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.
In my twenties, I had a studio apartment and no laundry facilities. I have so many fond memories of going to the laundry mat! I met a friend for breakfast every Saturdaythen went to the laundry mat. I loved being able to do it all at once…and big folding tables. I brought a book while waiting.
When my husband and I were first married, out apartment had laundry facilities…but it was small. Communication with the other tenants was important, as was punctuality in changing the loads. Not fun, but do-able.
Now with three kids and my own laundry room, I miss those single days!
I too have a budget for laundry as well. I costs $1.50 each to wash and dry our laundry and the washers/dryers are not very big. I cap my laundry allowance at $15/week or $60 a month(I just load mine onto a card). Most times though, I’m only washing clothes 4x a week, instead of 5 as I allow. And that is just for 3 of us! I have been frugal though. If I know I have to work that day, I just take a shower right before I head to class, then wear my scrubs there since I have to work after class is over anyhow- no sense in washing clothes that I have only worn for a few hours! The way I break it up is 1 load of towels, one or two loads of blacks/darks(this is just my husband and I), one load of colors(this is ALL my daughters!) and then occasionally whites- alot of the times, I mix the whites with the towels since alot of the whites are just under shirts for me(for work) and socks. If not whites- then I rotate weekly with bedding
Jeff Crews says
I opted for renting a washer/dryer combo for my apartment. The convenience s great for me. I was debating what I would do for a while, but I am glad I decided to rent.
Well….I gather there are only 2 of you….
Try 5 people and one who works outside lawnscaping every day….whew the smell would kill you if I waited that long to wash his clothes, let alone if he had that many to last:-)!
$20.00 a month to do laundry is wonderful….yes, it costs me much more, but I easily do at least one load if not 2 loads a day (remember that lawnscaper son). I have a king size bed and while my washer is a large front loader….about all it holds is the king size sheets, a couple of towels and a few small things (and sorry, I wash my sheets weekly) That leaves my other 2 beds, but one is dark blue and the other is cream….not washing them together…
I also live in FL and the idea of washing our towels every 2 weeks….they would always smell like mildew, clean or otherwise. Down here a towel can only be use 2 maybe three times before it starts smelling (I actually do a load of towels daily to keep them from mildewing)….I would have to have a bunch of towels to only do them every 2 weeks (and the smell!!).
Not much depreciation in a washer and a dryer (they aren’t cars)….If you buy new (and I would recommend new unless you are married to “Bob Villa” which I am). Buy really good ones; spend somewhere around $1500 t0 $2000 (I said buy good ones) they will last you for 15 to 20 years (at least)….that comes out to about $100 per year. I have been married for 25 years and have only replaced my set once (my husband had a new set when we got married….the washer gave out after 18 years and 3 kids). Now the electricity and water, yes that is a cost, but the convenience in the long run far out ways the cost:-)!
When single I used a laundry facility (prices sure have gone up) and I loved being able to do several loads at once. I,also, usually went to the apt.’s exercise room, but I do the same thing now….put a load in and clean my house, exercise or run an errand, that hasn’t changed.
While there are just two of you, I understand using a laundry facility, it works great for you, but as you have children and they grow up, you will find out having your own washer and dryer is a major treat:-) and probably isn’t as expensive as you think once your family grows. I would love to hear what you have to say after….25 years and several kids:-)!
I used to wash and dry my clothes at my apartment complex’s laundry facility and it cost me $5.50 a week for 2 loads. A well-meaning friend insisted on purchasing a used set for me for Christmas a few years ago and I have had both repaired several times. I don’t want to sound ungrateful for the gift, but it has cost me hundreds of dollars in repairs over the last 3 years. I told the friend several times that I did not need a washer and dryer, that I liked taking them to the laundry facility, but this girl is PUSHY! Dryer is not working again and for now I am taking the wet clothes back down to the laundry facility. Thinking I might like to sell them and gain my storage space back! It’ll be nice to see that power bill go down as well 😉
Christi @ My Evansville Mommy says
I’m hesitant to buy used appliances but am a huge fan of a scratch-and-dent. As newlyweds, we started out using the laundrymat in our apartment complex but then we purchased a brand new GE washer and dryer set for around $700 from a local scratch-and-dent store. We chose the largest capacity available at the time – King Size – so that we could reduce the frequency of washes by doing large loads (I wash laundry less frequently than anyone else I know!). Both machines have cosmetic flaws but function perfectly. Five years later, we’ve yet to have a single problem with either machine!
Washer and dryer was one of the things we compromised on when we moved into this apartment as well. Our last two had washer/dryer in unit, and it was high on my list! But the apartment we found had everything else we were looking for (including garage parking! and snow removal!) so we decided we could do without. The washer/dryer that we share with 7 other units is a short walk down the hall (like walking from one end to the other of our apartment, really) and is $1 to wash and 75 cents to dry, which is super cheap living in MA! It is sometimes unavailable when we want to do laundry, but its very rare that we HAVE to do it that moment, and we can always use the washer on another floor if we need to. It’s also do-able because there’s only two of us, and we’re (usually) cleaner than little kids, so I can see that being a bit tougher. It would be nice to just be able to throw a load in the dryer and not have to worry about being there to take it out when it’s done, but it really hasn’t been that big of an inconvenience, and it works for us!
Laura Vanderkam says
I try to figure in the opportunity cost of time. When I lived in an apartment without a washer/dryer, I used a laundry service. It was only a few bucks more expensive than doing it myself at the laundromat, and I didn’t have to spend time moving loads, folding, etc. During that time, I could write another article and earn more than the cost of the laundry service. Part of being wise about money is knowing when you’re better off trying to earn money vs. saving it.
When we went from just 2 adults to having 2 foster children, our electricity bill and water bill combined went up less than $30 a month (and that obviously includes all electricity and water usage, not just laundry). And, we were doing a lot of laundry because the one kiddo wet the bed.
It may actually be cheaper to buy a cheap washer/dryer set on craigslist…our washer was a hand-me-down from a friend and our dryer was a freebie on the side of the road, and they have worked decently well for almost 3 years now (totally a blessing :)).
I’ve lived in a tiny apartment with no washer or dryer for over seven years. We take the laundry to the Laundromat every week. I don’t have enough cloths to only go to the Laundromat every other week. Plus you have to be very careful that your laundry is bone dry if you’re going to store it that long because it will start to mold and smell; that’s not easy to do with towels when you don’t have anywhere to hang them that gets lots of air.
I would love to have a portable washer/dryer that hooks up to the kitchen sink. One unit does both jobs, it washes your laundry then dries it.
About the portable washer and dryer hook up to kitchen sink I have been researching tiny homes for 5 years now and there have been others that have purchased them and the one thing I remember hearing about that could not put alot of clothes in them and it took forever to dry them I have lots of pin interest posts about everything tiny or small.
When we moved into an apartment while trying to sell our home (we moved to a different state), my husband wasn’t working, and we did use the laundry in the complex. It did mean hauling laundry to another building, and it was very inconvenient. We decided we weren’t saving money. We all have fairly minimalist wardrobes, and only could do laundry on the weekends since it was almost impossible for him to bring our children (age 1 and 3) to the laundry room with him. So, we were at a point where we knew we’d have to all buy more clothing to manage through the week if we were going to continue. We decided we’d rather bit the bullet and buy an inexpensive washer and dryer than have to all buy more clothing. Now that we’ve survived two bits of stomach flu, I’m so thankful we made the investment. When I was single, it worked fine to use the apartment laundry, but it’s very difficult with young children–especially if they are potty training or sick.
I was in the Peace Corps and did laundry by hand- with one person this is not a big deal. However, I stayed in the Caribbean after and did laundry for me, my husband and my son for a couple years. Everyday I would get up and do laundry after breakfast. We wore our pants for a few days (my husband wore his work jeans for 5 days before washing them- those were tough to clean!) but would not wear shirts more than one day because they would start to smell. I would spend a total of an hour when I did not have to do pants- First- underwear, then shirts and sheets if needed. Then I would place all the clothes that were washed in a big tub until I could rinse everything outside or in the shower. I would then go outside and hang them (if possible)- however, if the weather was bad I would take them to my brother-in-laws extra room to hang until the weather was nice. After 3 to 4 hours I would be putting all the clothes away.
When my husband and I traveled for a week- we had TONs of laundry to do. It took him and I combined about 5 hours to wash everything when we got home.
