MIAMI — Cassandra Smith spends $800 a month renting designer handbags and leases a luxury condo in downtown Miami. Environmentalist Zoee Turrill helped create a bike-sharing program at the University of Denver.

MIAMI — Cassandra Smith spends $800 a month renting designer handbags and leases a luxury condo in downtown Miami. Environmentalist Zoee Turrill helped create a bike-sharing program at the University of Denver.

Though they might seem to come from different ends of the consumption spectrum, they have something in common: They're not buying things.

The rise of rental or borrowing services catering from everyone from fashionistas to environmentalists has even spawned a marketing buzzword: the "transumer."

It's a lifestyle that's "less about treasure and more about pleasure," according Reinier Evers of Trendwatching, an Amsterdam-based market-research firm that coined the term.

It almost seems anti-American to rent, rather than buy; a look at the popular reality TV show "Clean House" is a testament to Americans' love of accumulating stuff. But Evers says that in this global recession, people are warming to the idea of renting, and not buying, certain goods — because of cost, ease or space considerations.

"On the one hand, you have consumers who want to collect as many experiences and part-time possessions as possible," Evers said. "And then there are transumers who value nonownership for environmental reasons: to only use something when you really need it, which involves everything from renting to passing something on to the next person."

From rented Chanel sunglasses to the auto-sharing service Zipcars to fractional ownership of a jet to movies from Netflix, the pickings are good for transumers.

"It's kind of a sister-cousin concept to materialism, which is attachment to possessions. Transumerism, coming from the term transient, it's more 'I don't want to be attached to the possession' more 'I'm attached to the experiences,' " said Alexandra Aguirre Rodriguez, assistant marketing professor at Florida International University.

In recent years, many more companies are renting things at all levels: Wear Today, Gone Tomorrow rents designer clothes (A $495 Vera Wang rents for $49 a week, plus a $10 cleaning charge), Rentobile leases the latest in cell phones and irent2u rents almost anything (think ladders and power tools) in a Craigslist-like setting.

Even the nonprofit DogsAspen in Colorado is unintentionally getting in on the transumer act; the "Rent A Pet" program allows resort visitors who have been forced to leave pets at home "the opportunity to fill the void by spending a day outside the shelter with one of the animals."

There's even a Web site devoted to high-end transumerism. UK-based FractionalLife.com is a portal for those seeking to share Ferraris, art, holiday homes and even racehorses.

"Luxury is perhaps not what you own, but what you do," says Piers Brown, founder of Fractional Life.