Rent or buy? Frugal Singaporeans rejecting ownership

Why pay out for something you’re only going to use once?

Over half of people in Singapore would rather rent a consumer product than pay full price to own it, it seems.

According to figures produced by a leading Singapore-based financial services and advice website, frugal islanders are finding that rental often provides better value than buying an item outright. says that whether it’s a luxury item that’s only going to be used once, or something like a large-screen television that might need replacing in a few years for the latest technology, many people are finding that temporary possession beats ownership hands down.

“We’re finding a culture of rental that’s based almost entirely on good financial sense,” says ‘s Mark Hall. “In fact, people are saying rental makes their financial affairs easier when it comes to budgeting.”

A phone survey of over 1200 people on behalf of found that:

• 55% would rent an expensive item if they were only going to use it once
• 48% would rent consumer electronics that are likely to become out-of-date in a short period instead of buying

People who spoke to said “single use” items included renting a car for a short period, or renting good suits for a wedding or event. Others also said they’d rent expensive audio-visual equipment to record an important family or social occasion.

One fan of rental services told “We don’t have a car, but we rent one periodically to go over to Malaysia. Makes sense, saves us a small fortune.”

“What we’re seeing here is a renaissance in the rental sector,” said’ s Mark Hall, “While rental is seen as the refuge of the less well off in other parts of the world, affluent people here are taking short-term contracts as a savvy financial decision.”

This comparison is particularly true in the case of medium-to-long term rental of consumer electronics, says. While TV rental has virtually died out in other countries, there’s a growing trend in Singapore for people who’d rather not spend thousands of dollars on soon-to-be outdated gear.

As one person put it: “Why do I want to spend thousands of dollars on a top-of-the-range TV when it’s not going to be top-of-the-range in 18 months? I want flexibility in my life.”

Another said: “I simply can’t afford to buy right now. Paying monthly on rental with the protection of my credit card is enormously important to me.”

“The call for flexibility is an important point,” says Mark, “Do your research and find a good rental contract and you’ll be saving money month after month.”

There’s no right or wrong in choosing between paying for major purchases or entering a rental contract, says. However, money-wise Singaporeans can see great value and savings when opting to rent rather than buy outright.

“It’s your money, after all,” says Mark, “Let it look after you.”