“Greed, for lack of a better word, is good”, declared Gordon Gecko in the 1987 blockbuster ‘Wall Street’. The film was pure eighties, when rampant consumerism was the mark of success, but a lot has changed in thirty years and ‘Generation Rent’ – as twenty and thirty-somethings are often known – have a lot less money to play with. Everyday things that their parents took for granted are now hired or subscribed to, as young people demand services that fit in with their need to cut financial corners and take less risks.
Simply, it’s safer when you can quickly switch on and off. For many, long-term financial commitments, such as mortgages, are out of their reach anyway. The priority is to live low-cost and save cash for ‘the new essentials’ – travelling widely and enjoying fun experiences. But if you’re not ready to part with your DVDs, still prefer vinyl to Spotify, or have Marie Kondo’d your home and want it to stay that way, there are plenty of other services out there that not only save you money, but also offer really positive ways to get active, meet new people and do some good. We’ve selected a few of our favourites.
No need to buy for DIY
It’s entirely ok to pay other people to do this stuff… actually it’s often much easier and safer, but if you insist on being a DIY demon, then you can rent pretty much everything you need for knocking things down and building them back up again. Or just putting up a shelf. OBI have an incredible inventory of equipment, from hammer drills to stepladders. They also do a great line in protective accessories. Just saying.
Help out another furry friend fan
Live in a rental property? Work long hours? Partner not keen on our four-legged friends? Not a problem. Borrow My Doggy brings together dog owners who need a little extra help and dog lovers who want to spend time with their favourite animal but can’t commit. As they say, it’s ‘a win-win (or a woof-woof) situation for everyone involved’.
Up to the minute and ethical?
The environmental cost of fast fashion is enough to send shivers down your spine. One way to reduce the impact and save money when you need a big-ticket item (like a dress for an event or the perfect suit for an interview) is to rent your outfit. But businesses like Girl Meets Dress and, further afield, the Beijing-based YCloset believe that renting everyday clothes is the future.
Rent your kit, share your experience
If you want to try a camera before you buy or need a specific lens for a short time, there are plenty of companies to hire from, but Canon Australia have come up with something new. By applying the Airbnb formula, they’ve created a really exciting new camera-sharing community called Kyōyū (which is Japanese for ‘share’). Users can rent kit or hire out their own, but also hang out on the site and help other users by sharing tips and experiences.
Lacking space for your spinach?
Growing your own vegetables isn’t easy when you don't have much space, but there are plenty of local organisations and community groups on Facebook that set up ‘garden share’ schemes, like Lend and Tend or EarthShare in the US. You simply rent a little land from someone who has more than they need, or just share the space and the spoils. Yum!
A car at your disposal
Rental cars are nothing new, but car-sharing and ‘by the hour’ rentals can really make a difference when you’re on a budget. Zipcar lets you quickly rent a car for just an hour upwards and even unlock it just using your smartphone, while BlaBlaCar and Waze Carpool are cost effective and environmentally friendly ways to journey share with others.
You can also rent everything from chickens to bridesmaids, coffins to Christmas trees (really. We’re not kidding). If you can’t find what you need, then head to your local rental sites, or Fat Llama and you might find the item of your dreams… for a day or two.