When I first starting looking at linen rental prices, I thought, “This is crazy. I can buy for less than that!.” Sometimes, that is in fact true, but there are other things to consider. So, why do people rent if it is cheaper to buy?!?!
Here are 3 things to think about before you decide between renting and buying linens for your event:
If you choose to purchase, you need to plan on ironing or steaming the linens the day of the event. When you purchase linens, they come folded, and there are deep creases in them. Sometimes, they also have a factory smell to them. Many people prefer cleaning before using them the first time to get rid of that smell. If you buy, plan on cleaning twice: before and after your event.
If you choose to rent, the linens will be delivered to you clean and steamed. They are ready to use. And, when the event it over, all you have to do is give them back to the rental company.
It costs $10-15 to dry clean a tablecloth. That is often higher than the purchase price. Now, if you purchase a polyester tablecloth, you can launder those yourself, but you will need to iron or press them after they are clean. When deciding whether to rent or buy, make sure you factor this in unless you plan to just throw them away afterwards. (I’d be remiss if I did not add…please don’t throw them away. We don’t need more stuff in the landfill – at least donate them.)
You can typically resell your linens for about 1/2 the price you paid. But, keep in mind, most people purchasing will require them to be clean and stain free. Also, it is likely that at least one of the tablecloths will get ruined or stained (especially if you are serving red wine).
I’m doing this calculation today for an event we are currently planning at my kids’ school:
The co-chairs have picked out beautiful, silver, satin tablecloths. These tablecloths are $24.95 to rent, and they need 50 . That is $1247.50 just for tablecloths (I gulp every time I see that price)! So, of course, my gut reaction was “let’s just buy these.” We found similar tablecloths on Amazon for $16.78 including shipping (they are not Prime eligible). So, they will cost us $839 to purchase.
For simplicity sake, let’s say they arrive from the factory and don’t have a bad smell. Also, since it’s a school event, we can probably find a volunteer willing to iron or steam them before the event. (I am, however, nervous about being able to transport them without them getting wrinkled. I’m not sure we will want this extra stress with everything else going on the day of the event).
After the event, though, we will have to clean them before we can sell them. My local cleaner quoted me $11.50. That will be an additional $575 so my total costs is $1414.
I believe I could resell them for $8 each. Of the 50, I’m going to assume 2 of them (about 5%) came back with stains that the cleaners could not remove. I’ve got 48 for resell at $8 each, which equals $384.
So, here’s the breakdown:
$839 (to purchase) + $575 (to clean) = $1414 – $384 (resell value) = $1030 total cost to purchase vs. $1247.50 total cost to rent.
The difference is $217.50. Is it worth my time to iron them beforehand, take them to the cleaners afterwards, and find a buyer plus probably ship them to the buyer? I could easily argue both sides, and I think it comes down to a personal choice and deciding where you want to spend your budget and your time.
Also, don’t forget I’m taking a risk – if the tablecloths arrive with a factory smell, I have to clean them before the event. The total purchase expense in that case would be more than renting ($1605 to buy vs $1247.50 to rent). I have to decide if I’m willing to take that risk and do the extra work.
If the rental price is less than the purchase price, it is always better to rent than to buy (even if only by a small amount).
It isn’t so black and white when the rental price is more than the purchase price. The main thing you need to consider is what your time is worth. I’m not a professional party planner so my personal rule is:
If you are planning a wedding or other event that has a bar, you need to figure out how many glasses you will need for the entire night. Below is the calculation we use at Loanables to help our customers.
You should assume that each guest will have one drink per hour. Yes, I know some will have more, but some will also have less. Unless your party is mostly college students, this formula works:
Total number of guests X the length (in hours of the party) = the total number of drinks
So, if you are expecting 500 guests for 4 hours, you should plan on 2000 drinks being served.
Forty percent of all drinks are beer.
In our example above, 2000 drinks x 40% = 800.
I recommend serving beer in the bottles so you don’t have to rent and/or clean all of these glasses. But, if you are getting a keg, plan for 800 pilsner glasses or beer mugs.
Sixty percent of the remaining drinks will be wine.
We will serve a total of 2000 drinks, but 800 of those will be beer. That leaves 1200 drinks, of which 60% will be wine. (1200 x 60% = 720). In this example, we need 720 wine glasses.
The remaining glasses will be all purposes glasses. In our example, we needed a total of 1200 glasses. We got 720 wine glasses so we need 480 all purposes glasses.
I recommend rocks glasses. These can be used for non-alcoholic and specialty drinks. This is the most economical way to go as almost all rental companies have this glass.
If so reduce all counts by 25%.
Beer Glasses (unless serving in bottles): 800
Wine Glasses: 720
All Purpose Glasses: 480
Next: check out this blog to find out how much alcohol you should buy.
We teamed up with local, Austin company Lux Limo for a giveaway of a 3 hour rental in their Mercedes Sprinter Limo that seats 14 passengers. Last Friday, we met two of the owners (Shawn and Andrea McAdams) at the Pennybacker Bridge to announce the giveaway on Facebook live. I love entrepreneurs; so, afterwards, we sat down with them inside the limo and I asked them how they got started and why they do what they do.