Today- we are back in the states. We have a washer and dryer of our own but I am so glad that I spent the time learning how to hand wash clothes- I can get almost any stain out of clothes (esp our 15 month olds stains). We are planning on moving back someday, but I will definitely get a “american” washer and just hang the clothes— handwashing is hard on your back and takes a lot of time. With work, 2 kids and everything else going on, I can not imagine handwashing a couple hours per day!
I have nothing to add, I’m just happy to see another RPCV! (I was Benin 2001-04).
our washer quit a little over a year ago, and the dryer about 2 months after that…Ive been taking my clothes to the neighborhood laundromat ever since. It costs about $15 a week to wash our clothes(5 of us, including hubby who’s a brick mason, a 14 year old cheerleader, a 12 year old who plays soccer and track , and then a very rowdy 5 year old girl) plus about 6-8 extra once a month to wash bedding.
Honestly, Im in no hurry to replace my set…it was great excuse for the kids to par down their clothes, they arent changing 2+times a day, i get it all done in less than 2 hours and i have some dedicated reading time each week 🙂
We got our washer/dryer during a sale event at Sears with 18 months NO INTEREST. We pay about $30/month and will own our appliances outright before paying any interest. Seems like you could find a deal like this and end up saving lots of quarters in the long run! With little kids, a washer/dryer in our apartment is one of the things I am most grateful for. For years we did not own a washer/dryer and did laundry at my parents house once a week, but this was before kids!
Also, for the bed wetter, Pull-ups would be such a blessing to the child and save on laundry for mom. It would cost about $20/month.
For the first two years of our marriage, my husband and I lived in an apartment with no hook ups and expensive coin operated machines. My mother-in-law graciously let me come once a week to use her washing machine and dryer. It was such a blessing. The funny thing is… I kept up on laundry MUCH better when we didn’t have a washer/dryer!
Love the article and the fact that you are able to do what you need to do for your family and not break the bank when I stayed in my apt and was on unemployment and no car I had a small laundry facility in my apts that was about 4 mins away from my apt by foot I would get my clothes together and my money 125 to wash and 125 to dry and do busy work around the house while I was waiting it’s called doing what you have to do if I didn’t have money I would hand wash again love the article my granny had a washer and dryer for almost 3 years from one of those rental places 30 per month finally decided after me telling her for 3 years to look for a used one got her washer and dryer for 150 dollars because she HAD to have it lol always funny to me how people think someone normal is abnormal keep trucking !!!! Also nothing misleading about your title it’s how you get along without a washer and dryer in your home!!!
I am glad this works for her! When I was young and single, I got an apt. without a w/d hookup just because I was fresh out of college and just didn’t think about looking for that feature when I was looking. About 2 years in, I thought, maybe I should save up for a w/d… oh, wait a minute–no hook up. So a year later, when I relocated, I was sure to look for a w/d hook up. I coped by doing laundry once every other week. I have bad dust mite allergies so I wash my sheets weekly in hot water. I would just change the sheets and wash both sets on my laundry weekends. I don’t remember how much it cost back then (1999-2002). I used the laundry room at my complex. I also was sure to bring laundry every time I went home (3 hour drive) to my parents. I had to have more clothes than I do now to last 2 weeks–lots more exercise clothes since I exercised almost daily. I don’t know if I saved money like she does, but I do not it would be a pain in the rear now that I have kids–LOL! Way more laundry and way more impromtu this needs to be thrown in the wash NOW!
When I was a newlywed, we did not have a washer and dryer so I had to do the laundry mat thing. My husband “worried” about me so he took over that chore and still does our laundry today. (That may or may not be a good thing – after 35 years he still ruins some of my clothes regularly. LOL ) I remember the excitement of finally buying our first washer and dryer (not at the same time) and the luxury of it. We just had our basement waterproofed and had to move everything out for almost 2 weeks. We did no laundry and our repairmen kept saying they would hurry so we could get to the laundry. I was glad we were able to stretch our clothing, bedding,etc. but it made me remember to be thankful for my machines. These posts are also reminding me not to take them for granted. I might have to invest in one of those hand washer things. And I do dry clothes on a line and dryer rack all the time.
lorena at Successfully Saving says
We do own a washer and dryer but we only run the dryer long enough to get wrinkles out of our clothing (we then hang the clothes on hangers on our bathroom shower curtain rods to completely dry). With 4 people in the house, we have to do laundry at least 3 times a week to keep it from getting overwhelming so it’s convenient to have the washer and dryer in our home. However, we lived in an apartment when we were first married and also used the community washer and dryer without any problems.
Jenni / Life from the Roof says
This was a good read, and I appreciated the link above that lets you calculate how much you spend on your washer and dryer per year – thankfully, our costs weren’t too bad, and that was with two in cloth diapers and one who needs a cloth overnight trainer at night for bedwetting. I used to live in an apartment building where we had to do laundry there, but each load ended up costing about $3, which added up when you had about 5 loads a week. Now we live in a house where there is not just a washer and dryer, but an entire laundry room for them with plenty of space to hang up clothes, a folding table, etc. Pure BLISS. I’ve lived overseas too where there were washers if you were wealthy enough, but no dryers, even in the ice cold winters. You could see how quickly it made sense to not have too many outfits to wear, and to wear them until they really needed to be washed (cleaning spots along the way). I still do that now – it really keeps down the amount of laundry we need to do, and puts less wear and tear on the clothes.
You would be surprised about how cheap you can find a washer/dryer on Craigslist. My husband bought ours when he was living on his own almost 4 years ago for $250 total. They are still in fine working condition and we plan on taking them with us when we move into our first home this spring.
With the $30 budget mentioned, we “recouped” our investment in 8 months. Seeing as we have used them going on 4 years…and plan to use them until they die…buying was a much better option!
When I lived in an apartment (before children) I washed all my clothes by hand and hung them up around the apartment. I am thankful for a washer and dryer now (although I rarely use the dryer) and that is one of the biggest things I was excited about when moving to a house.
Not to get on a potty rant,BUT why would one ever want their child to sit in urine all night? If you have a child that does wet the bed, please put them in pull ups or overnights. I know this is a frugal board,but there are coupons etc out All the time to decrease the cost. I have a DD who is 4 and she needs a pull up at night. Out of respect for her comfort and dignity I would NEVER let her wet herself. I know that many on this board will heartily disagree with me and that is ok. My washer and dryer are the best things I have ever bought. We are a family of 3 and I don wash once a week.
I agree, Laurie. My daughter turned 7 in January. She’d been dry for about three weeks, so she stopped wearing pull ups to bed on her birthday. It was a very special day 🙂
I posted this above, but will share again…because we have a propane dryer, it would cost about $2 per load to wash & dry her bedding. Pull ups are much cheaper!
I think it probably depends on the child.
Our six year old still has accidents, but there was no way in the world he would wear any kind of pull-up after he was potty trained. He called them diapers no matter what they looked like.
We’re working on helping him learn to wake up (a whole different subject) and how to find dry things if he doesn’t make it.
I’m glad you’ve found a system that works for you, though.
And, I agree 100% on the laundry. I did without machines in college, and that’s one thing (among many) I don’t miss about that season of life.
I totally agree with you, Laurie! It is embarrassing enough for my 4 year old to still wear a Goodnite to bed. He just figured out recently that not ALL kids have to do that…and he cried. I can’t imagine the effect on his self-esteem having to wake up covered in his own URINE! Even if he didn’t get embarrassed about it, it’s a sheer comfort issue! I wouldn’t want to sleep all night in soaking wet bed linens! YUCK. Come on, people! If you can’t afford $20 a month (or LESS if you get generic ones!) to put sleep pants on your kid at night, you probably shouldn’t have had them! Everyone can shave a few bucks a week off their budget to ensure the comfort and cleanliness of their kids! Why don’t you pour a few cups of water on your bed tonight before you lay down!!! 🙁 I’m sorry if this seems snarky, but I was a bedwetter, and sleep pants weren’t available then. I remember every morning waking up freezing cold, smelling like pee, and sad that I couldn’t hold it. It would have been so much easier on me in SO many ways to chuck a wet pull up in the trash and go about my day!!!!!!
You can take frugal too far!!!!
We have been living without a dryer for almost the past year. I can thankfully still wash here, so I hang our shirts to dry in the bathroom on the shower rod (the heat vent blows right onto it). Pants tend to get hung over the backs of chairs overnight, or put in front of a fan. I take socks, underwear and towels to the laundromat to dry. In the summer, I line dry. It’s not ideal, but there are 5 of us, and there is no way we could afford to do all the wash and drying at $1.50 a load (the cost at places here). We’re in the process of saving for a new set, but because of space issues we have to have a stackable unit and those are not cheap!
