My grandma believed that if you looked after the pennies the pounds would look after themselves.
And when it comes to laundry she was right!
Well add up your spend per load ... not just detergent but conditioner, stain removers et al & the power for the washing machine, dryer & iron.
Even getting good prices on bulk buys, you can easily spend £1.30 / $2.00 per load.
Then multiply that out per month and year.
And then across your "laundry life".
Do you know what that adds up to? Near enough £20,000 / $30,000.
Crazy, crazy, crazy numbers!
And if you think I am exagerating, here's the breakdown....
|Over Adult Life||£19,650.00||$29,400.00|
£0.24 / $0.36 per wash is the recommended retail price for the UK's two biggest detergent brands even if you buy a big 50 wash family pack. A 40 wash bottle of one of the UK's cheaper fabric conditioners costs around £3.40, that's £0.08 /$0.12 per wash.
And if you pay around £4.50/$6.75 per stain removal spray per quarter ... not the cheapest but less than half the price of some of the popular "oxi" brands, and you average 7 washes a week that's another £0.05/$0.07 a wash.
See how it's adding up and that's before you even get onto the power!
If most of your washes are 40c/104f you can easily spend £0.43 /$0.68 per load just on the washing machine - the vast majority of that is the power required to heat the water.
So how on earth do you save money on laundry?
Well these are the tips that are working for me, plus some that other mums swear by ...
Save Money on Laundry
- Use Less Detergent ... keep reducing how much detergent you use little by little in every wash and see what you can get away with without reducing results. We have very hard water and grubby kids clothes but only use just over half the recommended amount. Just that can save £36 / $54 a year - that doesn't sound much but over your "laundry life" it's £1,800 / $2,700!
- Always Buy on Sale ... never buy any laundry products that aren't on sale - if you shop around you should be able to get your fave brands for half the recommended price
- Experiment With Cheaper Brands ... some cheaper brands are definitely a false economy, you end up using more and they don't get things clean but there are some good ones. I use an own brand which works out about 7p/11c per wash. Check out all the online reviews you can find before buying and mix it up with a detergent you know works until you're confident in it.
- Make Your Own Detergent ... I haven't tried this yet but it can be a great way to save money whilst still getting a greener product ... Jess @ Practically Functional has a borax free recipe
- Use Less Conditioner for a Softer Wash ... ever had that experience where you keep adding more conditioner and the laundry just gets stiffer and crustier? I now use the tiniest drop of conditioner from an enormous 5 litre bottle which I get on sale - it works out about 1p/1.5c per wash. That's a £1,000 / $1,575 saving over your "laundry life".
- Use Vinegar Rather than Conditioner ... vinegar is great at softening fabrics particularly towels - again you only need the tiniest amount
- Ditch the Expensive Stain Removers ... I confess I've become a bit obsessed about removing stains and have found you can get most out with dish liquid & biological (enzyme based) detergent ... and the trickier ones can be cleaned with either bicarb (baking soda), hydrogen peroxide or rubbing alcohol which are great general cleaners so much more cost effective
- Lower the Temperature ... most of the electricity for running the washing machine goes on heating the water and washing at lower temperatures can cut the cost per wash by half which will save you thousands over your "laundry life" ... personally, I do think you have to be careful about washing at lower temperatures - the germs in towels, tea towels and underwear are not killed at lower temperatures
- Wash Full Loads ... you use the same amount of electricity to heat the water however much you put in the machine so making sure you do a full load will save money ... most of the time this goes without saying, I can always ... big sigh ... fill the machine but we have a few fiddly things that aren't happy in with the rest of the wash that I am trying to get better at hand washing
- But Don't Overload ... unfortunately if you really do shove too much in ... (oh for a bigger drum for my towels!) ... it just won't get clean as it really needs to move around
- Dry Outside ... not possible all year round, and in the winter you need the heating on to dry inside but even if you just cut use of the dryer by half you can save £45 / $68 a year which over your "laundry life" is £2,250 / $3,375 and that's not counting the money you can save on ditching extras like dryer sheets which can be fully of nasty chemicals
- Just Don't Iron! ... I am a total convert to the just don't iron school of laundry ... get everything hung up or folded away neatly as soon as it's dry and let the creases drop out ... only iron things when you need them if absolutely essential ... this will save hours a week, not to mention your sanity and thousands over your "laundry life"
So you can see, without lots of effort and without compromising on the quality of your laundry it really is easy to save 50% on your cost per load ... that could be £0.65 / $0.98 a wash. That may not sound a big deal but you know what it's £10,000 / $14,700 over your "laundry life".
I don't know about you but I can think of better things to spend that money on than laundry!!
Grandma was right ... look after the pennies and the pounds will look after themselves.
P.S. Are you struggling to keep on top of the housework?
If you are, you'll love my other easy housework posts and my monthly mailer of super simple tips that help you conquer the housework before it conquers you ....
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More Money Saving Tips
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