When you hear the owners of Lux Limo talk about what they do, you can feel their passion. Tears came to their eyes (and mine) when they told a recent story of facilitating a magical engagement. You can see the joy in their smiles when they talk about driving wedding parties. And, their pride is evident when they discuss quality control and keeping clients safe. I asked them if they ever escorted any local celebrities. They do. I tried to get some juicy stories, but wouldn’t you know it, they abide by strict confidentiality policies for all of their clientele.
Here is a clip of my favorite story they told. I’ve never heard a more romantic engagement proposal:
This clip tells how Shawn and Andrea teamed up with Blair and Julie Drenner to start Lux Limo:
Here is a clip explaining why you should only used a licensed transportation service (don’t use a “gypsy limo”):
Lux Limo is an independent, locally owned business. Here’s why I ❤️ local businesses:
Starbucks introduced sous vide egg bites in January, and they sell out nearly every day. Up until a few months ago, I hadn’t ordered them because I didn’t even know what sous vide meant. I finally tried them since I’m trying to eat less carbs, and now I understand all the hype. They are delicious and relatively healthy.
That innocent breakfast order sucked me down a rabbit hole. There is an entire sous vide cult! Seriously, there are sous vide message boards, sous vide magazines, entire cook books of sous vide recipes, sous vide groups, etc. Who knew?!?
So what is it?
Sous Vide is French for “Under Vacuum”. Food is put in a vacuum-sealed bag and cooked in a water bath. It is often referred to as “precision” cooking because it comes out perfectly every time.
My husband and I love to cook; so, of course we wanted to try it out. We couldn’t find one to rent and didn’t know anyone that had one; so, we ended up buying one. (I posted it for rent on Loanables if you’re interested.)
We cooked a pork tenderloin (see recipe we followed here). It is so easy: seal the ingredients; set the temperature and timer; sear; enjoy! While it was cooking, we visited with our company instead of slaving over a hot stove! It turned out great. What we found is that you need to season more than you would for a grill to get the same flavor, but the meat is definitely more juicy and tender.
My favorite part…
It was so easy to clean up. Throw away the bag, dump out the water, and Voila – you’re done!
Here are some other recipes that we’ve tried and enjoyed:
Sous Vide Filet Mignon Recipe (You can get great quality cuts at Costco for $22.99 per pound.)
Sous Vide Egg Recipe (If you love Eggs Benedict, you will love these!)
Sous Vide Thin Cut French Fry Recipe (These are amazing.)
I love this list of 17 Foods You Didn’t Know You Could Cook Sous Vide.
Here are 2 Secret Ingredients we Love:
Have fun on your journey down the rabbit hole – we did 😉
Throwing a great party means having great food. But, sometimes the food part can be stressful – it’s either a ton of work or you have to pay someone else to do it. I love shrimp boils because cooking the shrimp is entertainment for the guests. My husband’s favorite past time is standing around a burner or grill and watching something cook while drinking a beer with friends. (If you have an outdoor TV, turn a game on and everyone is happy for hours).
The great news is that you don’t have to be an excellent chef to pull it off. It’s fun and easy.
The first rule in cooking shrimp is DO NOT OVERCOOK THEM. When they are overcooked, they are hard to peel. Also, remember when you take them out, they can continue to cook from all of the steam.
Boil the water and seasonings (we recommend Slap Ya Mama). Add potatoes and cook for 5 minutes. Add onions and sausage and cook for an additional 15 minutes. Add corn and cook another 10 minutes. Add the shrimp and cook 3 minutes and then pull all the ingredients out in the strainer. Don’t cook the shrimp more than 3 minutes. See more details here.
All grocery stores carry shrimp. If you are having a large party, you should preorder to make sure they have enough. Here are our favorite places to buy shrimp in Austin:
Lastly, if you’re in Austin and don’t have the pot and burner, you can rent it here.
It’s summer and way too hot to go tent camping near Austin. But, it’s NOT too early to start planning and booking spots for the fall.
McKinney Falls State Park – within Austin city limits, you can camp, hike, bike and swim! They have 81 campsites (starting at $20) and 6 newly remodeled cabins ($86). It’s also a really fun place for geocaching. (My kids LOVE this. You can get the app on your smartphone, find the treasure with GPS coordinates, sign the log book and trade a family-friendly item with something in the cache.)
Pace Bend Park – enjoy beautiful, sunset views of Lake Travis. They have 20 campsites with water and electrical hook-ups ($20) and over 400 primitive spots ($15 per vehicle). You can reserve the improved sites, but the primitive spots are on a first come, first server basis. Make sure to visit nearby Hamilton Pool – it’s one of Austin’s most beautiful treasures. If you go May 1 – September 20, you have to make a reservation.
Pedernales Falls – great mountain biking trails, plus you can tube on the river. They have 69 campsites with water and electric hook-ups ($20) and numerous primitive sites ($10). If you are into mountain biking, this is the place to go.
Blanco State Park – fish, swim and boat. They have 29 sites with water and electrical hook-ups (starting at $20). They also have 7 Screened Shelters ($30) – no AC, but they have fans. If fishing is your primary camping activity, this is the place for you.
