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Advice / Succeeding at Work / Money

9 Things You Can Rent Instead of Buy

This article is from our friends at LearnVest, a leading site for women and their money.

Renting a home? That we've heard of. Renting a casket? Not as much.

Just last week, we told you about how the younger generation of Americans would rather rent a home than buy one. But it's becoming clear that the rental industry—which was once reserved for tuxedos, cars, and movies—has become much more, covering everything from cameras to power tools.

This new trend has a ton of benefits—for one, renting an item you'll only use once or twice is much cheaper (and more sustainable) than actually buying it. Not only that, sites like let you tap into nearby resources like neighbors and community members to borrow items. Saving money and staying local? Now that's a movement we can get behind.

1. Dresses

Let’s face it—most of us don’t have the cash to splurge on designer dresses, let alone shoes and accessories to go with them. That’s why we love the new trend of renting dresses: Sites like Rent the Runway and Lending Luxury allow users to borrow dresses for 3-5 days for as little as 10% of the retail value (plus Rent the Runway will send two sizes). To snag a matching clutch or handbag, check out Bag Borrow or Steal.

2. Power Tools

Whether cleaning the carpet, fixing up the garden, or just taking on a day of home improvement, power tools can often come in handy. But instead of splurging on one-time-use hardware, check out the rental options at your local Home Depot or Lowes. These stores offer everything from power washers to paint sprayers for daily or weekly rentals.

3. Video Games

Hooked on Wii Boxing? We understand. Unfortunately, video games can get pricey and replenishing your collection can be tough on budgets. To keep the variety at a lower cost, try renting games from sites like GameFly. These resources are just like Netflix, with a flat monthly rate, quick and free shipping, and large libraries of games to select from.

4. Textbooks

There's no denying it: College is becoming increasingly more expensive. That's why we love the idea of renting textbooks—it's an easy way to save each semester. While there are a ton of book rental sites, we especially like Book Renter for its library of over 5 million books (plus free shipping!), and Chegg, which puts a priority on low prices. In some cases, you may even be allowed to highlight or take notes in book margins.

5. Camera Lenses

Ever wanted to capture a wedding or a graduation with a professional-grade camera, but didn’t want to shell out thousands of dollars? Sites like and now allow users to rent lenses or camera bodies for much cheaper than the cost of the normal hardware. With added bonuses like overnight shipping and quality customer service, budding photographers will love these options.

6. Parking Space

If you regularly commute to a crowded city, finding parking can be a huge hassle—and parking garages are notoriously expensive. For an easier alternative, consider renting a parking space. Sites like ParkingSpacesforRent and ParkAtMyHouse allow individuals to list their available parking spaces online. Then, users can search for a space based on location, type, and time period, and rent directly with the owner.

7. Casket

The average American funeral can cost anywhere from $8,000 to $10,000, with the average casket ringing in at $2,000 (although nice models can reach up $10,000 or more). Recently, funeral homes have been giving families the opportunities to rent caskets for a much smaller price—over $1,000 less. Renting a casket is as simple as asking the funeral director about your options. You can read more about the trend here.

8. Tech Hardware

Buying new technology hardware can be a huge investment—but with new models coming out every year, it's so important for businesses to stay current. Sites like Rent Smart allow small business owners to borrow all kinds of tech hardware, from iPads to smartphones, for several years at a low weekly rate. Get ready to upgrade your home office—without breaking the bank.

9. Everything Else

If all else fails, watershed sites like and allow anyone to post any item or service for rent. Whether you’re looking for a beach chair or a gorilla costume, both sites let the user connect with individuals in their community. Users save money, with the added bonus of making the most of local resources.

Photo of parking spot courtesy of Shutterstock.

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