ABC7 On Your Side: Renting vs. buying

LOS ANGELES It's one of the first things we learn as kids and now the concept of sharing is all grown up. Some call it "rentalism" or Zipcar capitalism.

"If you can be assured of having a car when you need it, then why not share cars?" asks Ron Holden, Zipcar driver.

Car rental is just the beginning. Dwindling credit, pay cuts and job losses are responsible for a shift in how we spend.

The average U.S. person consumes twice as much as they did 50 years ago. Annie Leonard's "The Story of Stuff" project, and soon to be book, talks about how more stuff can become a burden, not a bonus.

More Americans are shying away from ownership and choosing to save money, space and natural resources. Since 2004, Zipcar's membership has grown 100-percent annually.

On, you can rent jewelry and sunglasses. is the Netflix version for baby toys. On, you can even rent art.

The advantage is you can have different pieces at different times and you don't have to keep the same piece and also economically I think it would be less expensive.

Not only less expensive, less taxing on the environment and less of a hassle.

"I don't think the way we have been living the last couple of decades is normal. I think that was the aberration, we are getting back to normal now. We are getting back to realizing that more and more stuff is not really what makes us happy," said Leonard.

Annie doesn't anticipate that rentalism will go away anytime soon. In fact, FLEXPETZ shows us the evolution of what you no longer have to own. That company makes it possible to rent man's best friend.

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