Palmetto State Park – called the “Central Texas Tropics” because it enjoys multiple sources of water. You can swim, tube, fish and canoe. They have 19 tent sites ($12) and 18 sites with water and electrical hook-ups (starting at $18). They also have a group camping area for up to 100 ($60). The San Marcos river has a steady current with no rapids making it a favorite for those that love to canoe.
Campfire foil packs – I love these because you can make them ahead of time and then just throw them on the fire.
Cinnamon Roll Ups – The kids love these, and you can indulge since you are burning so many calories with all the activities
Camp Cooker Pizza – As you’ve guessed by now, I have kids, and what kid doesn’t love pizza?
Red Wine Marinated Hanger Steaks – If you feel like getting fancy, this recipe will not disappoint.
Fire Roasted Salmon with Herbs and Lemon – You can also use fresh fish that you catch with this one – so delicious.
If you don’t have the gear, you can rent it here.
It took us 2 months of working part-time on the weekends (10 days total) and about $1500 in supplies, but we built the coolest playhouse:
My kids loved it and played in it every day for at least 2 weeks (it does still get a lot of play when friends come over). Today they had a water balloon fight from it.
Here’s how it started…my sister-in-law is a super-crafty mom (the kind that makes you feel wholly inadequate but she’s so nice you can’t hate her for it). She found this playhouse from The Handmade Home and they built it in a couple of weekends:
Of course when my kids saw it, they had to have it! Here’s the problem though: my husband LOVES to build stuff but refuses to read directions! So, we loosely followed the directions for the Handmade Hideaway and modified them as we went along.
I put all the tools we used up on Loanables to rent for $50 a month for anyone that lives in Austin. You can find that listing here.
There are 5 parts to this project:
The last thing to do was finish it out – by far my favorite part. I bought outdoor, striped curtains on Overstock.com. I chose the color “spa”, but there are several fun colors. The “Admiral” blue would be really cute, too. You should be able to find one that goes with whatever color theme you already have going on outside. (The Handmade Home also gives some good tips for how to make the curtains hang correctly on their blog.)
I really wanted something cute for the porch and found these not-too-expensive kid’s Adirondack chairs.
I put plastic table and chairs on the inside where my daughter likes to play school or do art. Upstairs, I put some kids folding chairs and a table that we already had. Mostly, though they like to play and yell down at whoever isn’t up there. Here are some items I finished it out with:
This really was a fun project for our family, even though there were times during the project that I thought we would never finish and regretted starting it. Now that it is done, I’m really glad we did it. My kids are so proud of it, and they have a playhouse that they will use for a few short years and the memories that will last forever.
P.S. Tim (my husband) and I are happy to answer any questions if you decide to take on this project.
We’ve had some awesome items posted lately so I bring you the top 10:
The U.S.A. makes up 5% of the world’s population but uses 25% of the natural resources and creates 50% of the solid waste. (Worldwatch Institute).
At Loanables, we believe that people over-consume because there is not a good alternative to buying. Our mission is to make it as easy to rent as it is to buy. We are focused on giving consumers access to the things they want without ownership.
How do celebrate the 4th of July: play baseball, eat a hot dog and pop some fireworks. You’re done.
But what if you live somewhere like Austin where it is too hot to be outside playing baseball in the middle of the day? Or what if you are a vegan? Or what if you live in the city that doesn’t allow fireworks of if there is a burn ban because it’s so dry. Well, here are some ideas for you..you high-maintenance American 😉
I’m NOT crafty by any stretch of the imagination, but I’m pretty sure I could pull this off. Big tarp or thick trash bags, dish soap, a water hose and voila – you have a fun-filled afternoon.
Check out these Vegan Ice Cream recipes (it says they are better than the real thing!) Want to make a big batch for a party, rent an ice cream maker. And if you aren’t vegan, here are 13 delicious recipes (including s’mores)!
So, you can’t pop fireworks, but sparklers usually steal the show anyway. Here are some creative sparker photography tips.
However you choose to celebrate, I hope you have fun.
Are the best things in life free? It’s hard to believe they are when we are constantly inundated with marketing taunting all the latest and greatest things available to buy. I know from personal experience, I may not think I “need” anything, but the moment I step foot into a mall, I start wanting a lot. And, I have to admit there is a bit of high that comes right when you make a purchase. This got me thinking…what does the science say?
Two professors from Cornell University and The University of Colorado at Boulder published this study: To Do or To Have? That is the Question. It’s a fascinating study (if you are a nerd like me and like to read that sort of thing). The gist: investing in life experiences makes people happier; material purchases do not.
Since Father’s Day is next weekend, it got me thinking about doing stuff with my father instead of buying him something. I only remember one gift I’ve given my dad on Father’s day (and I’m 40). When I first moved to Austin 17 years ago, I got us rowing lessons at the Texas Rowing Center. We both loved it and still talk about going back.
This year, my father and my husband will get experiences. Here’s what’s on my list:
Happy Father’s Day to all the Dad’s out there. I hope you have an awesome experience this year!