thethriftyhausfrau: (woman at a well)
[personal profile] thethriftyhausfrau
It's been sixteen years since I last had to use a coin laundry. That episode was a couple of trips in the spring of 2000, when our neighborhood was hit by a tornado and lost power for five days, but the shopping center about a mile away was unaffected. So I hauled our laundry over there at the beginning of the five days and again a few days later for washing, then took it home and hung it on the clothesline to dry.

The trips cost very little and I got to watch lots of Spanish language TV while waiting on the clothes to finish washing.

Recently our faithful washing machine began making strange beeping noises and shutting off with a drum filled with wet clothes. We did as all modern frugal people do and consulted Google and YouTube, then hauled out the tool kit and gave a home repair a go. Got the door unlocked, the water drained out, the pump filter cleaned, and still there was no joy.

So we called a repair service and the Thrifty Mister volunteered to take all the buckets of wet clothes and the rest of the laundry to a nearby coin laundry. Fourteen dollars later, we had four loads of clean clothes to run through the dryer.

FOUR-TEEN-BUCKS, people. For something that cost about $3 the last time I did it.

As the Mister put it, "This is another example of how being poor is expensive." But basically, washing your clothes is expensive: A decent washing machine is a pretty sizeable little investment of around $400, plus you have to pay to have it delivered and maybe set up, if you're not able to do so yourself. And washing machines simply don't hold up like they did in decades past. They're going to need repairs that often are as expensive as buying a new machine.

Ultimately, we had have the repair guy come out twice to work on the washer. Because we bought a home warranty that covers the appliances, we had a $65 co-pay for the first visit and none for the second. In those two visits, the repairman did $365 worth of work on the washer.

So if you're doing the math, that was essentially the cost of a new washer to get the old one fixed. And also just about the cost of the annual home warranty, which costs in the neighborhood of $400 every year.

At this point, I realized why there's a thriving market for rent-to-own washers and second-hand appliances people take a chance on. Any of those would be cheaper upfront than a repair or a warranty.

The poor tax truly sucks.
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November 2016

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