“It’s the little things that get you.” If you’ve gone through a budget counseling session, you have probably heard a similar phrase from a counselor. It’s wisdom born of experience. Look at enough budgets and you’ll see the enormous impact of small expenses multiplied many times over months or years. Laundry is one of those areas where it’s often possible to save big money with just a few small adjustments.
- Wash in cold water whenever possible. It takes much less energy.
- Avoid buying dry-clean only clothes.
- If it’s an option, dry your clothes on the line.
- If you replace your washer and/or dryer, get energy efficient models
- Use less detergent. You can get your clothes perfectly clean with far less detergent than is “recommended.”
- If you have a modern washer and dryer, research the energy-saving features and use them.
- If heat or airflow comes into your drier at the same place lint is captured, clean the lint trap before each load. If not, the lint build-up could be making your drying less efficient, meaning more energy used to dry your clothes.
- Buy generic detergent in bulk.
- Try drying clothes at 80% of the usual amount of time you leave them in. You may be over-drying your garments currently.
- Do fewer loads. This may mean wearing clothes another time or two, or waiting until you have a full load to wash and dry.
- Skip the heavy-duty washing settings. Very few loads actually require this.
- Don’t buy a separate stain stick. Rubbing detergent directly into the stain can work just as well.
- Fabric softener doesn’t really “soften” clothes. Instead it just adds a film over the top of them. Try doing some loads without softener and you may find that you don’t miss it. You can also try the trick many people use and add ¼ cup of white vinegar to each load as a much cheaper alternative.
- Use your washing machine’s high spin setting to make your clothes drier after they have been washed. Drier clothes out of the washing machine means less time in the dryer.
While these tips by themselves aren’t going to having you rolling in the money, over the course of a year they could save you hundreds of dollars.