Finance ‘Great for the planet and the hip pocket’: How to rent the perfect Christmas

‘Great for the planet and the hip pocket’: How to rent the perfect Christmas

You don't have to buy festive decorations that are destined to sit in storage for most of the year. Photo: Getty
Twitter Facebook Reddit Pinterest Email

Cash-strapped Australians are looking to renting instead of buying as they prepare to spend billions of dollars this Christmas.

With just over week until Christmas, Finder data shows Australians are set to spend 38 per cent more than last year on festive expenses.

With almost one in four Australians planning to go into debt to fund this year’s holiday shopping, some are looking to renting to keep their heads above water.

Canstar editor-at-large and money commentator Effie Zahos said a “huge rise” in interest in renting is a sign of the times.

But both she and Canstar chief spokesperson Steve Mickenbecker said consumers should still be careful not to overspend on rentals, as this could end up costing more long-term.

Christmas rental options

From a tree and decorations available through Christmas tree hire, to a pool to host Christmas lunch, there is an ever-expanding list of rental options to help you celebrate the holidays.

If you want to dress to impress, but don’t have the budget to match, Ms Zahos said renting clothes in particular has shown huge growth in popularity since Australia came out of lockdown.

“If you’re looking at renting a dress, as opposed to buying it, there’s a lot of merit in doing that,” Ms Zahos said.

It appears Australians agree, as almost a decade on from launching in April, subscription-based clothes rental service GlamCorner reported renting out about 50 tonnes of clothing a month.

You can look online for local clothes-rental platforms, or check out other national websites such as The Volte and Dress Hire AU.

“Coming out of restrictions, people are looking for ways to cheer themselves up [with] a bit of festive spirit without actually having to fork out the full amount for an outfit,” Ms Zahos said.

Renting clothes can also help solve the unfashionable issue of waste.

In May, assistant minister for waste reduction and environmental management Trevor Evans said Australians discard clothing and textiles at a rate of 15 tonnes every 10 minutes.

Being environmentally friendly

Ms Zahos said renting can be both great for the planet and the hip pocket.

For partners Tim Sculthorpe and Mariana de la Rosa, sustainability is a huge priority.

When the couple found themselves and their young child suddenly stuck in Sydney at the last-minute and unable to spend Christmas with family in Tasmania in 2020, they turned to the sharing and rental economy.

They were able to find five different people who offered to give them Christmas decorations, lights and toys free of charge.

The couple were even able to ‘rent’ a Christmas tree in exchange for a bottle of wine.

“We were like, ‘We’re shattered because we weren’t supposed to be in town for Christmas and we have nothing,’ and then people were so friendly and nice – they were just offering us stuff,” Ms de la Rosa said.

But they had no car, and turned to car sharing to pick up their holiday goods from around the city.

With car rental prices soaring as cooped-up Australians head back out for the holidays, renting a car from a local on a car-sharing platforms can mean saving big bucks.

From renting certain items, and having others shared or donated, Mr Sculthorpe estimates his family was able to save about $500.

But Ms Zahos cautioned against using renting as an excuse to always have the latest and greatest.

“[If you] find yourself wearing a new outfit every week because you’re renting rather than the buying, that can give you a bit of false economy,” Ms Zahos said.

Mr Mickenbecker said renting makes sense for things you’re only planning on using once or twice, but if it’s something you’re going to use every year, you should consider buying.

“If it’s something that has life and is not going to go out of fashion or deteriorate … and you can afford it, perhaps you should be buying,” he said.

“Before people either rent or go into debt to buy something, maybe they should think twice and say, ‘Is it something is actually essential?'”