Loanables - Page 4 of 6 - Helping save the planet

To Buy or Rent: Boat Edition

It’s summer in Austin, and that means only one thing: it’s hot, hotter & hottest. On more than one occasion I have thought about how nice it would be to own a boat. To get out on the water anytime I want. No need to plan, just be spontaneous. Enjoy the picturesque lake life featured by so many friends’ Insta pics. But not until this summer did I take the time to learn what it would really look like to own a boat, and now I’m thinking twice.

While researching for our summer boat giveaway, we asked a local boat owner about the expenses associated with purchasing and maintaining his awesome wakeboarding boat. Here is what we found:

  • A used wakeboard boat can cost anywhere from about $50k to $150k. A conservative average would be about $80k for a used boat that still has some get up and go.
  • Hopefully you already have a truck or the math will never make sense on this but you’ll definitely need to buy a trailer ($800-$2k) to haul the boat from place to place and get it in and out of the water.
  • Toys: What fun is a boat if you don’t have water equipment like a wakeboard, skis, tubes and the required life jackets? We’ll let you look up costs on the ones you would really use, but trust us, they can get pricey.
  • After a few years of pristine maintenance, you could hopefully sell the boat for a good price, maybe that low end of $50k.
  • A year’s worth of storage, maintenance, equipment insurance, dock fees and fuel runs about $14k.

For our purposes, let’s ignore the purchase and sale, you’re a better negotiator than me, right? So you’ll get a good deal on the buy and sell it for a pretty penny. Let’s just talk annual expenses. $14,000. Assume you LOVE boating and get out on the water every Saturday of the summer, as well as on Memorial Day, 4th of July and Labor Day. You’ll have 17 glorious days on the Lake. Divide that $14k in typical annual expenses by those 17 days and it will cost you $824 each time you use the boat. And remember, we didn’t include actually purchasing the boat, trailer, truck or toys. Yikes!

Make sure you leave 2-3 hours each day of use to prep and clean up after your fun. All equipment like wakeboards, skis, tubes and lifejackets need to be cleaned, maintained and repaired as they are used. Also, plan in a few hours per week throughout the summer to do your repair work like stitching seats and rebuilding the trailer, like Colton did last year.

 

Y’all, this is no longer sounding like much fun. I just want to cool off and have a good time on the water! I don’t want all this work, all these expenses! I just want to be flung off a tube at high speeds, practice my barefoot techniques and throw back a cold one with my friends. I think I’ll stop right here, log on to Loanables.com and request to rent from someone who already owns a boat! See you on the water!

Can you buy Happiness?

father's day

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:

  1. Go play golf.  Even for someone that has never played, it’s fun to try something new.  You can rent golf clubs for only $25!
  2. Go Camping.camping
  3. Have a Game Night.  My husband loves poker so that will be our theme.

Happy Father’s Day to all the Dad’s out there.  I hope you have an awesome experience this year!

 

 

To Buy or Rent: Summer Clothing Edition

Rent or Buy

As I’m shopping for summer wardrobe additions, I can’t help but wonder if I could save money by renting some of the items that I am considering. The more the rental movement grows, the more I am challenging the belief I’ve always had that owning is better. One thing I was surprised to see normalized in the last few years is clothing rentals. I grew up with the mindset that you make an investment in high quality items and you use them forever. This makes a lot of sense for items you will use over and over, for the next few years at least. However, as I really consider this further, I find it actually makes sense to spend less, and perhaps forego ownership all together, on certain items in my wardrobe. Items I only need for one special occasion or that will be such a standout they will be too noticeable to don a second time in the same crowd often do not have a lifetime value equal to the upfront cost. So as I’m considering updates to my wardrobe I’d like to share the items I chose to purchase and those I’ll rent for their specific use. Hopefully my thoughts will help you find ways to save money this summer too!

TO BUY

Printed Shorts

Shorts with a great print are a fabulous update to this summer’s wardrobe. They can be fun and flirty and if you choose one like the floral number below they can be worn a myriad of ways, all summer long. Pair with a contrasting pattern as shown with this floral short, or simplify with denim, black, white, pink, green or yellow shirt. The possibilities are endless!

A different take would be to go for a print on a classic denim short and wear with just about any solid color top you own. These could be a go-to for every day of the summer!