Just something to think about, maybe it could work for you…..my old apartment complex had some kind of metal/steel shelf that held a regular dryer over the washer. It would probably work better with a front loading washer but we had a top loader and the washer just needed to be placed a little farther away from the wall to make sure that there was room for it to open.
I kept up better with laundry when my dryer was broken! I hung everything to dry- our socks, undies, towels, sheets, blankets on the plastic hangers with clips. We rented a duplex with a long bar between the kitchen and living area, and I would hang stuff there to dry. The towels, sheets and blankets I would have to fold, later shake them out and fold the other way to dry. Heavy blankets I would drape over the kitchen table to dry.
Washer and dryer combo. Popular overseas I own an LG one. http://www.lg.com/us/washer-dryer-combos
I miss the days of a laundry mat! I know that sounds crazy but I could get all my laundry done in 2 hours instead of a 2-4 day project.
I would go in and put all my clothes in the wash, go and get my car washed, come back switch the clothes to the dry. While the clothes were drying, I would vacuum out my car in the parking lot with my car vacuum cleaner. It was fabulous! I miss those days.
In two hours max, I had all my laundry done and a clean car.
It sounds as though you do not currently have children. I could not imagine not having a washer and dryer with children in the household! For me, my time spent at the laundry area would cost way more than any money saved in not owning a washer and dryer (although around here our laundromats are quite expensive compared to your available laundry facility–it would cost more for me to go to the laundromat–even the poorest folks here try to have them because laundromats are few and far between as well). With hours spent weekly working and doing all of the other chores, there is no way I would want to spend even a minute at a laundromat if I didn’t have to do it! I do multiple loads of laundry per day having pets and children in the house. Also, like one other gal mentioned–when a “bug” hits the house, thank goodness they are here and handy! I am thankful quite often that I live in a society where it is an option to even own laundry machines! I try to hang my clothes out to dry on the clothes line, wash large loads in gentler cycles, and use cold water in order to save on doing laundry–otherwise, I’m just going to spend what it costs to have this luxury. It is worth it to me!
Rhonda Hall says
I feel horrible for taking my washer/dryer for granted….
Bless you all with children and dealing with laundrymats, the money spent, and carrying all that laundry…When I do my next load of laundry I will say a Big thank you to them and not take them for granted….
sometimes it takes reading posts like this to make us stop and take a moment to see how blessed we are in certain situations….
Amanda Cowgill says
I could not live with out my washer and dryer! We have two adults and four children (two of whom are two and under). I typically do about 1-4 loads each and every day! Between clothes and bedding and towels we do a lot! I used to do cloth diapers with my second youngest but when my newest baby came along it was just too much washing for me. Every so often I do drive to the laundry mat and do all the laundry at once if I feel I need to catch up- but it will cost me typically 20-30 just to do most of the laundry (not all). Our laundry mat costs between 2-5 for a washer and usually like 3 to get a load completly dry. I cant imagine trying to get to a lundry mat all the time. But we also live in the suburbs so we can have the machines. We are actually building a new home and the model chosen was choses in part for the fact that it has a second floor laundry room- cant wait to have my laundry right where the bedrooms are 🙂
I’ve had laundry rooms on the top floor and the bottom floor. I preferred having them downstairs, away from the bedrooms, because I could do laundry at night after the kids were sleeping without worrying about waking them up. Plus, carrying it up and down stairs is good exercise!
Jessica @ The Abundant Wife says
We just moved to a new city and a new rental, and decided to spend $300 on a washer and dryer at a garage sale. After hooking them up, both needed repairs to be ready to use. Then our utility bill went way up! I think we’ll be back to hanging our laundry to dry once the weather warms up.
It’s important to remember that we pay a price for conveniences like a washer & dryer. Maintenance and energy costs are a part of the purchase price too. Thanks for writing!
John Bartal says
This is great advice! My roommate and I live in an apartment that doesn’t come with a washer and dryer and no hook-up. That laundry schedule will save me a LOT of time and money! Thanks so much for the article, Crystal!
MK Jorgenson says
I’m just too cheap to put quarters in a machine! Our building has a washer that doesn’t do a great job and a dryer that took three cycles before it would dry well (it has since been fixed, I’ve been told)…for the lovely price of $3 a load.
For a while, I waited and brought all our laundry on monthly visits home, like we were still in college. Then I talked my sweet, sweet husband into a half-size, portable washer that we roll from the closet to the kitchen and hook up to the tap…water is free in our building and it’s a pretty efficient little appliance (and just a $200 investment nearly two years ago, still going strong), so that’s what works for us.
I thought you were going to say you washed your laundry in a big tub and used a clothesline! lol
While this is a great example of making do and being content, I have to disagree that using coin washers is always very frugal. Perhaps in this case, it is. For us, it was very expensive when we had to do that in our apartment. We spent more like $40-$50 every month. Yes, we made do, but totally not worth the money and the hassle if you don’t have to.
If you really wanted to be frugal, hang your laundry to dry and skip the dryer.
We have the same situation as you do. I do the laundry every week. Here are a few tips that might help to stretch the money. Every other week I only wash the pillow cases. I spread a bit of baby powder on the sheets and wash only the pillow cases to stretch the laundry money. Black jeans and black shirts wear well. Just a thought when we lived up north I switched to the black jeans this allowed the children to wear the pants two days in a row. Black sweaters or jackets wear well as well. I always put an undershirt under a sweater so I only have to do the sweaters once a week as well. Dryel is your friend! it will save a lot on in between dry cleanings. Also dryer sheets can be cut in half . Laundry soap can be homemade. I also have a drying rack where my washer and dryer would be and many of the girls items can be hand washed and layed flat to dry or hung on the dry rack. I hope some of the ideas help we spend about $20 a week and I have to stretch that with seven of us. I long for a washer and dryer and we are saving for a home of our own.
Brandi @ Savvy Student Shopper says
I’ll be living in an apartment next year and this makes me less worried about having a washer/dryer in the unit!
Kim J. says
When a friend and I moved to Alabama from Michigan almost 4 years ago, we didn’t have a washer and dryer. We did the laundromat thing and it cost about $20 every 2 weeks to do laundry. And we did this for about 4 months. Then I found a used apartment size washer for $40, paid $10 to have someone haul it, bought a $9 water hose. It looks rough, only handles smaller loads but the thing is still working!!! We went about 6 months without a dryer and ended up getting the dryer for free when someone got a new set with their income tax refund. It’s rougher looking than the washer, the pulley/belt squeals but had dried clothes for 3 years now!!!!
Sara@Save Money, Live Joyfully says
Good for you for finding what works well for you and your husband! I always tell people to find what works for them in keeping to a budget and stick to it. Just because it works for someone else doesn’t mean it will work for you, and vice versa.
I think a washer/dryer is one of those things we consider to be a “necessity” in this country, but that are luxuries in most other parts of the world. I’m grateful for our washer and dryer for the convenience of it, but I know it’s not imperative to life!
Hmm….sorry that just doesn’t make sense in my mind at all. I used to use public machines and it cost a ton more!! Owning machines just make way more sense, especially with babies and toddlers around. Besides utilities don’t go up all that much in most areas. If you don’t have an option, sure, do what you have to, but I know very few people who would agree with this post. If you really want to save money handwash and line dry everything. That makes more sense, as far as saving money goes, but it will cost you a lot of time. Still I would choose to own a washer/dryer any day of the week!
I’m guessing you don’t have kids. 😉
i didn’t have a dryer for many years, we have 6 kids, it did not bother me… just got one and I love it! I have been trying to figure out why I was so silly not to get one earlier, we can easily afford it! I still hang all the shirts on hanger, it makes putting away so much easier and hang the towels and blankets in the sauna. Although putting away clothes was much easier when they were hanging, they were halfway folded.
I don’t know about living without a washer – I’m kinda weird about our clothes and wash almost everything on delicate (which by the way makes our clothing last forever…) and then hang stuff to dry so our stuff lasts longer and doesn’t shrink. When we lived overseas only one person we knew owned a dryer. Everyone including us hung our clothes outside and in the rainy weather – we had a line that rolled in on itself and when not in use was “hidden” in the wall. For small loads we used a wooden stand thing. Now that we are back in the States and have a one-year-old we do way more laundry, including towels and bedding so we did splurge and get a dryer – but I still hang mostly everything and as soon as we are out of winter I will once again use our outside line for every load.
