Renting instead of buying is a good way to save money on certain things. But you might be surprised at the kinds of things that you can rent.
Most of us know that you can rent a car, but did you also know that you can rent just the tires?
The average guy might rent a tuxedo for his wedding, but it’s also possible to rent a wedding cake.
It’s a lovely thing to rent a lake house for a week. Or you can go the whole hog and rent an entire island…if you can afford it, that is.
Loads of unusual stuff can be rented. We picked these offbeat choices to show that there’s an item for every renter and a renter for every item.
Want to keep your funeral costs low? Ask whether the funeral home rents caskets. These caskets have removable wooden interiors to hold the dead. Later, after the viewing or service, the body can be buried in that plain wooden box or cremated in it.
The median price of a metal casket is $2,500, and the median price of a wood casket is $3,000, according to the National Funeral Directors Association. The median cost of a rental casket is $995.
Incidentally: If you plan to be cremated without a service or viewing, you don’t need a casket at all. Instead, choose an alternative cremation container. The median price is $150.
Just moved to a new area? Or still in the old neighborhood but all your childhood friends have moved away or simply moved on?
Rent a friend! Sites like RentAFriend.com will help you find someone with whom you can go bowling, watch movies, browse bookstores, hit the clubs or just hang out.
It’s also possible to rent a “cuddle buddy” through sites like Cuddle Comfort. That could mean holding hands, snuggling or hugging. A hug can lift your spirits, lower your blood pressure and maybe even boost your immune system, according to Psychology Today.
Hard to say exactly how much money hiring a cuddle buddy or even just a friend would save, but if it makes you a calmer and happier person — or keeps you healthier — then it might be worth it.
Most “rent a parent” companies are aimed at people who want reliable babysitters. But some are specifically for adults who need a little TLC.
For example, Need A Mom NYC puts the “rent” in “parent” by matching you up with a woman who’ll listen (but not judge!), offer mom advice if you want it, and maybe proofread a resume or iron a shirt. Their slogan: “When you need a mom — just not YOUR mom.” However, you need to be in the New York City region to use the service.
Rent-A-Dad is also limited to New York City residents, and the site is aimed mostly at tasks like putting furniture together, shopping for a new place to live and helping organize a move.
Don’t live in New York City? You could visit one of those “rent a friend” companies to look for someone to act as a parent. That is, to comfort you, console you, counsel you or remind you to check your tire pressure regularly.
Will it save you money? Maybe, if it keeps you from ruining a tire! But seriously, having someone to listen to you and, if asked, to offer advice can help you feel better. That, in some cases, means you won’t self-medicate with mindless shopping and other bad habits.
It could also keep you focused on your financial goals. Sometimes you need a parental figure to tell you, “Oh, honey, I know you want to join your friends in renting that beach house. But you yourself said that you’ll be debt-free if you stick to your plan for three months. Which do you think will give you the most satisfaction: swimming or zeroing out your credit cards?”
Believe it or not, tire rental stores exist, and they do decent business, according to the Association of Progressive Rental Organizations. They also rent out fancy rims and other items.
Will it save you money? Probably not, since the rent-to-own model means paying more for the convenience. However, if you’re in a tight spot financially and absolutely can’t afford replacement tires, renting them means you’ll be able to get to work. Getting fired for not showing up definitely won’t save you money.
5. Christmas trees
Ho ho huh? Christmas trees are rentable?!
Yep. Regional and national companies like Rent-A-Christmas, RentXmasTree.com and The Living Christmas Co. deliver trees to your home. Depending on the company, the trees could be live or artificial, decorated or not. Some companies provide other holiday décor as well.
This could save you money in a couple of ways.
If you live in a small space, renting a tree and décor means you won’t have to pay for year-round storage.
What’s more, styles and tastes change. For example, the Disney stuff that delights your small children will soon become passé. Renting means you won’t buy and eventually toss different themes or color schemes.
If you’re into non-factory-farmed eggs, you might pay $5 to $7 a dozen or more — they’re $10 where I live. Companies like Rent The Chicken or Rent A Coop will lend you some birds, a place for them to live and food for them to eat. This can work out in your favor if the chickens lay to their utmost.
That said, you have to be willing to put in some work: feeding the birds, moving the coop to keep hen manure from piling up, and maybe keeping an eye on them if you let them out of the coop to forage.
Rentable goats are there to do what goats do best: Eat the landscape.
These sure-footed ruminants can climb the steepest bank and chew away poison ivy, invasive kudzu weeds or anything else you don’t want on your property. Companies like Rent-A-Ruminant and Rent A Goat will bring the critters to your property. You might also find a local goatherd willing to get paid to let his critters roam your yard.
The savings can be as much as 75% compared with having humans come in and pull out or poison the unwanted plants, according to home service website Angi. Bonus: There’s no pesticide on your property or pesticide runoff into local waterways.
You will have to deal with the, uh, calling cards that the goats leave behind though. Or, you could look at this as natural fertilizer.
8. Bridesmaids and groomsmen
On the face of it, this sounds sad. Who would rent members of their wedding party? Don’t they have any friends?
Maybe they do. But maybe some friends can’t afford to participate. Maybe they don’t get enough (or any) paid time off.
Or perhaps your best bud is fun to hang out with but can’t be relied on to behave when it counts. We’ve all heard stories of bridesmaids and groomsmen who slough off their duties, make embarrassing speeches, complain about the outfits or drink too much.
And, yeah, maybe some couples just want to have a picture-perfect wedding party. That means picture-perfect people standing next to them.
Whatever the reason, you can rent your bridesmaids and groomsmen. Companies like Bridesmaid for Hire and Groomsman for Hire emphasize both pre-planning and making sure everything runs smoothly on the big day.
That could include planning the bachelor party, helping set up for the wedding and smoothing over disagreements.
9. A wedding cake
The average cost of a wedding cake is $540, according to the website Wedding Forward. But the price tag can easily go much higher — maybe even as high as $1,000 or more if you go all-out.
Instead, you can opt for a fake cake: a beautifully decorated Styrofoam confection that has a slit in the back, so you can insert a slice of your real cake for the bride and groom’s photos. Then you send it back to the kitchen to be “sliced” for guests, and what actually happens is that the kitchen sends back slices of less-expensive sheet cakes.
You can ask local bakeries to make you a fake cake or look for places to rent them online. If you’re handy, build your own faux confection out of foam and start watching online cake-decorating tutorials.
10. A private island
Want not just any beach wedding, but a wedding on a beach guaranteed to keep out the weekenders?
This may not save you money, unless you’d planned to take over an exclusive resort for the day. But the cost of knowing that wedding crashers won’t be able to get to you? That’s priceless.