Espadrille

A must-have shoe update for summer is the espadrille. Choose a wedge, a flat with a simple pattern, or a flat with a cute image depending on your preference and keep the colors more neutral or coordinating with the majority of your summer clothes to make these a staple year after year.

 

 

TO RENT

Evening Clutch

How many times have you been in the handbag department stressing about the perfect clutch to go to that wedding or special event? I find myself needing a different one for every outfit because accessories can really make or break the look. But they can also cost a pretty penny! Consider renting this botanical clutch or this neutral metallic snakeskin option to save money since it will likely only get used once or twice.

 

 

Gala or Special Event Dress

Similar to the evening clutch, most gala or special event dresses are expensive and have really limited use. Remember how she promised you would be able to wear that bridesmaid’s dress again? Yeah right! Rent it for a fraction of the cost and avoid that pit in your stomach every time you see the $300 gown you’ve only managed to wear once. Some options include this perfectly pink cocktail dress, this black lace evening gown, and this lace maxi.

 

What else would you consider renting instead of purchasing this summer? I’m thinking a statement necklace for a girl’s night out…cowboy boots for that Texas hill country wedding…maybe even a few sarongs for the beach! If you’ve got something you’d be willing to rent, please list them on www.loanables.com.

TGIF: Planning a trip?

I love summer vacations!   I don’t love buying a bunch of stuff just to take a vacation!  You can rent what you need so you don’t have to store it the rest of the year:

Thule Large Car Top Box Carrier

large car top carrier

Car Seat Travel Bag

Car seat travel bag

Lockable Luggage Box

Cargo box

Beach Tent

Beach tent

Camper

Camper

Do you have any of these things other people can use?  Here are more travel items that people want to rent:

  1. GoPro
  2. Canoe
  3. Scout for carrying a Bob Stroller
  4. Dog Crate
  5. Generator

Why we do what we do:

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 to Make Bean Bags

DIY Bean Bags

During the summer months, I am always looking for creative things to do with my kids that will not only keep them busy for an hour but will give them weeks of happiness and entertainment.  So many of our summer craft projects end up in a pile of “completed work” or as a temporary decoration for the refrigerator so I am always excited when I find a project that doubles as a toy!

Last summer, I decided to make bean bags with my kids and they were a HUGE hit! Not only are they great for playing corn hole, you can make up games throwing them in empty cardboard boxes, have a bean bag fight, and the list goes on.  Plus, they are SUPER easy to make (with a little help for young kids) and really cute – you can even give them as homemade gifts.

Materials
  1. Fabric – I used scraps of lightweight canvas and made 3” x 6” bean bags (so you would need 2 3” x 6” pieces for each bag).  If you don’t have fabric scraps, an old pair of jeans works great!
  2. Thread
  3. Sewing pins
  4. Dried beans (I used dried pinto beans because that’s what I had)
  5. OPTIONAL: sewing machine or serger (I think kids love to use a sewing machine and it makes the project move faster so you can get more bean bags during their attention span)
  6. OPTIONAL: cutting mat and rotary cutter (Makes it a lot faster and easier)
Instructions
  1. Cut out your beanbag front and back 3”x6” using a rotary cutter and mat (parental help needed).  If you want to try this out and don’t own one, you can always rent one here.  You can always draw a rectangle on your fabric with a sharpie or pencil and cut it out using scissors.
  2. Put the wrong sides of the front and back pieces together and sew around the edges of 3 sides leaving one of the short sides open.  You can either use an overlock stitch on a serger or a zig zag stitch on a regular sewing machine (available for rent here).  I let my kids sit on my lap and do the sewing which they thought was a lot of fun!
  3. Fill the bag with beans through the open end.
  4. Pin the open side closed using sewing pins.
  5. Sew across the open side to close the beanbag using a serger or a zig zag stitch.  If you use a serger you need to be careful to take out the pins before sewing.
  6. Play!  My kids are still playing with these a year later.  We even rented a Corn hole game (available here) when we had some friends over recently and my kids loved playing with (and showing off) their own homemade bean bags!
corn hole set

Top 5 Things People Search that We Don’t Have (or don’t have enough of)

I bet you have things sitting in your closet or garage that others want to use.  If we can start sharing, we don’t have to buy so much stuff, which means we will reduce our carbon footprint!

