Nobody likes doing the laundry. Well, at least nobody I talk to.
I know for a fact that the Honeybee never looks forward to laundry day. Even so, she won’t let me come anywhere near the washing machine because she hates the way I do laundry. Apparently, mixing whites and colors are a big no-no with her. For someone who hates washing clothes, I consider her stance to be a bit ironic. After all, my way is more efficient than breaking the wash into separate loads — but, hey, what do I know?
Frankly, my banishment from the laundry room is a real sore spot with me, if only because the Honeybee considers any loose change she finds in pockets while sorting clothes — including mine — to be a tip. She tells me her biggest payday was $50. No, that wasn’t my money; it seems that little laundry-day windfall of hers occurred before yours truly came into the picture.
Anyway, knowing the Honeybee’s m.o., I try to never leave any spare change in my pockets. At least not if I can help it.
Unfortunately, I’m not always successful.
Speaking of big laundry paydays, Mom and Dad recently reminded me about how they manage to save a good chunk of change every year just by doing the wash.
It turns out that, way back in 1997, Dad was on an association board for the 108-unit apartment complex where my folks lived. Part of his job was managing the complex’s revenues. That is when he noticed that the washers and dryers in the complex laundry room were raking in $2300 per month. Remember, that is way back in 1997 — that’s equivalent to more than $3700 today!
Eventually, my folks left the apartment and moved into a home of their own. Mom never forgot what Dad had told her about the washer and dryer revenue at their old apartment complex, and that got her thinking: Now that they had their own washer and dryer, they could save a lot of money if they paid themselves $1 every time they washed or dried a load of laundry.
And so that’s what they did. The laundry room was equipped with a coin jar and, from that point on, Mom and Dad started paying themselves four quarters every time they put a load of clothes in their washer or dryer.
They’ve been doing that for years now, and average $400 in savings annually — and that’s just from the laundry for two people!
If I applied that same strategy at our house, we’d save even more. For example, the Honeybee currently averages 32 washer loads per month, plus an additional 32 dryer loads. At $1 per load, that comes to $64 dollars per month.
So over course of year, that comes to $768 in savings — just by doing laundry!
Of course, if we were really serious, we could charge ourselves, say, $2 per load and rake in more than $1500 per year in savings! Just like those “tips” the Honeybee rakes in from me and the kids — and in a relatively painless manner too … one load at at a time.
Photo Credit: Ashley Campbell Photography
Clarisse @ Make Money Your Way says
Such a great tips Len! I used to spent too much also by paying someone to do my laundry, but since I bought a new washer and dryer, I saved a lot from it.
Maybe I missed something Len, but how does paying yourself for doing the laundry save money?
I know you don’t talk to me, but I like doing my laundry. I do it a certain way so I don’t want anyone else doing it. Of course I’m only dealing with my own laundry, not a whole family.
I do agree with you on doing all the colors together. Maybe a brand new red shirt or dark denim jeans I will only wash with other dark clothes. But after that initial wash, they all go together.
Len Penzo says
Think of it as a forced savings account; it’s really no different than using automatic paycheck deductions to painlessly build retirement savings.
We air dry our laundry outdoors when the weather is nice (solar clothes dryer), and on the old fashioned cast iron radiators in the winter. Saves having to run the dryer and pay for the gas and electric the mechanical dryer consumes. Also line dried clothing does not get beaten up and worn as fast as dryer dried clothing. All that lint in the trap is part of your clothing worn off by the action of the dryer. Also line drying is exercise, you don’t have to buy a treadmill if your washer’s in the basement and you line dry outdoors. . In Europe a lot of folks have only a (tiny) washing machine, and a folding rack for drying their clothes.
Len Penzo says
It’s hard to beat the freshness that comes with air-dried clothes, Karen. And you can still pay yourself a buck or two for every load you put on the clothes line!
One way to save money on doing your laundry is to use less laundry detergent than recommended. Unless you get your clothes really filthy from a job or hobby, most clothes need only a light washing. I generally use about half of the recommended amount, and our clothes and other laundry looks fine. Also, if you use less detergent, you’re less likely to need an extra rinse, so you’ll save water, too.
Definitely use a line or rack to dry items that have a lot of elastic/spandex in them, or other delicates. The dryer really destroys those things. They’ll last much longer if air-dried.