The bad economy forced a lot of companies to close their doors, but not the rent-to-own business. It shot up 11 percent during the recession. You know you can rent furniture, appliances, and electronics, but here are four unusual items you can also rent instead of buy:

  • Car rims. One quick way to upgrade your car or truck is with shiny, new chrome tire rims. Chain stores like Rim Tyme and EZ Rims rent sets of 20-inch rims for as little as $20 a week. When you change your mind or want to change out the rims, you just return them.
  • Another item you can rent: tools. Most home prices fell back to what they were eight years ago. So, homeowners are finding it makes better financial sense to fix up their existing house instead of buying a new one. Since you may only need a band saw or a wood floor sander for a few days, experts suggest renting them. In fact, The Home Depot rents over 300 different tools, like a carpet cleaner for $4.50 an hour. Some cities – like Portland, Oregon – have actual libraries that rent tools to residents at no cost.
  • If you haven’t jumped on the iPhone bandwagon yet, why not rent one? It’s a great way to see if you like it, without shelling out the $500. A company called In Touch USA rents iPhones for $89 a week, and iPhone Trip will rent you one for $11 a day.
  • One final item you might want to rent instead of own: a casket. For families who want a public viewing or a service before cremation, some funeral homes offer rental caskets. They’re fitted with an “inner container” that’s removed along with the deceased, leaving the casket available for re-use. It’s good for the environment, and it can save you money, because a new casket can cost $10,000, but the charge to rent one: about $1,000.