a place to call your own — now websites like Airbnb and VRBO (Vacation Rental By Owner) have changed the game for the affordability of short-term stays. They also allow you to get the feel of a home without having to buy one. Also, people who value varied vacation experiences would be wise to spend their entertainment dollars seeing the world, rather than on one place, Bera says. 

CAMERAS

Many of us have gone through our photographer phase and felt the need to own a nice camera. But many of us are likely to find that it will collect more dust than pictures. Take a step back and ask yourself if your shutterbug desires are sincere. Sometimes your desire to own a camera may stem from your wanting to capture a special event in high-res rather than your interest in going pro. If that’s the case, get a phone with a good camera for daily use, and then plan to rent a professional camera for vacations, weddings, birthday parties, or other occasions where you want to walk away with professional shots. 

POWER TOOLS

Sometimes our homes require more maintenance than what we can do with our trusty (and simple) hammer and screwdriver set. For example, re-tiling the bathroom would require a tile saw, and doing seasonal garden maintenance would necessitate the use of a tiller. Thankfully, you can rent the industrial tools you’ll need. Not only are power tools expensive to purchase (easily upwards of $1,000 per tool) they also require a lot of storage room. Meanwhile, you can rent for under $100, and if you only need these items once a year, it’s a no-brainer.

FURNITURE

 Furniture is an important part of a home but if you move frequently, it can be more of a hassle to own. (It was hard enough storing my bean bag after college, and I can’t imagine trying the same with a love seat or sofa!) 

Thankfully, you can rent quality furniture for a price that fits with your paycheck. There are some good options for furniture rental companies here, and when it’s time for you to go, you don’t have to worry about where you’ll store it, or how much it will cost to move it. You just call the company and give it back. 

BLING

Some dresses just aren’t complete without a diamond necklace, but who just has the kind of money laying around to rock the size carats you’d really want? Like Cinderella, sometimes we only need to be royalty for one night. Jewelry rental companies have gotten just as popular in recent years as clothing rental companies like Rent the Runway (which, coincidentally, also offers jewelry rentals). Some of the most popular bling borrowing services include RocksBox and Trejours.

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