Renting vs Buying

Understanding the concept of depreciation and resale value can help you decide whether you should buy, rent, or borrow something. 

Let’s use a tile saw for example. The big box stores rent them for about $40/day. A quick search shows that you can buy one for between $50 and $300 from various easy to access stores. You want to ask yourself how often you are going to use one of these things and​ do you want to store it?

Some of you may already be thinking that buying one would be the way to go here because you could sell it after and still beat the rental cost. This is a good thought, but there might be a better option, or two. 

Clearly, if you know someone with one, you could ask them to borrow it and give them some beers, wine, whatever. If that’s not an option, then looking used is probably your best bet. 

Knowing that the second you use that new saw, it’s value will plummet, you will still be losing out on max value here. Fast depreciation is a problem with new purchases.  I wouldn’t imagine it would be hard to sell, but who knows. 

Now, searching on Craigslist shows that there are a bunch of used units ranging from $30-300. Some appear to be industrial units but keep in mind, these are the depreciated values here. After a one time use, you will likely be able to sell it for damn bear what you paid or possibly even more because someone else took​ the depreciation hit, just like with cars. 

I’d go for that cheap $30 one and try to sell it for $40. 

Likely Results? -$10 to +$10 (buying used and selling) vs -$40 (rent) vs -$60 to -$300 (new) vs -$20 to -$100 (buying new and selling). 

Ok, so i made up those numbers, but the point is that you have more options than buying or renting. Always remember that you can sell something after you’re done with it to recoup some, or more than all of your money. 

Don’t underestimate the value in selling things that you have no use for anymore. 

3 thoughts on “Renting vs Buying”

  1. Great post and example of the issue. Another hidden cost of ownership is the extra storage space needed. More stuff = bigger living space = more expense ongoing. The best quote I heard once was that “Craigslist is my storage closet!”

    Liked by 1 person

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