On the subject of washing and saving money…

Yesterday’s post was on the subject of saving money on laundry detergent. Today that got me thinking about an older, smarter choice we made on the subject of wash that has saved (and cost) our family a lot.

When we first bought our home five years ago, it had a five-year-old washer and dryer. Within a few months of moving in we discovered a wood rot problem that meant we had to replace an entire bathroom–right down to the studs in our 2nd floor condominium. It was heartbreaking, costly, and not covered by insurance.

Just a few months later, as we were leaving on vacation, the washing machine made a terrible noise. We called in a repairman and he gave us the news. “It’s dead.”

That is really the short story of what started our debt journey. An unexpected/unplanned bathroom repair after sinking EVERYTHING into the purchase of our home and an unexpected failure of a major appliance.

We had to replace the appliance. A busy family of three working all the time–and the nearest laundrymat is quite far. We bought a washer on a credit card, and delivery of the new one, and disposal of the old one.

One year later, as we sit down to dinner, black smoke rolled out of our laundryroom. Fire in the washer–of all places. The motor burned out.

We called a repairman who has a one-hour minimum charge of $150. Within minutes he’d told us that the machine had been damaged beyond repair.

My husband was especially resourcful in how he tackled this news.

“You’ve got to charge me for an hour right?” he asked the repairman.

Rob made him a cup of coffee, pulled out the laptop at the kitchen table and had the repairman buy third washing machine. Without regards to price, but finding us something that we will never have to fix again.

This wonderful repairman navigated us to the best vendor, the best machine and told us what to look for if we didn’t choose that machine. We “comp shopped” around to other vendors, and he was right. (Who would know a washer better than he?).

We’ve now had the “new” machine two years and we love it. It runs smoothly, cleans well, and saves us a fortune on detergent and water because it’s a front-loader. Our energy bills are smaller too.

That’s not all–the repairman took a look at our dryer and told us what parts would wear out next and told us how much they would cost to fix. It turns out the main belt in the dryer was just about to go (hence the squeaking). The cost of another service call and the belt would have been the same as “adding on” a dryer to our planned order for the replacement washer.

Rob also got opinions on the dishwasher we knew was on borrowed time. We saved up another year and bought the recommended Bosch dishwasher and couldn’t be happier.

Three new appliances, and one consultation with a professional.

By the way–none of the three new appliances have ever required repairs. All came with excellent warantees, and all are kid-friendly.

  • Expat Finance

    What a brillant idea – I never would have thought of actually asking the repair guy to help you choose a replacement machine! It’s so simple, but I’ve never thought of it before – thanks for the tip.

  • JessicaW

    Thanks Expat for your comment. This blog is fairly new so please let us know if you can think of any improvements that can be made. We’re totally thrilled with our new washer–and since it’s a front-loader, it looks far too small. I never would have bought it myself considering how many loads of wash we do. Turns out, it’s exactly right for our family! (Also, since our “tween” daughter is responsible for doing her own wash, this machine has a wonderful feature–a buzzer that tells when it’s overweight. It won’t start a load that’s too heavy! This was the likely cause of death for our last machine).