I have decided to post as regularly as I can ways to cuts costs and save money. The savings can be put towards other endeavors, such as getting out of debt, buying property, investments on the farm or homestead, or just making a buck stretch further.
Laundry is something that most of us have to do regularly. Some people take the laundry to be done elsewhere, some do it themselves, and some expect you to do it for them (kids). Not at our house. Eight years old and older do their own laundry. This was the result of picking out clothes and throwing in the laundry basket for us to wash, even though it was not dirty.
Wash your own – I used to take my dress clothes to someone to launder them and press them. I liked the nice creases. I was never taught how to use an iron, and after working in a drycleaner, I learned. It is not difficult. I actually found it somewhat relaxing. I would Iron my dress pants, and dress shirts. It would save me about $40 a week. I added to this by either watching a video while ironing or listening to a podcast. There are tons of free podcasts and videos available online to extend your education. I bought a used iron ad Goodwill for $5. I made my own ironing board out of scrap lumber and material remnants from a fabric store. $40/week x 52 weeks $2,080/yr saved. You can buy a used car for that!
Buy used – After ironing much of my dress ware I had one favorite pair of pants. Wrinkle free Dockers. You could wash and dry and there was no need to iron. I wanted a few extra pairs, but wasn’t about to pay upwards of $40 a pair. Back to good will. It took me a few visits over a month but I found 6 more pairs for $4 each and sometimes $2 each when it was color of the day. Another $200 saved.
Line dry your clothes – Back in the day no one had electric or gas clothes dryers. It was hung out on a line. Remember movies, pictures from the 40’s and 50’s. EVERYONE had a clothes line in their back yard, balcony or apartment window. When doing some energy research I found the electric dryer was one of the most power hungry appliances. It is also a huge vampire drain on electricity. That is when an appliance draws energy whether it is on or not. Additionally, it made the whole house heat up. Now that we are in summer the AC was battling the dryer and both making the electric meter spin. We now line dry all our laundry. There are several added bonuses. If I were still wearing dress clothes, line drying removes much of the wrinkles, so less ironing. The AC works less keeping the house cool. The dryer has been unplugged, and no more vampire energy drains.
Get a vent switch for the dryer – This may be contrary to the above tip, but in winter months we vent our dryer exhaust into the house. When it is too cold outside to dry clothes effectively, usually winter months, we have a leaver that allows us to vent the moist warm air into the house. In winter here, the air can be quite dry. By venting into the house we add the needed moisture, and retain the otherwise wasted heat that was vented to the outside. You can get one at most home improvement stores for around $10.
Make your own laundry soap – I was a bit skeptical about this. But it is how it was done again in the old days. I read about this in an online form (The Survival Podcast) and decided to give it a try. The ingredients are simple and used to be hard to find until more and more people started doing this. The recipes vary and you can experiment based on family laundry needs and what is in your water. 1 bar of soap (we use naphtha), washing soda, and borax. That is it. No harsh chemicals or dyes, or fragrances. Remember I said out 11 year olds do their own laundry? It is so simple that make their own soap too. I will post more on the DIY post soon. This recipe allows me to do a load of laundry for about $0.02/load. We only wash in cold water, and have an energy efficient washer. The soap can be used in top, front, and high efficiency washers. Two of my kids and myself have somewhat sensitive skin and we were limited to a handful of laundry soaps or our skin would break out. No ill effects since switching. We also started to notice that once we started eliminating extra chemicals from our lives our skin clear up, we could smell things much better, we seem to feel better. Here is the recipe.
Wear more than once – This may not be for everyone, but if our clothes are not dirty, and we didn’t work and sweat in them, we will wear them again. Sometimes it is a lazy day and we just hang out at the homestead, inside and take it easy. No need to do a load of laundry. When I worked in a cube all day, I sat at my desk. No need to wash something that wasn’t soiled.
Next Money Mattes Moment I will focus on the bathroom. Lots to save there.