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Seven surprising things you can rent

Save money (and space) by renting tools, bikes, toys and more.

Canadians accumulate a lot of stuff – from clothes to toys to tools. But how often do we use this stuff? One estimate finds that most cars are parked 95 per cent of the time;1 another reckons a power drill might only be used for 13 minutes over its entire lifetime.2

What if you only pay for what you use? That is the premise behind the sharing economy. By opting to rent items instead of purchasing them, you can free up space in your home and save money at the same time. Renting can also be a good way to try before you buy. Here are some things you may want to consider renting:

Tools: Why fork out money for a mitre saw that you’ll use a few times at most? You can rent almost anything from a hammer to a cordless belt sander from local tool libraries or hardware stores for a fraction of the purchase price.

Camping equipment: You could easily spend hundreds of dollars on tents, sleeping bags and other camping gear. But it may make more sense to rent equipment instead, especially if you are an occasional camper.

Bikes: Bikes can be expensive. For a small monthly fee, a bike‑sharing program might be a more economical option, plus you don’t need to worry about storing it between rides.

Formal wear and accessories: Let’s face it, you probably won’t attend many black‑tie galas, so why pay big bucks for a tux or frock that gets worn once (maybe twice)? Formal‑wear rentals can get you glammed up for a fraction of the price.

Party supplies: If you are hosting a gathering, consider renting everything from popcorn makers to decor. It costs far less and you won’t have to scrounge for storage space when the party is over.

Toys: Anyone with children knows how quickly toys can accumulate and how expensive they can be. Considering that children outgrow most of their toys fairly quickly, a good option might be to rent instead.

Cars: The average car costs between $8,600 and $13,000 a year to own.3 For those who live in urban areas, some car‑sharing services provide a vehicle for as little as an hour or two at a time and you only pay for the time you use.

On the flip side, you could consider loaning out your own stuff to make some extra cash. You can rent out everything from your barbecue to your parking spot through local peer‑to‑peer rental sites. The money you save by renting (or earn from loaning out your items) means you can put more towards your other financial goals – speak to your advisor for help getting started.

1 fortune.com/2016/03/13/cars-parked-95-percent-of-time
2 www.cbc.ca/radio/undertheinfluence/the-sharing-economy-1.2983680 
3 globalnews.ca/news/3832649/car-ownership-costs-public-transit-canada