When You Got Nothing, You Got Nothing to Lose

by RJ

in Psychology

As I was visiting friends in Chicago, I  noticed a few things I hadn’t before. First, all over the city, there are Zip Cars and iGo stations. Both of these companies are on demand rental car services. You sign up online, get a card, and rent any car you want any time. You pay for the car, either by the hour or day.

Second, I noticed the same concept but with bikes. There were bike rental stations all over the city.

I turned to my friend as we were riding the bus and said, “You really don’t need to own anything anymore.”

The Benefits of Renting

This thought stayed with me for the rest of the night. There is very little  you have to own. Plus, when you don’t own, you don’t need to worry about maintenance, insurance, and storage.

I made a quick list and came up with nine things, you don’t have to own. Feel free to add more in the comments.

9 Things You Can Rent Instead of Buy

  1. Car – Use public transportation for everything you can. When it’s not available, rent a car from a place like Zip Car.
  2. Bike – Most major cities have multiple places to rent bikes.
  3. Movies / DVD’s – Instead of subscribing to a service like Netflix or buying DVD’s (unless it’s Lord of the Rings, which must be watched once a year), rent from Red Box instead. When you want an older movie, check with your local library or friends.
  4. Cell Phone - Use Skype and Google Talk when you can and get a pay as you go phone, for other calls.
  5. TV – Instead of getting cable TV, get your shows from a site like Hulu or download them from iTunes.
  6. Clothes - I’m a guy, so all I need is one black suit, a few different tie combinations, and three of four solid dress shirts and I’m set for dress clothes.  If I told my wife to wear the same dress, to each of the ten weddings we have in the next year, I don’t think I my morning oatmeal would be made just right for a few days. There are many new online companies that let you rent designer clothes for your special night.  I can’t believe I’m linking to Oprah.com, but for my wonderful female readers, she has some good resources on her site.
  7. Power Tools – Instead of buying tools you use once a year, like a power washer or carpet cleaner, rent one from your local hardware store. You save money and don’t need to worry about storage and maintenance.
  8. Sports Gear – What sports or activities do you take part in maybe once a year? For example, instead of bringing diving gear to every trip, just rent on site.
  9. Textbooks - Instead of buying textbooks and letting it sit on a shelf, there are many services that let you rent for a semesters at a time.

When is A La Carte Not Right

When deciding between owning and renting, the important thing is to analyze your spending. For example, you take public transportation at a cost of $100 a month and would need to rent a car on average twice a month for $75, for a total of $175 a month. That probably is less than what you’re paying in car payments, parking, gas, and maintenance.

Bob Dylan Was Right

A few years ago for Christmas, when CD’s were still relevant; my sister gave me a Bob Dylan Boxed Set. Between the hour drive to go visit my girlfriend (which I’m glad I did because she is now my wife) and the three hour drive back home, I must have listened to Dylan over 50 hours that year.

My favorite song in the boxed set was “Like a Rolling Stone”. Near the end of the song, Dylan sings, “When you got nothing, you got nothing to lose.” Even though it’s been a few years since I pulled out that boxed set, I think Dylan’s wisdom has started to sink in.


Photo by: Stoned59

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Briana @ GBRNo Gravatar September 22, 2010 at 4:37 pm

I’ve been renting my textbooks and DVDs for a while now I won’t go back! I just purchased a phone number for Skype for less than $20 which is awesome. As far as renting clothes, I’m with your wife on that one lol

RJNo Gravatar September 23, 2010 at 10:04 am

Thanks Briana

My school actually had a textbook rental service. No one had to buy their own textbook. This alone, saved me around $500 a year.

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