Here are the most common items people want to rent but there is little to no inventory:

  1. Dog crate
  2. Riding Lawn Mower
  3. GoPro camera
  4. Sewing Machine
  5. Treadmill

If you have these things and want to make some money, please list them.

Why we do what we do:

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.

Reduce overconsumption

 

3 Things Men do Better than Women

Toot Horn

1. Toot their Own Horn. The National Women’s Business Council reports that  “Female entrepreneurs start companies with 50% less capital than male entrepreneurs.”  I am actually living this reality right now with Loanables, but I must also admit I haven’t actually asked anyone to invest yet. Many women downplay their accomplishments; whereas most men see it more like Muhammad Ali who said “It’s not bragging if you can back it up.”

Mom and son

2.  Feel good about their parenting.  A study in the Journal of Health and Social Behavior found that women actually felt 30 percent more guilty and distressed than their male partners when they had to mix work and home responsibilities. There is even a name for what women have; it’s called “mom guilt”. I saw this fantastic illustration once that had a dad snuggling his child. The dad had one thought bubble that said “I’m an awesome dad”.  Next to it was a picture of a mom snuggling the child. She had about 50 thought bubbles ranging from “I shouldn’t have yelled” to “I need to make sure they are eating healthier” to “I need to play with them more” and on and on. (If anyone knows where I can find this illustration, please tell me. I’ve looked everywhere to no avail.)  

 

3.  Say no and don’t give it another thought. I have absolutely no scientific proof to back this one up, but seriously, I can’t tell you how many conversations I’ve had with female friends about needing to say no to things. I have never once had this conversation with a man. Men if you have this problem, please speak up and correct me here. Ladies, if you want to work on this too, read this to learn the art of saying no. 

So, next time you see me and I ask you for money, tell you what a great mom I am, or answer “no” to anything you ask me to do, just know I’m working on it 😉

Loanables Introduces All In Bundles

Ultimate Office Party

Introducing…All In Bundles.  These bundles contain everything you need for a unique experience.  Check these out:

Ultimate Office Party

Rent Beer Pong

Retro Birthday Picnic

Shrimp Boil

Outdoor Movie Night

Inflatable Movie Screen

Sleepover with Grandparents

Grandparent Weekend

Sous Vide Cooking

Sous Vide Cooker

Camping

Ice Cream Party

Ice Cream Party

Bachelor Party

Bachelor Party

Memorial Day Party

Backyard BBQ

Have ideas for more bundles, email info@loanables.com.  We will even design a custom bundle that fits your needs!

Individual users can create bundles, too.  If you have the stuff for an awesome experience, help us stop over-consumption!  We can save the environment one rental at a time.

 

5 Ways to Teach Kids Business Skills This Summer

Looking for some ways to teach your kids about business this summer? Here are our top 5 ideas along with the business concepts to teach!

1)    Lemonade Stand with a Twist: We will start with the obvious. Setting up a lemonade stand can be a great way for kids to learn the basics of business. But, consider how you can make yours more unique! What if you sold snow cones, cotton candy or popcorn? You might get more takers with bigger smiles on their faces! This can teach kids the importance of differentiating yourself from the competition, or providing a unique product. It may also require a little investment up front, like purchasing or renting the equipment, which further teaches kids that there are costs to getting started in business. These costs need to be considered in the pricing of the end product. Help them price competitively and appropriately to cover all costs and have some profit!

2)    Provide a Service: For older kids, a great way to teach business skills is to provide a service like pet sitting or lawn care services. Start by figuring out which service offering is best for your kiddo. Help them research responsibilities and reasonable price points for what they will offer. Then, have the budding entrepreneur create a flyer to post in the neighborhood. Or, utilize their tech skills by posting their services on NextDoor. Finally, help them learn how to respond and follow up with potential customers, keeping dates and instructions straight. Some kids may need some direct parental supervision as they get these businesses going! Since this doesn’t involve selling a product, use this to teach kids about the value of their time.

