Mr. F2P broke the “no gift rule” this past Valentine’s Day/15-year Anniversary and his present made me rethink my position on rent vs buy. Shame on him—and I love him all the more for it.
I’m a rent vs buy gal all the way, other than for long-term home ownership—if you intend to buy and hold, hold, hold (without refinancing in perpetuity) then yes, buy the house.
My reasoning is simple: with renting you can get to use pretty amazing stuff on occasion at a fraction of the cost of ownership. Owning stuff requires you to pay for depreciation (even true to a certain extent when you buy used), maintenance & repair, storage, and more of your money is invested in “stuff” than needed. It also uses up mental energy because clutter (aka too much stuff) is emotionally draining.
The F2P Buy vs Rent Rule:
Unless you know for a fact that you’re going to use something very regularly—preferably daily or at least weekly, don’t buy, rent (or at the very least, buy used).
The Gift That Changed My Perspective
On February 13th my husband was bugging me to go to the shooting range. We go once in a while and I quite enjoy it but I was pretty tired that day and said I would pass, even though I had made that very suggestion a week earlier. Then, as we were walking Belle, I decided we should go and that I would get into it once we got there.
On the way to the range, my husband broke the news. We weren’t going there to rent and shoot. We were on our way to pick up my bow. My immediate reaction wasn’t anger or resentment. I was overwhelmed with shock, joy and anticipation.
I couldn’t believe he was considering doing this for me, buying me something I wouldn't have purchased of my own accord—which I’m sure is why he did it. Despite my objections and questioning whether this purchase made sense, he stubbornly kept on, focused on our destination.
Mr. F2P is not one for gifts and I’m quite OK with that. The last time he surprised me in this way was almost 20 years ago when he bought me a kicka** exhaust pipe for my CBR600F3 sport bike. I was jumping up and down like a kid who just found out she was going to Disney World.
Well, after looking around and then selecting and sizing my bow, I got to try it. It was magic. It fit me properly, the draw weight was good and it felt like butter. I was having such a great time with it that I didn’t want to leave!
It was a completely different experience compared to using a rental. Because I’d never had a compound bow of my own, I didn’t understand all the variables that make for a good experience. Mr. F2P did. And what a difference it made.
All I had to go with was the math:
- Cost of a bow: $709CDN to cover the cost of the bow, the case, the release, the arrows and tax. Of course, there would be the offset of resale, eventually.
- Cost of rental: $15 per visit.
- Cost of range time is about $10 per visit. (For simplicity, I assumed that I would always go to the range, which made this fee irrelevant for the buy vs rent.)
My conclusion: I would have to go to the range nearly 50 times over a few years to justify a bow (709/15 = 47). That meant I would never own one. And I was perfectly good with it.
Here’s my new perspective:
My shooting is ridiculously accurate compared to what I could achieve with a rented bow that isn’t adjusted for a 5’2” left-handed woman, which makes the experience a whole lot more fun. I’m downright giddy. Moreover, my purchase included a lesson to get to know the equipment and increase the potential for me to stay with the sport. It was amazingly helpful.
I also got one month of unlimited range time with the purchase, which I didn’t know was a factor. I’ve have it for just over three weeks now and have only missed five days because I’m hooked! Two of the days I missed were due to being too sore and needing to give my shoulders a break. What a wonderful problem to have.
Most importantly, I want to go play more often now because of the heightened experience that only comes with ownership of a tool that is “made for me”. It's SOOO much more fun!
Because I’m having the real experience now, my rent vs buy equation has tipped in the favour of buy, but paradoxically, I would never have known it before buying.
I need to adjust my rent vs buy rules to address the issue of customization:
When what we buy includes customization that is not available from a rental and that this customization is integral to the experience over the longer term, buying may be the right choice.
How can we determine whether the customization is integral to the experience? By having a trusted advisor help show us the difference so that we can make a proper evaluation for ourselves.
Mr. F2P is not a spender. He told me repeatedly that owning my own bow would be a completely different experience but I just didn’t “buy” it. He had to show me by helping me test out the product, which lead me to pull the trigger. And I'm over the moon that he did.
Frankly, I don’t know how he’s going to top this one. Luckily, he won’t likely have to worry about it for another 20 years ;).
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