I, too, was hoping this article was really about living without the use of a washer and dryer. I have lived in an apartment without in unit laundry for almost 10 years now. That includes time with a new baby and preschooler. If I choose to use the laundry room provided in my building (2 washers and 2 dryers for 12 apartments), I spend about $10 for 4 loads. Those can’t be large loads, because large loads won’t dry. There also isn’t room for bedding. If a load doesn’t dry, I have to run the dryer for another full cycle or hang the items to finish drying – in my apartment because I live in Chicago and the weather outside is not conducive to line drying 8 months a year. When I go to the laundrymat, I spend $15 for about a week’s worth of clothes and some towels, another $10 if I include bedding. I have two growing boys, and we go through a lot of laundry. I send $60-$80 a month minimum just for laundry. I dream about the things I could do with this money.
Anna posted above:
A combo of this
http://www.breathingwasher.com/ (Breathing Mobile Washer)
http://clothesdrygreen.com/ (Charming Spinner)
and a couple drying racks are how we survive without a washer/dryer!
To me the extra work of doing laundry by hand was worth the convenience of doing laundry whenever I want in my own home.
Our apartments cost 1.50 to wash and 1.75 to dry. We save $ by drying our clothes on a drying rack that we bought at Target. We are only 2 right now, so that does make it easier.
There was a time last year that I ended up washing in the bathtub when we were really tight on money. During that time I found there are always more ways to save money.
I know that some people truly cannot afford a w/d. But…the few times I have had to go to the laundry mat, I notice all of them on Smart phones, driving nice cars, dressed nicely, etc. I would MUCH rather do without cable, internet, and smartphones, and have a w/d! I am so thankful that I have my laundry facility at home!
I also have a bedwetter, but I was wondering to you mommas who say it creates a lot of extra laundry…you DO know about GOODNITES UNDERWEAR!? They go to 130 lbs, and cost less than 20.00 a month! I can’t imagine doing my son’s sheets every day. Plus, who wants to wake up covered in pee? I had to as a kid, before Goodnites were invented! And it is no fun!
Love reading this as my husband and I rent a small apartment and there is NO room for a washer and dryer…actually not even enough room for even just the washer!!!
Our landlord actually asks us for less rent than the other renters because we DONT have a washer/dryer system in the apartment!! :0)
We have a laundromat at the end of our street and its so great for us to go there each week and put everything in and have lunch together while its on.
I think everyone has their own way of doing things but I prefer it this way…..it does work out a lot cheaper for is each month compared to an extra amount added onto the rent and also the hassle of fixing it should it break etc. I know my mother has a washer and dryer in her home and when something breaks with hers, usually its just cheaper to replace the whole unit! :-s
We do not have a washer and dryer in our unit. We have several laundry rooms throughout our complex. I tell you what it is a PIA. I freaking hate it! As of March 1st it is going up to $3 a load ($1.50 for washer and $1.50 for dryer). We are a family of 5 and do 5-7 loads of laundry a week. You have to realize these washers do not hold a huge load.
The arrangement we have now is most of it goes out to my MIL and FIL. It is washed at their house.
We have allergies and my son has asthma. I can’t go two weeks without washing sheets. It is bad enough that I keep putting off washing blankets that should be washed frequently.
End of my rant. We make this arrangement due, but it is not ideal, cheap or convenient.
Interesting. Isn’t it great that in all our various situations, God provides our solution. My washing machine was just restored to working order after being out of service for almost 3 weeks. I was very thankful for the spacious, clean laundromat that is offering free drying for every load washed. But I’m even more thankful that I do not need to spend $30 – $40 a week to wash our clothes for our family of six every week. Raising children on a farm with the mild winter’s mud = mountains of laundry! Theoretically we could go to the laundromat for a year or buy a brand new laundry set (and a very nice one at that) every year. I simply can’t beat the convenience of being able to wash clothes anytime I need to. And I won’t be buying a new washer & dryer every year! 🙂
Gosh, we went years with no washer/dryer of our own. I didn’t really think about it as being a positive or a negative — it’s just the way it was.
In some ways it made life simpler. For example, the kids never asked for a certain clothing item to be washed so they could wear it to school the next day, unlike nowadays where we can wash clothes as we need or want. In our apartment days, laundry got done all at once, only on weekends, and not every weekend at that. We had enough clothes and towels and such that we could stretch it to two weeks if we had to.
We had shared washer/dryers in our apartment complex, but I found it to be much easier to just take all the laundry to the laundromat where I could load up multiple washers at once. My parking space was adjacent to the door to the apartment, and therefore hauling it to the car was actually much less of a “haul” than hauling it to the laundry room in the apartment complex.
I don’t recall the cost exactly, but I think it was comparable. I’d just read a book or something while the clothes were being washed, but usually I’d be folding one load while the next load was still in the dryer, so not a lot of downtime. It was quite efficient.
I’ve had my own home and appliances for 15 years now, and I still do about the same amount of laundry, 6-7 loads per week approximately. With a small family I don’t need to do as much laundry as those of you with larger families, but it still seems like I’m always in process of doing laundry. There is always something that needs to be washed, dried, folded, and put away. For me, one of the benefits of using the laundromat was that I could do all the laundry for the week (or sometimes two weeks) at once and be done with it, as opposed to nowadays when it’s more of a continual chore that never gets “finished.”
With the laundromat tho, I did use a lot more paper towels and other disposables, whereas nowadays I tend to use rags for cleanup, cloth napkins, and such, because it’s easier to wash them. If I had to haul that stuff to a laundromat, I’d be more apt to just use disposables.
If my living situation were to change and I found myself in a similar situation to Laura (the author here), I think I could easily adapt to not having my own washer/dryer.
I appreciate Laura’s post. It’s great to read about how she made the best of her situation.
I started with a laundromat until we moved into our home. I’ve kept the same schedule though. Except for cloth diapers which I wash about 3 times a week, I only do laundry once a week. Every Wednesday I do laundry. I wash, fold, and put it away. Then it piles up in the caskets until the next Wednesday. I have add to switch to Tuesday or Thursday if I’m going to be gone most of the day, but I plan my weeks to always be home on Wednesdays. I actually was just taking a break while I waited for the last load to dry, so I can fold it 🙂
“caskets” … he he. That typo just cracked me up.
Eh…Baskets are a type of caskets for clothes 😉
Even though I am now thankful for great appliances, for years I did without a dryer. At the time I had one son in cloth diapers, and worked full time outside the home. I would take the bag of wet diapers (thankfully my babysitter rinsed them for me) home and wash them in the machine while making dinner. Then I would hang them to try – lines in the basement in the winter, and out on the clothesline in the summer. For a few years after that I was a single mother in university, and while I saved my quarters to use the laundry room washing machines, the boys and I would then lug our loads of wet clothes back home and hang them on drying racks. While other young mother around me thought I was crazy to try to save a few bucks, I was thankful to have a washing machine as I recalled stories of my mother washing our clothes and diapers in a bathtub! Today I use my dryer all winter, and am looking forward to hanging clothes and sheets out on the line in the summer – I think line-dried laundry smells like sunshine!
I remember in college taking a bus with my laundry to the laundrymat once a week (it was embarassing hauling the basket on the bus). While I can’t image doing it with a family of three now, I did drive my car to the laudrymat while my washer was broken. You do what you need to in order to survive, right?
Our dryer just decided to stop doing a good job for us after about 12 years of excellent service. We will miss it, BUT since we heat with a wood stove and I have an indoor clothes line, I will not be rushing out to replace it. I love multitasking, not only does the stove warm us, it dries our clothes, and not only are we saving money by line drying inside, the moisture from the clothes helps the air to be less dry. It was a blessing to me for our dryer to “go out”. 🙂
Not sure I could live without a washer though 😉
With 4 kids, living as far away from any laundries as we do, our washer and dryer are HUGE money-savers!
That said, I line-dry 90% of our laundry (even in winter) to keep costs down. But I also like to have fewer pieces of clothing, too (especially w/6 people and a dog in the house!).
Isn’t it funny how different financial situations net different results frugally? Many times, what is frugal for one person is actually NOT frugal for someone else.
We have a coin operated washer and dryer in the basement of the apartment we rent. They are pretty cheap ($1 each) but I have decided to save $1 on every load by hanging everything to dry. In nice weather I hang them outside. This time of the year I hang them on a big Amish-made drying rack that I place in front of a heating duct. I figure I’d rather have the inconvenience of hanging the laundry and letting God dry them than paying for someone else’s hot air ;).