Grandparent Weekend3)    Rent out Things They Own: Let the kids take a look at their toy bins and play items in the garage. Find a few things they could live without for a day or a week in exchange for some cold, hard cash. Then, snap a pic and post them for rent on Loanables.com. Bikes & toys can be grouped into packages for grandparents to use when their families come to town. Use this opportunity to teach kids about return on investment (ROI). {You purchase something for x money, then rent it out y times for z money. What was your ROI?}

4)    Sell Items They’ve Made: Farmers Markets, Makers Markets and various vendor shows are popping up all over town. Or gather a group of people to start your own! Find a fun activity like making bath bombs or other handmade items and sell them in a booth. There is no better way to learn to sell than to be face to face with customer after customer in this type of environment. These projects can show kids how they have the skills to create something of value (that others will pay money for). They just need to tap into their own creativity!

 

5)    Send them to a Business Skills Camp: Moolah U is Austin’s Original Pop-Up Business Camp, providing a unique opportunity to learn about money. Campers bring their creative ideas to the group, which researches and determines what will be most profitable. Through experiential learning and as-needed guidance, teams create and market their products to patrons at local area restaurants. They make real money and learn responsibility and accountability in this hands-on business building experience! Check out camp locations and dates here.

UPDATE: Moolah U has offered a $25 discount for Loanablog readers! To save on your camp registration use code SHARE2017

A Great Preschool Party Theme!

Peace, Love & Preschool

My kids’ preschool has a family day every year where families can go and see their children’s artwork, have lunch, and socialize with their kids’ friends and their families.  This year, I was put in charge of Family Day and while it was a lot of work, it turned out great and I am already looking forward to chairing next year’s event.  I thought our theme was adorable and easy; so, the whole event is begging to be replicated!  Here’s what we did:
First, we came up with a theme.  Given the times, we went with Peace, Love, and Preschool (insert the name of the school here).  We decided to go with peace signs, bright colors, and 60’s garb.  We quickly had some invitations mocked up inviting all of the families to come, bring a picnic blanket (think 60’s music festivals), and enjoy the day.
Next, we broke into 3 committees: food, entertainment, and decorations and let the creative juices of each committee flow.
 
Food – being in Austin, we decided to stick with Food Trucks.  Since we weren’t offering tables or chairs, we went with food you could eat standing up – Corn Dogs, Funnel Cakes, and Sno-cones.  We used:
Hands Off My Funnel Cake and Kona Ice.  They both drove their trailers right into the preschool parking lot and set up shop. These are both really affordable options for a school sponsored event OR if you are asking everyone to pay for their own food.
We also offered bottled water and Lemonade which we served in dispensers like the ones here.
 
Entertainment:
– Face Painters and Balloon Artists – we hired 2 of each to keep the kids happy and entertained.  We used Epic Entertainment and they were great!  My girls ended up with the fanciest balloon animals I have ever seen – hard to part with when they pop but really fun to play with!
– Spin Art – we bought some spin art machines like these and cut our own paper to size (although you could easily buy it).  We added a clothes line and clothes pins to hang the art around the party to dry.  It was really cute!
– Kids Karaoke – We set up a stage out of wooden crates on the playground and hooked the karaoke machine (rentable here) up to a kids dance mix.  We also bought props for the kids – Inflatable GuitarsGlitter Microphones, SunglassesNecklaces, and some hippie vests we made out of paper bags and then let the kids decorate (here’s how).  This activity was a hit.  The kids loved it!
Decorations – we had an amazing decorations committee and we ended up with:
– Event T-shirts which we sold before and at the event itself.  At my house, we have to “doctor” all of our outfits to make them as girly as possible so the shoulder ribbons are definitely an add-on.
– A “photo booth” VW bus made out of a large piece of white corrugated cardboard sheets from Office Depot.  We duct taped it to kids chairs which acted as both a stand and as something for the kids to stand on while we took their pictures.
– Cardboard Peace Signs Decorated with plastic flowers.  There are tons of ideas for this on Pinterest – here’s a cute one
– LOTS of balloons – Both Tie Dye and White balloons with daisies on the ribbons – something like these but substitute your favorite hippie flower
– And a few other things we picked up on Amazon like these.hippie decorations
Of course we also brought in a few folding tables and chairs for the face painters, spin art, and lemonade – you can rent those on loanables.com here and here.  It was great art and great company.  The party was a HUGE success!