September 19 2011|08.00 AM UTC

Jenny Edwards

Buying Vs. Renting

Category: Personal FinanceTags: , ,


When you get ready to do some home improvements or vacation, you usually have a list of everything you need to buy. However, if you’re just going to use something a couple of times, save some money by renting instead of buying. After looking at the cost of storage, maintenance and rental availability, here are a few items that you’d be better off renting versus buying.

Power Tools and Equipment

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Unless you’re a professional contractor or a hard-core hobbyist, chances are purchased power tools will sit unused and take up space in your garage. On top of that, infrequently used chainsaws and pressure washers often need expensive maintenance due to rotted seals and carburetor clogs, which adds to the cost of ownership.

Luckily, most home improvement and hardware stores allow you to rent these tools. If you’re in the market for a chainsaw, you can rent one for about $60 a day, versus the $360 cost to buy. This means you can rent a chainsaw twice a year (for spring cleaning and fall trimming) for three years for the same amount it costs to buy.

Sports Equipment

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Gear like kayaks, tents and snowboards can be expensive and require a lot of space to store. Instead of purchasing and storing, try the local rental outfitters in recreation areas for some great rentals on this equipment.

In Boulder, CO, you can rent a kayak for $50 a day – compared to the hundreds of dollars it costs to buy one. Across the country, tents can also be rented for about $30 per weekend, which will allow them to camp for 14 weekends before they reach the $460 it takes to buy their own.

Recreation Vehicles (RV’s)

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Unless you’re planning on using it as your full-time home, renting instead of buying a RV is the better choice. If you bought a RV, you could end up paying for monthly storage, insurance and, of course, the same maintenance as any large truck.

Rental rates can vary based on model, location and mileage, but travelers who are willing to rent during off-seasons can often get great deals for up to 70% off.

In Las Vegas, a two person RV runs about $150 per night (plus $0.35 per mile) during the peak season. While this can add up over a long trip, it won’t even begin to compare to the $50,000 it costs to buy a similar, used model.

Formal Wear

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Need a formal gown for that once in a lifetime event? Consider renting instead of dropping thousands for something you’ll probably only wear once. You can rent a Christian Siriano red carpet cocktail dress online for $200, or, if you have more than nine posh events to attend, purchase it for $1700.

Whether it’s a vacation, home improvement or an extravagant event, you are sure to find some savings by renting instead. With all the money you’ll save, you’ll also be able to rent a nicer quality item than what you could afford to buy. What are some things that you’d rather rent than buy?

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