Actually Laura, I think you have come up with a reasonable solution for now. Congratulations!
When I was single and when first married we did use the laundry facilties in the aprtments we lived in. Now that we have our own place and children, I can not imagine taking my stuff to a laundromat and spending the enormous amount of money they charge. For me, it is much cheaper to have my washer and dryer in my home. I am glad it works for you but for most it would not.
Wow! I would seriously cry if my washer went out. When it was just me the hubs, we would have survived, but now that we have 3 kids?! No way! Thankfully, we were given a nice set by my folks , but it’s about 17 years old. When it dies, I’ll be doing laundry @ mom’s everyday. 🙂
When we moved into our new home we new we were searching for a place with at least washer dryer hookups. We found a wonderful apartment with 1150 sq. ft. which in Northern CA is no easy task! Our apartment even had washer dryer hookups! We found a stackable set on Craigslist for $130… And our power bill is quite reasonable! We have not paid more than $100 for power in a month, so paying $30-$50 a month to wash our bedding, towels and clothes at the laundry-mat is just not worth it to our family of 4.
It’s really not worth it! Our house is only about 850 sq ft for our family of 5, so we don’t have room for a lot of extra towels or linens. My two littlest ones wet through their sheets several times a week, but I don’t have ROOM for many extra sheets for them so that’s yet another time I have to go to the laundromat, and then my teen goes through several changes of clothes a day, which is more trip to the laundromat, and the towels… two or three times per week to wash towels. Too bad I don’t have more room for more linens! Sucks to be me! lol
And the increase on our power bill wasn’t much at all, compared to what we were spending at the laundromat. Even if we were only paying $10/week at the laundromat, it wouldn’t be worth it.
When my kids were in cribs, I had very limited space too. I used to store extra linens on the mattress. So it would go waterproof pad, sheet, waterproof pad, sheet. When one got dirty, I would just strip off the top layer. Anyway, it was an easy way to save space and if something happened in the middle of the night, it sure is easy to just peel back a layer.
Even in the winter months, I hang quite a bit of our clothes. I put shirts on hangers and hang them on the shower rod, plus I have 2 decorative spots in my laundry area that I can hang quite a few clothes on hangers. With it being so dry in the winter, it really takes no time for them to dry. Not sure if I am saving a ton, but I feel a little better about not running my dryer constantly.
I also have to add that after apartment living in my 20s there is no way I would want to haul laundry for my entire family to a laundromat. Even when I was single once I could afford an apartment with a washer/dryer, I jumped at the chance.
I am also all for wearing clothes more than once if not dirty such as jeans, sweaters, etc. I am always amazed how my children can wear an item of clothing for an hour and think they need a wardrobe change! 🙂
And think it needs washing. I think my son is just too lazy to hang it up and just throws it in the hamper—even to the point of claiming he sweated in them. 🙂
Mother Lydia says
Wow. I can’t get my son to put his clothes in the laundry when he’s worn them two days in a row! He leaves them on the floor!
So maybe I should count my blessings huh?
Mother Lydia says
Nah. You just have a different problem to solve! 🙂
Becky K says
I have hung all our clothes indoors (in winter months) when we have gone without a dryer for extended periods of time. It does help with boosting the humidity level in the house, and you’re right–it takes very little time to dry. (A heavy bath towel would dry overnight.)
We were surprized by how easily things like large comforters and sheets could dry on the shower curtain rods. We also found many spots around our small home to hook in a hanger (over-the-door hooks, moulding above doorways, cabinet pulls).
Although we were able to make it through to the point where we were able to get a dryer again, I don’t believe the savings in electricity was significant.
At my last apartment, we had shared laundry at about the same cost of yours. I started not drying a lot of my clothes to help cut back on the cost. I had plenty of room for two drying racks which was enough for a large load of laundry. The items that I really wanted to use the dryer for (sheets, towels, etc) finished much quicker this way, too. I would do two loads in the washing machine and combine the “dryer worthy items” from each into one load.
We have a washer/dryer in our house and this is what I do all the time! We have three dryer racks and a bunch of extra hangers.
Laura @ Unpunctuated Life says
Beth, I definitely do something similar! I never dry blue jeans or dress pants in favor of hanging them up in the apartment. 🙂
A combo of this
http://www.breathingwasher.com/ (Breathing Mobile Washer)
http://clothesdrygreen.com/ (Charming Spinner)
and a couple drying racks are how we survive without a washer/dryer!
To me the extra work of doing laundry by hand was worth the convenience of doing laundry whenever I want in my own home.
Very cool, Anna!
Thank you so much for this information! My husband and I will be moving this summer to an apartment building with laundry facilities on each floor. The financial savings will be well worth it and the apartment is large and lovely but I’ve been dreading the loss of my washer & dryer. I’ll be ordering these.
Thanks Anna! I was wondering if anyone had tried one of those. I remember living in my apartment with no car, and loading up all the saddlebags and racks on my bike with my laundry. Had I known, I definitely would have invested in a little hand-crank washer to ease the in-between times. As it was, I did plenty of sink-washing!
We went without a washer and dryer when we were first married (we got a set as a wedding present, but it took several weeks to come in). We lived close enough to my parents to go over once a weekend and do laundry for several hours while visiting, but it was very inconvenient when it came to the pet accident cleanup, being sick, ect. I love our in home washer and dryer, but when I get a decent system working I try very had not to use the dryer. We just bought our first house so I’m still trying to figure out what works for this space, but I can’t wait for clothesline season!
Our washer was one someone was giving away and our dryer cost us $50. We’ve had them for over 5 years.
One time, the washing machine broke and needed repaired (less than $50 to do so) and I hang out our laundry on the line to dry in warm weather. I thought our utility bill would go way down. It didn’t. I didn’t see more than a $10 decrease and that was doing laundry for 5 people (at the time).
It might be more cost effective to get a second hand, or better yet, free!, washing machine and dryer.
Although $1 per load is AMAZING!
There are online calculators to help figure out how much it costs to run a dryer. We have a propane dryer and it would cost us about $600 per year to dry all of our laundry with it. We use it about half of the time.
If you have an electric dryer or a natural gas dryer, it will cost a lot less.
Emily @ Our Frugal Happy Life says
Yes, propane is insanely expensive! So glad we don’t have propane anymore.
No way would we be able to do without our washer and dryer. We have 5 kids and my washer and dryer are always running even when we are sleeping sometime. I would not save any money by not having a washer and dryer. It would cost a small fortune not to mention the time it would cost me to do it at the laundromat.
Oh I agree. I had to go to a laundromat for 7 years and it was incredibly miserable. Not to mention very expensive. I think I was spending 50-70$ a month, and that was only washing necessary items. Also having to take two babies to the laundromat made it even more miserable. I almost cried when we were finally able to move to a house with our own washer/dryer. I will never ever be without a washer/dryer again.
Dee Wolters says
I think we all can adapt to whatever needs to happen. It would much easier to do the laundrymat/ room thing without small children. The upside to laundry mat is that there are multiple washers/ dryers, so you can do many loads at 1 time. Great story.
Good point, Dee. Women in India wash their clothes in the rivers. Some people don’t wash their clothes at all.
The Prudent Homemaker says
I can see how that works for 2 people, but in my family of 8, where I do 22-24 loads a week, that would be very difficult. I have had my washer break before, and I had to take my laundry to be washed elsewhere, and then back home to dry it. It was very difficult–and I was just going next door! I do 2-4 loads a day Monday through Saturday. I am so grateful for a washer and dryer.
Wow. I’ll never again complain about the 7-9 loads per week I do for my family of 4. I can’t even imagine…..22 loads of laundry per week. I can see why you’re grateful for your washer and dryer.
The Prudent Homemaker says
I start laundry at 5 am. It helps to put a load in the washer the night before and set the washer to start an hour before I get up, so that I can put a load stright into the dryer in the morning. The children do the folding; in fact, this morning, my 1-year-old wanted to fold all of the washcloths (she can do it, too! But she is not assigned laundry) and didn’t want to let her 3-year-old sister fold any of them! It was very funny.
I have a child who wets the bed every night; it is very nice to be able to wash every day!
