Rent or Buy?

It seems abundantly clear to me that I need to get a treadmill at home.

Although I do have access to treadmills at work, I think I need one at home because:

  1. I don’t want to spend all day, every day at work
  2. Those treadmills do have a time limit on them, assuming it’s busy, and as I get into longer distances, I am likely not going to be able to just stay on there for over an hour at a go
  3. The centre is not open every day or at all times I am available to run
  4. I am a fair-weather runner, and it’s turning into winter here and I really need to keep running, even on days when it’s peeing with rain if I am to meet my goal
  5. The daylight hours are shortening. The other day after work I headed out for an 8km run, but got quite nervous about how much daylight I’d have left, so shortened the run to 6km. The sun is going down at 6ish these days, and I really prefer to run in the evenings. Even the mornings don’t offer enough daylight anymore, with the sun up around 6:15. I have not tried running in the dark, though I know lots of people do, but I’m just not sure I’m comfortable with it. Maybe I will have to try someday… but in the meantime, I can run on a treadmill inside, with the lights on and even watch TV if I was really feeling like it.

I know that treadmill running is the poor cousin to road running. I know I should really just ‘toughen up princess’ and get my butt out there rain or shine, but I am happy to be honest with myself.

That is not where I’m at.

So the final question is really whether I should rent or buy a treadmill.

Let’s do some pros and cons and debating about renting versus buying:

  • Renting would cost me about $350 for three months. June, July and August are typically the coldest months, so that could suit quite well.
  • Buying would probably cost me about $2000 for a treadmill that I would be happy to own, so would either mean eating into my savings or waiting awhile longer to save up to make the purchase
  • Rental units tend to be the lower level models, with very few features, and it’s not really my choice, but the choice of the company I rent from
  • If I buy, I can get the features I want
  • Renting the unit means I only have to store it for the term of my contract, and when I am done with it, I can give it back
  • Buying means I’ll always have it, whether I use it or not. The benefit of that is that I could use it any time between now and forever. The negative of that is that I would have to store it, even if it’s not in use.
  • I would expect to use the treadmill no more than two times a week, so over the term of my contract the cost per use is probably about $15 per session for the rental ($350/12 weeks/2 sessions). Running outside is free, so that’s a surprisingly high cost for a run.
  • The cost per session of a purchased treadmill is really a moot point, isn’t it, because the term of use is in years, not weeks.
  • I could buy a second hand one – people are always selling unused treadmills – so I could get a REALLY good bargain if I hunted around
  • I am not really likely to do a good search and get a second hand treadmill. I want the acquisition to be fast and easy.
  • I know people who rented treadmills and then went back and bought one of their own because they really enjoyed having it and used it a lot. Of course, this meant that they kind of wasted that first $350.
  • Then again, I know a lot more people who have bought treadmills and use it pretty much as a place to hang clothes and collect cobwebs. Which am I more likely to be, I wonder?

Hmmm… well that didn’t result in a conclusive answer for me. Would you care to offer an opinion here?

Can’t wait to see the votes roll in!

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