Intellectual Exercise: Laundry

Photo by Jeremy Sallee on Unsplash

Intellectual Exercise – is using a laundry mat money/time savings?

As a single person, I need to do laundry about once every-other week. At the mat, I use one washer (size depending on whether I include the comforter). I then use one to three dryers. Overall costs vary between $5 and $7. But I need to include the 4-mile travel there – let’s say 65 cents a mile. I am not including the soap as that will be the same either way. Comes out to be about $300 a year.

Buying a washer-dryer set and having it installed is about $1400. The lifespan of a washer/dryer is 10 years – so about $140 a year, but with a big initial outlay. Then the electric and water to run everything is about $60 annually. So $200 a year – home laundry is much cheaper, right?

Well, don’t forget the square foot use in the house – about 15 feet (in the average home at $123 a square foot = $1845, mine is a lot less despite it being a much larger percentage of the house). Toss that on top for 10 years (assuming house maintenance, heating the square footage, etc.), comes out to be $184.50 a year. Or $384.50 a year.

Without taking into account square footage, a washer-dryer will pay for itself in 5 to 6 years. Including square footage, a washer-dryer actually is a losing proposition for one person. (In my inexpensive house, it is break even.)

No money saving then. Next question would be time savings.

As a single person, packing up everything to go to the mat, washing everything, and coming back home and putting things away is a 2-hour run. If it was in my house, it would be “faster” but take up a lot more brain space. I call that even. I never have a mental load of “there is a pile of laundry to get done”. Either it is done and put away, or doesn’t need doing.

Therefore no difference, as a single person, using a mat or a home machine in cost, and maybe even some benefit on the mental load to use a laundry mat. If I had children, yes, being able to do laundry at home is a benefit.

I was wondering if I really was saving or losing money doing the laundry mat. Interesting to find out, when you add all the hidden costs, it is a break-even thing.

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