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Sometimes one of the hardest decisions when you are in the market for something new: Is it better to rent or to buy? While usually associated with homebuying and relating to whether you will be paying rent or making mortgage payments, this can apply to everything we need or want in life. Sometimes renting can save money, but sometimes owning will be far cheaper in the long run, and hopefully you have someone to borrow from if neither really make sense. Check out the breakdown of suggestions below for which item corresponds to each method.

To Buy

Furniture. Although many companies offer the rent-to-own option, you will almost always pay new prices while continuing to pay each month. If the prices are too high on the new products, consider buying slightly used items so someone else takes the massive depreciation that happens in the first few months of furniture ownership.

Electronics. There are so many great places to help you find deals on electronics and help you decide exactly what you need and which brands are best. It’s important to do your research because these can be expensive, and you may want to carefully consider your options.

Home Appliances. From washer and dryer to kitchen appliances, these are items are meant to last. You don’t need to have the hottest and newest, but it is rare that you regret buying a good tool for the home. You can shop around for slightly used ones to score a deal.

To Rent

Textbooks. Since you probably won’t open your books once the class is over, renting is almost always the easier and more affordable option when it comes to textbooks. Hit the Web to find the best options – some even offer free shipping.

Caskets. It may seem crazy, but funeral homes do offer a rental option for caskets. The body is placed in a simple wooden box, and then placed inside the fancy and expensive model for the service. The body is buried in the simple wooden box. It may seem strange, but it can save you what some may see as a frivolous expense.

Special Occasion Wear. New and designer frocks are out of reach for most of us, but that doesn’t mean you have to look shabby or wear the same outfit to every special occasion in your life. There are lots of rental companies that go beyond the tux to help you pay far less than retail value and wow your friends and family at every event.

To Borrow

Housing. We all know vacations can be pricey, but if you are looking for vacation saving methods it’s a good idea to consider accommodation options. In our increasingly share-based economy, plenty of websites and even friends can help you find an apartment or home available for the borrowing. This may mean light housekeeping or cat-sitting but can be a big savings when it’s travel time.

Entertainment. While there are lots of services to provide movies, books and music, it’s always nice to get recommendations from a friend and borrow something you know you will enjoy. You can also borrow many of these items and more (like video games) from your local library.

Once-a-Year Equipment. Consider pooling with the neighbors or just finding a friend who loves gadgets for certain tools you need very rarely. Ask around before buying or renting things like gutter cleaners, power washers or snowplows.

While it’s nice to know something belongs to you, buying doesn’t always make sense financially. Different products retain value differently, and not everything on your wish list needs to be purchased for permanent ownership. It’s important to evaluate each decision carefully before you decide whether to rent, borrow or buy.

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