New Age: Transumerism — Why own when you can rent?

Renting is cool.

At least, I think it is.

Of course, it’s a fine balance between what I can afford to rent, and what I cannot (*cough* rental cars *cough*), but if I had billions of dollars, I won’t have to worry about owning anything.

That seems like a strange attitude to many, especially in this day and age.

Heck, why would ANYONE rent instead of owning? Isn’t owning… better?

In some ways, yes.

Owning your own laptop, your own bed, and your own clothes (especially underwear) is really, really nice.

But BF once casually remarked that there are also rich folk out there who don’t own anything, and simply live by paying for services.

They live out of hotels, they pay for restaurant fare (anything they want), they go into a shop and rent expensive toys — boats, planes, jet skis, cars, instead of shelling out millions for it.


What is Transumerism?

The transumer philosophy is largely based on a “leasing lifestyle,” according to an analysis by, a global trend-spotting company based in the Netherlands.

Rather than spending your money on individual things, which you then have to keep (suddenly an old-fashioned idea), you purchase access to an array of objects and experiences.

It can save time as well as cash: after all, the more you own, the more you have to worry about, maintain and upgrade.

Via MSN Money

As for us, I think we’ll be apartment renters for life, just out of personal choice more than for financial reasons.

We will also keep owning our own cars (BF brand new, me with my secondhand cars), and to try and borrow and return as much as possible for things that aren’t going to be used for a long time.

Then again, never say never!

But still, why rent anything?

The Thrill Wears Off

Buying something new, gives you a rush, like scoring the most amazing deal on whatever it is you were hunting.

But sooner or later, the thrill wears off. With renting, you get the thrill of owning the item and using it.. and when you’re bored, you just return it.

Anti-Stuff People Love it

I tentatively put my toe into this bucket. I am anti-stuff, but if you only saw my wardrobe and shoes, you’d think I was smoking some crack.

BF is a better example. The guy LOVES to cook. But he said (and I quote):

If I had lots and lots of money, I’d just pay for someone to cook exactly what I want for me, and I’d only cook if I felt like it.

That way, I wouldn’t have to worry about buying or caring for all the kitchen stuff we have to make all of these dishes.

I could just pay, eat, not do the dishes (big point), and leave whenever I feel like it.


No Hidden and/or Recurring Costs

Yes, ownership is supposed to be the key to building wealth (via assets).

But why don’t we ever talk about the hidden costs? Maintenance and upgrades on cars, boats and houses gets PRICEY!

You can free up your cash flow

Instead of buying a million-dollar yacht, you rent it for thousands of dollars when you need it, but ultimately in the long run, it costs less (unless you decide to live on it).

If you love changing out different designer purses every week, you can pay hundreds to rent a bag (Bag, Borrow and Steal or From Bags to Riches), instead of paying thousands for ONE bag.

Personally, I am not a fan of that — I’d rather own the bag, but then again, I am not really into the thousand-dollar bags thing.

NetFlix is another service — instead of buying and collecting all of those DVDs, just rent them, watch them & return them; all for the low fixed monthly price.

Or just simply renting a car

Think about the:

  • insurance
  • parking fees
  • gas
  • maintenance
  • fees for driver’s license
  • fees for the license plate
  • repairs
  • loan payments (if any)
  • depreciation
  • upgrades

…and whatever else I’ve missed that comes with a car.

According to AAA, most cars are only used 66 minutes a day, but cost $8095 a year on average.

66 minutes x 365 days = 24,090 minutes in total

$8095 a year divided by 24,090 minutes = $0.336 cents a minute

Per hour, that’s $20.16!

So if you don’t use a car that often, just rent it once a week, and it’ll be cheaper than owning one in the long run.

Unless of course, you bought one in cash, outright for a few thousand bucks, and pay under $500 in fees, gas, insurance and maintenance per year (*raises hand*).

I use my car quite a bit now, just to run errands during the week, or to drive to work when it isn’t in the middle of winter.

It’s saved me money, but only because I was lucky to have bought that car in such good shape for its years, for so darn cheap.

So, would you consider being a transumer if you could?

Or even a semi-transumer?

About the Author

Just a girl trying to find a balance between being a Shopaholic and a Saver. I cleared $60,000 in 18 months earning $65,000 gross/year. Now I am self-employed, and you can read more about my story here, or visit my other blog: The Everyday Minimalist.