Guest post from Laura of Unpunctuated Life
We moved from a mid-sized city to a big city last April; and in the process, I discovered that apartments with a washer and dryer included are fewer and farther between than I had imagined.
“Washer/dryer” and “laundry room” were high on my list of “necessities” in a new place, but as we visited more apartments with only hookups (if that) I realized they weren’t as common as where we came from.
Our choice came down to location, and in the neighborhood where we wanted to live, the apartments just don’t have washers and dryers. We could have lived in a cheaper place, in a less desirable neighborhood, and had a washer and dryer, but we were charmed by the location and felt the sacrifice worth making.
Our apartment complex has a four-washer, four-dryer laundry room that is open to all residents. It costs $1 to wash and $1 to dry. The property manager recommended we look into an appliance rental place, where we could rent a washer and dryer for $35 a month. I also knew that we could find a great deal on them on either Craigslist or at a scratch-and-dent sale.
But the appliances themselves are not the only cost. Dryers are energy intensive, and we knew that in our new city, with its higher cost of living, the utility bills would already take some getting used to. So we’ve placed storage shelves in the space for a washer and dryer, making our 853 square foot apartment feel much more spacious!
Our New Laundry Routine:
Once a month, we walk to our local credit union and withdraw $30 in quarters. Sometimes the teller looks at us like we’re crazy, but other times he or she smiles and says, “Laundry money?”
My laundry budget for the month is $20, if all goes as planned. I wash our sheets and towels in two loads every other week, and clothes in 3-4 loads on the in between weeks. (Yes, we have a lot of clothes to be able to go that long!) I can do up to four large loads at once while I either read in the attached business center or exercise in our complex’s gym, so it’s a very efficient use of my time.
It’s impossible to calculate exactly how much using the washer and dryer would raise our utility bills, but it’s not just about the monthly expense for us. We save by not renting the machines, and we have peace of mind from not worrying about their depreciation if we owned them and the hassle of getting rid of them when the time comes.
It’s perhaps an unusual frugal decision, but one that works for us. For our stage of life it’s perfect!
Laura is a part-time administrative assistant at a Christian non-profit. She and her husband are settling into life in the big city and making frugal choices along the way! Laura is a voracious reader, a homebody with a streak of wanderlust, and a follower of Christ. She blogs about life, recipes, and thrift store bargains at Unpunctuated Life.