For the past six weeks I’ve lived in an apartment where, for the first time in my life, I don’t have access to a washer and dryer. I don’t return to my hometown often enough to do laundry regularly at my dad’s house (though I do use his washer and dryer on the rare occasions I am there). It’s not like I’ve never used a laundromat before – I’m quite familiar with the concept. I went to multi-week summer camps as a kid where we were hauled to laundromats on the weekend to clean our clothing, and there’s always the occasional problem with an appliance at home. I’ve also gone to laundromats once or twice when I just wanted to get all of my laundry done at once, instead of doing 3 separate loads over the course of the day.
So using the laundromat here hasn’t been a problem in the past six weeks. The problem tends to be that the laundromat I go to has a nail salon next door on one side, and a Dollar General next door on the other. So about as often as not, I head to the Dollar General for 10 or 15 minutes while my clothes are in the washer, to buy a snack or some household stuff. Then I transfer my laundry, and go to the nail salon to get a pedicure while my clothes are in the dryer. What would be a $10 trip to the laundromat suddenly becomes a $60 event since I decide to multi-task. Spending the money isn’t a huge problem, since I’d probably buy those things eventually anyway. However, I’m trying to get myself back into the “No Spend Month” attitude, including delayed gratification/not buying things until you actually need them. And right now, I really don’t need a pedicure.
The last time I was doing laundry at the laundromat, I noticed people dropping off and picking up their laundry, so I asked the woman in charge a little about how it worked. She told me that they only charge an extra $1.50 per load to do your laundry for you (and they fold your clothes). If you have special requests (don’t dry something, etc.), you just let them know and they follow your requests to the best of their ability.
Friday afternoon I dropped off a load of clothes, because I needed my work clothes clean to bartend over the weekend and hadn’t had time to wash them myself during the week. I expected the total to be around $5 for one (large) load of clothes. When I came to pick them up a few hours later, the woman told me they had split into two loads and the total was $5.75. I had my own detergent and dryer sheets (I always leave them in my laundry basket), so I got a discount for that. So far nothing I’ve looked at appears to be ruined, so having them do my laundry not only saved me time and energy, but I think it also ended up being less expensive than doing it myself would have been! Washers there are $1.50 per load, and dryers are $.25 for 8 minutes (so I usually spend $1.50 or more per load to dry, also). I can’t believe I somehow saved money by having someone else do my laundry, and I also can’t believe I didn’t think of this ages ago!