I’ve been seeing a lot of commercials lately for companies offering “great deals” on renting items, from TVs to sofas, washers and dryers, even tires. Yes, tires for your car. The question is, is this really a great deal, or are you a sucker for renting these things?

Why Rent?

I get the idea behind it. A new flat screen TV can cost a $1,000 or more. If you don’t have the money, renting it seems logical. After all, you get the TV for just $35 a week. Not too bad of a deal.

Another reason some people rent is to show off. They can’t afford a brand new sofa or TV or even washer and dryer, so they rent them. No one else knows they are renting and the person appears well-off. In reality though, if they can’t afford these things, they shouldn’t be renting.

Renting Is A Scam

I get that there are some (very few) instances where renting might make sense. For example, maybe you are getting ready to move and you had planned to take the washer with you. It breaks. Instead of installing a new one in your house for a few weeks, then moving it to the new house, it makes sense to rent one and just get the new washer when you are at the new house. (Though the smartest move financially would be to just suck it up and go to a Laundromat for a couple weeks.)

Another example would be you need to rent a power tool for a project you are doing, like cutting down a tree in your backyard. You could rent the tool for the weekend to complete the project and be down with it.

But these are short-term solution to a problem. The rental industry is preying on people that aren’t planning on needing a washer for a week or so until they move. They are marketing to people who cannot afford the $1,000 TV in the first place.

They woo these people with a low payment. It’s human nature to fall for these “deals”. What looks better to you, $1,000 or $35 in terms of getting something? The $35 looks way better.
But if we look at the long term, we see that the $1,000 is much better.

It’s More Expensive To Rent

Let’s look at the TV in more detail. If you pay $35 per week to rent it and you keep that TV for a year, you just paid $1,820 for a TV that would have cost you $1,000 new. Plus, you have to return this TV or keep overpaying for it.

When you look at the long term for any of these items, it is always cheaper to buy the item than rent it. And it has to be this way, otherwise the rental companies would go out of business!

So what do you do if you really really want that new TV but don’t have $1,000? The answer is you just wait and save. I know it is a tough pill to swallow in this instant gratification world we live in, but it has to be done.
Make it a point to save $35 each week until you have the $1,000. Don’t tell me you don’t have $35 to save each week either. If you are OK with spending that amount to rent the TV, you have the money to save instead.
You’re other option is to give in and rent. But understand that if you do, you are just pushing yourself further and further behind financially. Things will continue to get tougher and it will be harder for you to find a way out.
Life will not be fun and odds are it will get worse. Is that what you want? Do you really want to be in worse shape financially and add more stress to your life for a TV? I know I wouldn’t.

Think long and hard before you jump to the solution of renting. If it will be only for a short time, to bridge a gap as they say, then this is OK. But if you are renting to avoid paying full price on an item you plan to use and keep long term, you are doing yourself more harm than good.