You sound so much like us! I haven’t counted the loads, but we have 6 kids too–and you are absolutely right: All hands on deck get to fold!! 🙂 It’s the first machine to be turned on the morning (before the coffee maker!) and often the last thing that we hear at night. 🙂
I used to think that I had to wash at least two loads per day to keep up with my family of six (3 adults, 3 kids). It was the bane of my existence. So, I started skipping days, being less particular about sorting and doing bigger loads. I read my washer manual and realized it could hold more than I thought. Instead of 16 loads per week, we now do about 8 or 9 (which includes towels, bedding, cloth napkins, rags and all our clothes). I love that we’re saving money on energy and spending less time waiting on the machines.
The Prudent Homemaker says
I only wash full loads in an extra-large capacity washer. The loads are VERY full. I have 6 children, and one who wets the bed every day (I could cut out a lot of laundry if I didn’t have a bed wetter who could wear his pajamas more than one day). I do the other sheets every 2-3 weeks and I still have this much laundry. When I had 3 children I did laundry once a week, but that doesn’t work for me anymore.
I can’t fathom how someone would need to do that much laundry. We are a family of 5 and do 7 a week. And that’s with a baby in cloth diapers!! Maybe 1 extra if someone is sick or pees the bed. But that’s it!
The Prudent Homemaker says
I have a child who pees the bed every day, and another who does a couple of times a week. We have 3 more people in our family. I only wash pants for my husband and I (or my skirts) after wearing them several times, but with small children, it’s not quite the same. If we lived in a colder climate, or had to wear socks every day, I’m sure we would do more. Thankfully the children can go barefoot most days here.
I know you aren’t shopping right now, but have you ever tried Underjams or something similar to help contain the pee mess so that you don’t have to do that particular load every day?
The Prudent Homemaker says
I considered it, but they are SO expensive. And we have done very little shopping for the last year. I do use a waterproof crib sheet and a towel on top of that every day to help cut down on laundry and protect the bed. When this child could still wear a size 6 diaper, he soaked through the diaper and two towels every night anyway. It seemed a waste to keep buying the diapers too, and then I couldn’t afford them anymore anyway.
I don’t do a load with just that; I have enough full loads to wash everything seperately almost every day; the towel and waterproof pad get washed with rags and washcloths every other day, and I have a full load of darks or lights every other day as well.
Large families just have more laundry, and that’s okay with me.
Excessive wetting can be a symptom of diabetes.
We pay a lot to run the dryer (propane) and it would cost close to $2 per day to wash and dry a complete set of bedding during the winter (I line dry all bedding in the summer). In our case, pull-ups of some sort are a lot cheaper, especially with sales and coupons.
Family of 4 – do at least 7 loads a week (at least one a day), so I can see how a large family would have that much. (We have regular size washer and dryer–not HE). I throw a load in before I leave for work, put it in the dryer after work. Usually that helps, only 1 load to put away a day. Very behind at this moment!
Here is the breakdown –
Monday – our sheets and towels
Tuesday – 1 year olds clothes, towels, crib sheets, and blanket, one of his two loveys
Wed. – 4 year old’s clothes, other of brother’s lovey
Thur. – one of 2 loads of our clothes
Fri. – our other load
1. 4 year old’s sheets, blanket, towels, blanket he brings to daycare
2. “dog” laundry – towels to wipe feets kept by both doors, one bed liner (have 3 beds–rotate through), blankets
Sometimes a third load – throw blankets, etc.
And in the summer, there is frequently a “beach” load–when we get home from the beach, all towels and suits go in immediately, sometimes even a beach bag–kids put on dry clothes before heading home–they get thrown in too after kid’s bathe, my cover up, etc. –everything gets desanded. Pool or waterpark days we can usually get away with hanging suits and towels to dry and rewearing 2-3 times before washing. (I am a teacher so we do a lot of pool/waterpark/beach all summer).
We almost always run a full load–we top off everything but the dog laundry with dish towels, rags, coats, whatever else needs to be washed. My husband works 2 jobs and wears uniforms to both. He only has 2 pair of pants for his main job and 4 or 5 shirts (some are short and some are long sleeve). He is a manager at a pet store, so sometimes he cannot just rewear without washing; sometimes he can. We have a system where he drapes dirty uniform clothes (for either job) over the banister at the top of our stairs. That way I see it and throw it in with whatever load I am doing that day–also helps to top it off. That way his uniforms can be washed more often than once a week. If the one year old has a diaper explosion, we just launder that outfit with whatever load is being done that day. Dog laundry is solo–too much fur still on everything after being washed–sigh!!
And yes, I do wash all bedding once a week–I am extremely allergic to dust mites–this and the dog laundry is the only laundry I was in hot water.
When I was a single, young teacher, with no kids and no pets, I lived in an apt. with no washer/dryer hook up. I did laundry once every other weekend. Needed more clothes to do so and changed the sheets on the bed in between and washed two sets. Usually used 3-4 washers at a time in the laundry room at the complex. Can’t remember how much it cost back then — would be insane with the amount of laundry we have now!!
It sometimes depends on the makeup of the family. We have 4 sons (and 2 daughters), and I’m sure we do a lot more laundry than people who have “indoor” kids that read all day. 🙂
I get it. I was just telling my husband that I do more laundry than I ever thought possible. We are a family of 5 with one on the way. As the children get bigger, the clothes get bigger. Therefore less fits in the machine. I remember the days of us and a little baby with little clothes. Everything fit so nicely in the machine. Not anymore! 🙂
I am frugal as they come, however, I would not be without my washing machine. I hang clothes out to dry when I can (weather), but I really, really like my washer. 🙂
I grew up in a family of 6 children, 2 parents, and grandparents off and on over the years = 8-10 people. I remember my mother doing 20 loads of laundry a week and hanging clothes out to dry on the line or on laundry stands when the weather was too cold. I was one of the girls who had to help wash, hang, and fold laundry! I also remember when the washer broke and we went to the laundry mat and stayed all afternoon to do all the laundry and had baskets and baskets of clothes. Plus we did not have that many clothes as we were very, very poor! We only had an old washer that my dad and grandpa fixed over and over again. I remember clothes being hung up in the house over the floor furnace if we could not hang them outside–now you would not do that.
Yes, a big family can create a lot of laundry even if the family members do not have a lot of clothes.
I have 4 kiddos plus myself and I do several loads a week, 1-2 per day but I really don’t count. I am just happy I have a washer and dryer and can stay on top of laundry most days.
We have been without one for awhile we spend about 30 a week for a family of 6, that includes everything. We have done it for about a year now. We had plumbing issue that in the last year we have been saving up to fix along with saving up for larger washer/ dryer. Ours was a little apartment one. We are almost there and I can’t wait to have my washer/dryer back. We just had a stomach virus go thru our house that reminds us why it will be nice to have them back in the house.
Found this website with a neat calculator to try to estimate how much your washer and dryer actually cost to operate.
Interesting. According to that, for my family of 3 it costs us $31 month for laundry.
Laura Jane @ Recovering Chocoholic says
That’s interesting. I’ve always wondered how much our laundry contributes to our gas, electric, and water bills. Water is the most of expensive part of laundry in my area.
Martha Artyomenko says
For me, after living for almost 4 years without a washer and dryer, I managed back then to be able to keep it at about $20 a month for laundry at the laundry mat, I was so glad to be able to buy a washer and dryer.
The quality of cleanliness was one thing I really missed! Often, I had to be satisfied with less than clean clothes, we did not have a lot of clothes and we had to wear things at least several days.
I think that one thing you have to figure, buying a used washer and dryer for under $50 each, you may end up saving money, even if you have to pay utilities if you stick to your cost saving plan.
I think the title here is a little misleading. You are not managing without a washer and dryer. You use one at least once a week, it’s just not in your unit. I was expecting to read about how you wash your clothes in the bathtub and line dry them or something! There are MANY apartment complexes and town home complexes that do not have W/D or hookups. I would even go as far as to say that most have laundry facilities, rather than in-unit laundry rooms. This is in cities big and small. I don’t think it’s “an unusual frugal decision”, I think it’s the same decision that most people make whether it’s their choice or not. If there is no laundry hookups, you have to use the facilities on site or go to a laundromat. If there are hook ups, but you don’t want to purchase a w/d set, or you can only get the small stackable ones, then it makes obvious sense to use the on site facility. When we moved in to our house we used a laundromat until we were gifted a high efficiency washer and dryer. I was just looking at our bills and usage and it costs us less than $1 per load to wash and dry and that’s in the CA bay area. So, while you may think that it is an unusual decision, I assure you it’s not. Keep on writing! Love your articles!
Sarah in Alaska says
Wow. I could have written this article. I would only add that in my situation, I share the machine with 5 other people…people, not families. There really isn’t a reason for me to own, large, expensive appliances that can easily be shared.
