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
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
- Car – Use public transportation for everything you can. When it’s not available, rent a car from a place like Zip Car.
- Bike – Most major cities have multiple places to rent bikes.
- 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.
- Cell Phone - Use Skype and Google Talk when you can and get a pay as you go phone, for other calls.
- TV – Instead of getting cable TV, get your shows from a site like Hulu or download them from iTunes.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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