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Why buy when you can rent?

Why buy when you can rent?

(NAPSI)-One positive result of the recent recession: It has made us more conscientious consumers. A 2010 survey from Booz & Company found that 65 percent of consumers now consider saving to be more important than spending, and that they are more inclined than ever to do research before making purchases; that is, if they choose to buy at all. The concept of renting is fast gaining popularity, with a proliferation of online services that enable customers to quickly and easily borrow anything from camping gear to textbooks and everything in between at a fraction of the cost of buying.
College Students
With tuition costs that far surpass the rate of inflation, families need all the help they can get to make college more affordable. The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics ranks textbooks as the second highest educational expense after tuition, room and board, and many students pay upwards of $1,000 per semester.
Textbook rental companies like Chegg.com, however, offer much-needed financial relief to students nationwide by offering huge discounts on textbooks, fast shipping and free returns-and the company plants a tree every time a student rents. A popular textbook, "The Science of Psychology" by Laura King, can be rented from Chegg.com for about 80 percent off the price of buying it.
Students who rent textbooks from Chegg.com can save an average of $2,000 over the course of their college career.
Techies and Hobbyists
An obsession with the latest and greatest gadgets can get pricey quickly. The Census Bureau estimates that the average American spends over $900 annually to support his or her habit of cable television, Internet connectivity and video games. With websites like ATSRentals.com, consumers can spend less on everything from HDTVs to GPS navigation systems (rent for $20 vs. buying for $260). Photography can also be an expensive hobby if you buy instead of rent, but Borrowlenses.com offers affordable camera equipment rentals, for budding amateurs and seasoned professionals alike, such as a Nikon fish-eye lens (retails at $695) for just $28.
Want to go camping but don't want the hassle of buying and transporting expensive equipment? (A good backpack alone can cost up to $400.) LowerGear.com will ship all the low-cost rented gear you need (including that backpack for $29) to your home or destination whether you're headed out on a long backpacking trip or an adventure in your own backyard.
Fashionistas
A slew of websites have surfaced that make even the most sought-after labels affordable to almost everyone. Get that new $1,500 Herve Leger cocktail dress from RenttheRunway.com or WearTodayGoneTomorrow.com for around $150. That's 90 percent off the retail price and the shipping and the dry cleaning are free, too. Savvy renters can even pair their dress with a designer handbag (and heels, jewelry and sunglasses) from BagBorroworSteal.com.
Don't Know What to Rent?
Don't worry-there's a rental site for you! Rentcycle.com lets anyone discover, compare and rent all types of things online at a great price, from tools to sports equipment and party supplies. (Rent a Cannondale Six road bike that retails at $1,600 for just $50.) The site connects consumers with a community of more than 30,000 rental businesses across the U.S. and it promotes sustainability by supporting local businesses. Not only are you getting the things you need conveniently and for less money, you're helping others, too.
With all the options to rent, you'll have plenty of money saved to invest in your future.
Photo credit: iStock.com

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