I remember when I lived in an apartment building and each floor had a washer and dryer. Let’s see 20 apartments on 1 floor and 1 washer and 1 dryer. It was a struggle to even do your laundry and when the wash was done someone had thrown their wet clothes in the dryer, so you had to wait.
The cost to wash and dry was around $3.oo and you always had to put pay for the dryer 2x as they were still damp. One time I had someone pour bleach in my wash as they failed to look inside before pouring it in.
At the end of the day although the laundry was down the hall it was less stressful to go down the street to the laundry mat. We could watch our clothes, no panic that someone would steal or damage them and it was cheaper as they were high powered.
We weren’t allowed to have in unit washer and dryers but it wouldn’t have made sense to us when it’s not somewhere we planned to stay.
I don’t know if you have freecycle in your area but there are forever people posting washers and dryers for free whether it be from an old renter, they just want an upgrade or small repair needed. Maybe you could look into that.
I’m actually a member of 2 local Freecycle groups.
Nobody posts appliances. In fact, nobody posts anything to give away. All anyone posts are things like “Wanted: brand new school uniforms for my child.” Or “Wanted: pure blooded poodle for my child.” Or things like that. I was really surprised that there weren’t more people giving things away, but nobody is in either of the two groups. Although, I guess I’ll be giving my broken washer away on there soon, maybe somebody else can duct tape it together! ha ha
When it started, lots of people gave things away. Now it seems like people are just looking for handouts.
I think I’m lucky that my area’s Freecycle still does have GREAT things…of course there are plenty of WANTEDs that get a little ridiculous, but mostly it seems to be a good group. I’ve gotten rid of a lot of extra stuff and received a TV and a chest freezer!
In my area we have people who ask for high ticket items every week! A few weeks ago someone was asking for a mobile home! I have to admit it can be entertaining to read the posts of all the beggars!
Bethany D says
That’s too bad freecycle isn’t working for you so well. Our freecycle here always has a post about big ticket items like washer/dryers. In fact, the moderator posted something, close to the holidays, about not posting your child’s Christmas wish list on freecycle. Although I will say some people get pretty specific. I have been doing laundry at a laundromat every week now for about 6 months. Here it costs $1.75 per washer but the dryers you can put a quarter in for every 5 minutes — kind of nice if you only have delicates, etc. I hate not having a washer/dryer right now at my disposal but I also only spend 2 hours a week on laundry and thats it. Once I put in that 2 hours, I’m done until next week. So I kind of like that too —
Wow we get LOTS of appliances posted in our group….that’s where I got my dryer. 🙂 Hope you can find something!!
We didn’t have a washer or dryer for about 2 years. We used the laundromat on a weekly basis. Our WEEKLY budget for doing laundry was usually about $30.
When I had my baby, suddenly our weekly budget for doing laundry went up to $50. That’s right, $200 PER MONTH to do laundry. It cost $2+/load to wash and $2+/load to dry, and we had lots of loads of laundry each week.
So we got a new washer and dryer. Our power bill went up $10 per month, but otherwise…. well, we’re saving $190 PER MONTH by doing our own laundry at home. Now, our lot rent includes water, so if we had to pay water separately it might be a different story, but just in terms of power usage….$10/month? Our new washer and dryer had paid for themselves in three months.
Unfortunately, because we bought our washer “new to us” with no warranty… Our “new to us” washing machine went out at the beginning of January and we’ve been having to use the laundromat until we come up with a washing machine (which we’re going to break down and do the rent-to-own thing, since we can’t come up with the cash to get a new one). $50 per week to do laundry? HA! $70 per week to do laundry for me, my husband, our teenager (who, despite being told to stop, goes through three or four outfits per day), our 2 year old (potty training 2 year old!) and our 10 month old (solid foods, teething and messy diapers that leak through into clothes every day!!). And we can’t just skip doing laundry for a few weeks and save up, because I de-cluttered our house and got rid of our excess clothes. We each have 5 days worth of clothing in our closet or dresser, which means that during the week we’re re-wearing clothes anyway.
Whereas I was washing our bedding every 3 or 4 days, now we’re going weeks without washing bedding, and since my potty-trainer wets through sometimes, that isn’t fun. And as parents who potty train know, you can’t just say “We’ll put this off for a while” because when your child is ready to potty train (and you’re ready to quit paying for the diapers!!!), you have to DO IT THEN!
Not to mention all the time we’re spending at the laundrymat. At home, we have the leisure to do a load or two daily, and fold when we want, etc. It’s costing us in time, in actual money, in energy (whomever does the laundry at the laundromat is exhausted when they get home because of lugging six or eight big heavy baskets of clothes, blankets, etc.).
Just sharing my experience (and venting a bit….I want my new washing machine!!!).
Leighann, have you thought about getting a Lowe’s card? I don’t know if you’re opposed to credit cards, but Lowe’s always offers either an extra 5% off or 6 months of 0% financing if you purchase an appliance of $299 or more using your Lowe’s card. I’m thinking using 0% financing for 6 months, figuring out how much you’d have to pay each month to have it paid off in those 6 months, and then paying it off completely by the end of the 6 months, you’d be better off financially in the long run than one of those rent-to-own places. I’ve never done the rent-to-own thing, so I can’t speak from personal experience, but I imagine that route would end up costing you more money in the long run. Just a thought if you weren’t aware.
I have no credit, so I can’t get any credit cards. That’s why I’m reduced to rent-to-own places.
I’m not opposed to a credit card, but without a credit card (or someone giving you credit), you can’t get one. Every time I’ve applied for a card, I get rejected, so I stopped applying. I’ve applied at a number of places, and for a number of cards, from Wal Mart to big banks. Nobody wants me. So, no credit cards for me, which means no credit, which means that when emergencies come up we pay even more money in the long run.
At least the rent-to-own places report positively on your credit report, and they give credit to anyone. It does wind up being much more expensive, but the washing machine I’m planning on getting is $430, and the one I was looking at at Lowe’s was $379, so there’s not that all much difference between the two, and if I pay it off in six months (which won’t be a problem) I don’t get charged interest or financing fees.
Make your teenager pay for his/her own laundry costs. He/she should be doing it him/herself also. That should cut down on the clothes changing.
My teenager doesn’t get an allowance. How would she pay for it herself?
She’s 14, btw, too young legally to work outside the home, and not responsible enough to trust babysitting. Some kids are ready at 14, but my 14 year old likes playing with Littlest Pet Shop toys.
And I’ll get the washing machine immediately (or within a week, whenever it will get delivered) so that means that instead of paying $50/$70/whatever that week for laundry at the laundromat, I can put that money back into savings or towards the new washer, and get it paid off even more quickly. I just can’t get anything saved up when the money I’m supposed to be putting into savings is going to paying that horrible laundromat bill!
Leighann, I totally feel you!! I feel like I was reading my own story just now 🙂 I have 3 kids (5 & under) and doing laundry is such a drain! We spend around $30 every 3 weeks, sometimes more often if sheets are extra soiled. We have hookups in our apt. But I don’t know when/if we’ll be able to afford a w/d. Hang in there! 🙂
Ahhh, that makes sense. Well, it sounds anyway like you’ve done your research, know your options, and do well with what they are.
Sometimes you just don’t have much of a choice 🙁
Leighann- You should get a secured credit card. Basically it works like a debit card where you load money onto it and then use the Visa or Mastercard to spend it. It’s not connected to a bank account. But what’s cool about it is that it builds credit for you. Not an immediate fix but it will help build credit for the future. Also another good option for someone with no credit is a store credit card. Not like a Walmart one that is sponsored by Visa but like and Old Navy of Kohls card. Also you should make sure your utility companies report to your credit agencies. Paying these on time also help build credit. Good luck.
I HATE rent to own because of the high Interest rates but I understand so people just have to. When my washer went out I went on Craigslist and bought one for $50. Only lasted about a year but was well worth it over going to a laundry mat.
I’ve actually taken some of my tax refund money and applied for a secured credit card. Fingers crossed that they don’t turn me down!
Between that and the small amount of rent-to-own stuff that I’m doing (the key to that is to pay it off before interest starts to be charged, which is what we do) (my husband wants me to point out that we’re not doing rent-to-own technically, we’re doing 90-days-same-as-cash, so it winds up being a lot cheaper) my credit should start to build up slowly.
I don’t have any negative hits on my credit, but even when you don’t have outstanding bills, companies don’t want to finance you or whatever unless you’ve got some good hits on your credit, too.
