We tend to believe that renting consumer goods is like pouring money down the drain -- and in many cases, it can be. But the idea that renting is always a bad idea is an oversimplification.
Renting furniture, for instance, often costs several times the original price of the piece in the long-run. You're better off getting a cheap sofa from the local Goodwill while you save enough to purchase a couch you love.
Renting your home, by contrast, might be a better deal, depending on the rent-vs.-buy costs in your specific region and city. In expensive areas, such as Manhattan and San Francisco, renting a home can sometimes be a better idea than buying, especially after home maintenance costs, insurance, interest and property taxes are taken into account.
There are plenty of other items you may want to rent rather than buy, as well. Here are six of them.
6 Things You Should Rent Instead of Buy
6 things you should rent instead of buy
You probably want to have your own hammer, wrench and screwdriver on hand for those around-the-house projects that spring up, but there's no reason to go out and buy a pricey piece of machinery you'll only use once.
Power sanders, tile saws and post-hole diggers are essential for certain projects, but unless you're an avid carpenter or a DIY enthusiast, chances are you won't use them again anytime soon. Rather than buying them, rent them by the day from stores like Home Depot or Lowe's.
Once your class is over, you'll no longer need the textbooks it requires. Why pay hundreds of dollars for them, especially when the campus bookstore will give you cents on the dollar when you try to sell them back?
Guys have no trouble renting a tuxedo for a wedding or formal event, but when it comes to evening gowns, most women pay top dollar for fancy dresses they only wear once or twice. Rent these dresses instead and you'll not only save money; you'll be able wear a different dress for every occasion without the guilt. Check out RentTheRunway.com, LendingLuxury.com and JJsHouse.com to rent prom dresses, evening gowns, accessories and more.
The trouble with buying video games is they often cost a pretty penny, and you don't know until you start playing the game whether or not you'll love it. If you don't, you'll have a great time playing it through once or twice, and then it sits on a shelf collecting dust.
By choosing to rent your video games through a service like GameFly, you're able to explore a wide range of titles to find which ones you like. If you love one, you can always buy it. If not, just drop it back in the mail and try the next one, no money lost.
Unless you're a fanatic, chances are you need seasonal outdoor gear only once or twice a season, which hardly justifies the expense of buying and storing it year-round.
Rent backpacking and camping gear from stores like REI or websites like MountainSideGearRental.com. Rent jet skis and surfboards from beach vendors. Rent snowmobiles, skis and snowboards from local ski venues and resorts. Unless it's something you plan on making a regular hobby, you're better off renting.
Too many of us have a treadmill in our basement that we bought with the best of intentions, used regularly for about a week, and have since turned into a place to hang laundry while it's drying.
Unless you're an established home gym rat and know that that new elliptical, stationary bike or training unit won't be just a passing fad, go the rental route through sites like GymSource.com and BDFitness.net.
Paula Pant is an entrepreneur and real estate investor who has traveled to 32 countries. Her blog Afford Anything is not the same tired, stodgy, uninspired financial advice that you'll find on other websites. Afford Anything shows you how to crush limits, create wealth and maximize life.