Why it pays to ‘try before you buy’

The benefits of ‘hire power’

Experian – Consumer Credit Reference Agency

by Laura Whitmore | Irish broadcaster and actress

Supporting Virgin Money to spread the word about ‘hire power’

At Virgin Money we’ve researched how millennials manage their money and we believe this generation is leading a new social trend – one that we’re calling ‘Hire Power’. Millennials are living a ‘try before you buy’ lifestyle in order to test things out before making long term commitments and are choosing to loan rather than own as a way to have much more financial freedom.

We caught up with broadcaster Laura Whitmore to find out how she embraces her ‘hire power’ to have more flexibility in her life.

Laura on fashion

‘I’m a huge fashion fan, but I’m becoming more and more aware of not buying clothes that I don’t really need. Wearing an outfit once for a big occasion and then leaving it in the wardrobe to gather dust just isn’t sustainable. 

‘I remember staying with a friend in New York who said she had to pop up the road to choose an outfit for a big event at New York Fashion Week. When I asked her about it she told me she had signed up to a pay monthly service where she could borrow designer outfits for the night – my mind was blown! We can do that in the UK now through apps like My Wardrobe and Hurr. It’s great as you can borrow a dress for the evening and then return it the next day for someone else to enjoy, all while saving on the cost of buying the dress too. 

‘Also, I once saw a designer piece I could hire which I was originally going to buy. When I hired it, I realised that I didn’t really like it as much as I thought I did so saved myself from wasting a lot of cash. It makes so much sense to make the most of high fashion in this way, and it is far more sustainable.’ 

Laura on food

‘I’m a fan of a subscription food box. It makes you feel like a professional chef when you put your creation on the table. You don’t have to spend time sourcing and buying ingredients and weighing everything out, it’s all there in a box for you. The recipes are usually quick and simple so you can whip up dinner like a pro in no time. 

'I know this way of preparing your evening meal could be a little more expensive than if you bought all the ingredients yourself, but for the little extra cost I think it’s worth it as you get to try out new flavours without spending a fortune on full-sized ingredients that you may never use again! And it’s a chance to ensure you eat something healthy at the end of a busy day.’

Laura on beauty

‘You can’t beat a beauty subscription box for being able to try before you buy. With all of the mini samples you receive it’s easy to find the products that work for you so you can then go out and buy the full size version. Gone are the days of buying a lipstick that never gets used or a bottle of perfume that’s left on the bathroom shelf. Another good tip is to keep some of the samples to make up small presents or stocking fillers, so absolutely nothing gets wasted!’

Laura on music

‘I love music. I moved a few months ago and I had boxes and boxes of CDs that I had collected over the years and I chose to give them all away to charity, other than a few sentimental albums, because I don’t have the space to store these. I’ve hardly bought any CDs for the past few years – instead I use Spotify and iTunes so I can take my whole library with me and have my music on demand. And the great thing about this is that I can turn these services off and save the money if I need to. It’s another way to declutter while having lots of music at my fingertips.'   

Laura on friends

'"Hire power" is really escalating in popularity with my friendship group. A few of us have rented homes in different areas to help us to decide where we want to live, and we all stream music and films pretty much daily. One other way we are being savvier with money is by chopping and changing services following the trial period, so you can make the most of sign-up offers and really embrace the essence of "hire power".'

How will you use your ‘hire power’? Tell us on social media by tagging us on Twitter or Instagram and use #HirePower in your comments!

Research conducted with 2,000 UK millennials in August 2019.

Before making financial decisions always do research, or talk to a financial adviser. Views are those of our mentors and customers and do not constitute financial advice.