Laura Jane @ Recovering Chocoholic says
Wow, what an experience! I can only imagine how frustrating that would be. Although I’m generally not a fan of rent-to-own or any type of credit (even 0%), in your case if I really couldn’t scrape together the money to pay cash, I’d go ahead and do the rent-to-own thing. It really does make sense for you since you’ll save $190 month that way! Have you tried having your teenager do his/her own laundry? That might help with the refusal to wear less than 3-4 outfits a day and encourage them to rewear items. It would also save you some time, since you have so much else to do.
I have taken barely-worn items off the top of the hamper, fluffed them in the dryer for a couple of minutes and put them back in the closet.
me too! I was thinking the same thing. Not everything has to be washed just because it was worn. Jeans don’t need to be washed everytime. That sweat shirt that was worn over a t-shirt is fine. Children don’t all ways know to not put everything they’ve worn in their hamper. If you have a child that thinks it does, let them put it in the laundry. Just don’t tell them that you’re not really washing everything they bring you.
We got our washer last year at a garage sale for $75.00. It works great, and we’re really happy with it. If you watch the ads, you might find something much more in line with your budget.
And . . . I just have to comment on the 14-year-old changing those clothes. I’m a mom of teens too, and let me just encourage you to enforce your rule about not changing clothes. For one thing, she needs to obey you just because God has given you authority over her, and that’s an important lesson. Secondly, she really should be helping you with laundry. We have six kids, and everybody helps–folding at the very least. My teen girls can throw in loads for me too. Don’t underestimate her. You might be enabling her habit if you are washing those clothes that aren’t really dirty.
I don’t know how long of a contract you have to sign on rent-to-own and if the monthly rate reflects that, but try not to get locked into anything too long.
If you can get a short term-contract, another option if you have a good one in the area is a used appliance store (wouldn’t take as long to build up the money to buy used as new, although delivery probably wouldn’t be free, like it sometimes is with new). Granted the warranty is usually only 30-90 days (if any) but it would be worth looking into. Also, if you have a Habitat for Humanity ReStore in your area, they often get washers and dryers donated. I don’t know what the warranty is or isn’t on these.
Also, see if there’s a sale day at your laundromat. Our local one (we were without a washer for several years and had extra clothes built up to cover) has $1 off the big machines on Wednesdays and Fridays, so we planned accordingly. We had to make a few non-sale-day runs over the years, but for the most part got by on sale-day-only mega runs.
I definitely could not live without our washer and dryer. We learned this the hard way last week-our washer went out! With 2 kids and an active duty husband, I easily have 2 loads (or more) of laundry to do every day. Even more lately since my toddler is potty training. The laundromat here is $1.25 to wash and $1.25 to dry. That’s $10 for 4 loads. My husbands uniforms are thick and heavy, so you can’t put very many in one load or they don’t get clean enough and will not dry in one cycle-so they are small loads each time. I have had to go to the laundromat to wash 3 times since the washer went out, and JUST washing there and drying at home, it has already cost us $20-that’s just for 3 trips and washing only!
Wow – those are really cheap prices to wash and dry! Happy for you that you can do laundry so cheaply.
It is an unusual frugal decision, but you’ve obviously thought it through carefully. Kudos in finding a great laundry routine that works for you! 🙂
I seem to spend $10.00 on just washing and drying a king size comforter 🙁 What a neat idea though!!!!
We grew up without a washer and dryer. We just went to the laundry mat a few times a month and it worked out. I don’t know about how it impacted the budget since I was a kid, but I learned how to hand wash certain things and plan out what to wear. I like having my washer and dryer but at times I wash small loads because it’s easy and that’s no money saver.
I easily do three large loads of laundry a day, and that isn’t including ANY bedding. I couldn’t survive without my front load high capacity washer and dryer. Can you imagine sitting with a washboard and basin?
Lea Stormhammer says
Washboard and basin meant that people only had two or three outfits and wore them until they were filthy. Women wore aprons and men wore them too – or “dust coats” or “coveralls” or something – to cover the clothes and keep them clean. It’s only been less than 100 years since the majority of the people in the US have had the opportunity to not wash clothes by hand and our clothes consumption has gone way up in that time!
Either way – I’m so GRATEFUL I don’t have to wash my clothes, etc. by hand. I lived overseas for a short while and did and my parents grew up on farms in the 1930’s and still washed clothes using the old ringer washers. Makes me grateful for my super-sized, He washer for sure!
I know people that had wringer washers in the late 80s.
My Grandma STILL uses a wringer washer and line drying in the summer. 🙂
Kristin Wright says
Interesting article! We use our washer and dryer to wash cloth diapers, so we save a bundle of money on diaper costs. They also came with our house – bonus! Not really sure if I’d want to wash diapers by hand or take them every other day to the laundromat!!
I had towash diapers by hand when my kids were little. Women actually used to rinse the dirty ones out in the toilet, squeeze out the water and then throw them in a diaper pail full of water with a little touch of bleach. Then wash them by hand later or throw in an open wash tub that agitated them awhile. Then we’d pull each one out individually and send them through a wringer we had to crank by hand! http://blogs.families.com/media/133380495-M_01.jpg
I remember that. My grandma took care of us grandchildren and since I was the oldest, I had to change diapers for little cousins. I do remember rinsing out the dirty diapers in the toilet. It made me glad for disposables when I had my own. I like saving money, but I valued my sanity more 🙂
Of course I’m reading this just after one of our cats puked on my son’s comforter, but I’m SO thankful we have a washer and dryer in our house!
Laundromats must be cheap where you live! I had to go to a laundromat a few months ago during a long power outage. It cost $35 for less than a week’s clothes for six people (and that didn’t include any bedding). Their large machines that hold the equivalent of my washer at home were $4.00 per load ($4.50 for a hot water wash).
I think she was talking about the laundry room in her building. They don’t cost as much as a laundromat because it’s not a business looking for profit – it’s a service provided to the residents of the building and is partially funded by their rent.
We live in an apt. complex and there are only 2 washers and dryers in our building. It costs us $1.50 to wash and $1.50 to dry (and they continue to raise the prices). With 2 adults and 3 kids it adds up FAST and costs much much more than it would if we lived in a house and factored in water/energy use. I believe this is only working for the writer because there are only 2 adults and it also costs her less to launder their clothes. Having my own washer and dryer would feel like SUCH A LUXURY!
We live in an apartment building of about 40 units, and share 3 working washers/dryers. Our cost is also about $3 to wash & dry each load. (We aren’t allowed to hang laundry outside, which I completely understand, and have no space inside either.) As adults we re-wear what we can, but with 2 kids under the age of 2, I agree that the cost can get pretty crazy.
When I see people asking why not everyone uses cloth diapers, I have to point out that it would be downright crazy for us to even try. Our choice is based upon cost, having to leave our apartment and go across the building, and the fact that we often have to race the neighbors to see who gets to a machine first.
My DH and I dream of one day being able to stay INSIDE to do laundry. 🙂
This brought back some memories of my husband and I living in our 12-unti building and fighting the neighbors for the 1 washer/dryer. We would listen at the door to see if someone was done using it so we could hurry and put our things in before anyone else got there! We also had to set the timer to go down and make sure we got our things out before someone else took them out for us. One night I was desperate to do laundry (we had an infant and plenty of dirty clothes!) and the guy below us was not taking his clothes out of the dryer. I debated for about 2 hours before I knocked on his door to ask him to take them out. I felt like a weirdo 🙂 Soooo glad our new house came with a washer and dryer. Never thought I would consider doing laundry in my home a “luxury” 😉
Our apt complex charges $1.25 to wash and $1.50 to dry, so we spend about $35 a month on laundry alone. Our apt does not have hookups, so we can’t just purchase our own. I cannot WAIT to have my own washer and dryer and be able to throw a load in “whenever I want” and not “fight” all the other residents over the one working dryer. 🙂
Just replying under the top name on the list here, to leave a general comment. My daughter (family of 4) uses a fold up plastic dryer rack. She loads the damp clothes on in the morning after her daughter goes to school and takes them off and folds them before she gets back home. It can be set up on her front porch outside when it’s nicer or in the corner of the kitchen in winter.
If you don’t have a washer in the home you can wash most clothes in the sink by hand, squeeze the water out and hang them over the shower rod or hang light weight items on hangers first and in a door way. Works best for undies, bras, light weight shirts, wash clothes and kitchen towels. But hey even that that can save you several loads and lots of money each week!