Saturday, May 7, 2011


Frugal living is mostly about attitude and creative thinking. Sometimes that creative thinking can defy traditional ways of thinking or doing things.

For instance, as those who are familiar with me already know, I'm a fulltime college student with my youngest who is also a college student living with me. We live in a rental as I expect to have to move again, either when I finish this degree or when I finish my graduate studies, and we looked for the cheapest, reasonably safe, rental we could find. The one we're in looks run down, but the landlady actually is very good about taking care of the important things quickly (and if you've never had the AC go out in 100+ weather in a home with no screens on the windows, then been told by the landlord that it wasn't an emergency, you'd know how to value important things over appearance).

There's one important drawback to this apartment---no washer connections. However, it came down to a matter of simple economics. The cheapest apartment with connections was at least $50 a month more than this one, and we'd still have had to buy a washer. Even if I stayed put for 6 years and bought the washer used for $150, that would have been an extra $75 a month, plus the water and electricity. Compare that to maybe $10 a month at the laundromat.

We do laundry once every two weeks, and wash out some things by hand. We added a heavy shower rod over the center of the tub and hang clothes to dry on hangers on it and on the regular rod. Underclothes are the obvious ones to wash out by hand, and in fact I'm told bras will last longer if you do. But sheets and pillowcases also are relatively easy to wash out by hand. I use a small dishpan, fill it about half way with hot soapy water and leave the sheet or pillowcases to soak for at least an hour then scrub and rinse. Wringing the water out is easy. I drape it over the extra shower rod then twist it until I can't twist any further. Don't do that with stretchy fabrics, though.

These are tiny savings, obviously, but if we didn't, we would have to do laundry every week because we wouldn't have enough room to dry everything. And it's a lot less work than most people assume. If you have a place for a clothes line, this is much easier. A clothes line is the ultimate "solar" powered appliance too. If you use a safe biodegradeable soap, you can use the rinse water on flower beds and possibly even certain vegetables, saving money and conserving water.


Ami said...

I get what you're saying about the savings of using the laundromat vs the hookup and extra money for one, plus the expense of the washer.

But (and this is coming from someone who used either laundromats or coin op in the basement of apartments for the 1st 8 years of marriage) washing machines, the convenience of having my own washer... no one else's shitty underwear or barfy blankets... would be worth that to me.

Dawnfire said...

I don't disagree. It's a serious nuisance, and it wouldn't be my first choice. And there's certainly nothing at all wrong with chosing the convenience if you have the money. But realistically, the $65+ a month it saves us makes too much of a difference right now. One of the reasons for my post, and I probably should have made it clearer, was that I've heard the assertion that owning your own is cheaper, and I wanted to show that, at least here, it isn't.