Want or Need: WASHER & DRYER

In an ever-growing materialistic society, it's becoming more difficult to distinguish the difference between what we really want and what we really need. It's time for you to weigh in on this discussion. It's real simple...is it a want or a need?




Kevin said...

I would say in our society, a washer and dryer is a need. We are not postioned to wash clothes by the river. Now as to whether you need the latest model front-loader model, now that's a different story.


want. my parents' washer and dryer stopped working about 7 months ago, and they find that they're actually saving a little money by going to the laundromat every two weeks. They just have to plan out their washings more efficiently. Besides, fresh well water is more available in Florida's aquifer than people think, and if you have a well, there's plenty of water, sun, and wind to do some laundery...

Matt W. said...

OK, I've got to split the difference on this one and say, Washer -- need, Dryer -- want. I think that for most people there just isn't a good way to wash things apart from a washing machine in this society. As for a dryer, yeah, it's a want, and one that I'm really guilty of, I hate hanging things out to dry. On the other hand, I don't need the latest and greatest (like the ones that send you a text when your stuff is dry) I just want a good balance of cheep and energy efficient.

Chris Burke said...

I thought they were a want.. because I was happy going to the laundry mat to do my laundry. when we had our first child (now 19 months old) my wife insisted that we buy a washer and dryer.. I thought she was being foolish.. however, with a kid who poops a lot, and diapers that explode, I've decided that my wife was right.. we needed a washer and dryer, because otherwise we would be going to the laundry mat every day..

however, where my wife was foolish, was that she HAD to have the fancy front loaders that cost us $1800... I was happy with the $600 set.. but no.. she wanted the fancy ones.. that I am still paying for..

Gary Durbin said...

With the laundry mats available everywhere, I gotta go with "want" on this one. I could definitely survive without them at the house.

Thanks for the comments. I really enjoyed the different viewpoints on this one.

Matt W. said...

OK, Gary. You surprised me, so let me take you through a little simple math. For the average family of 4, they will be doing a minimum of 5 loads of laundry per week, and honestly, it would be impossible to keep it as low as 5 loads every week, but I'm try to stay on the low end. On the low end of average (and I did some checking) to wash and dry a load in a laundromat is about $3. There might be some places where it could be done for a little less, but not too many, and there are quite a few that cost more than that. So, 5 loads at $3 per load is $15 per week. With 52 weeks in a year, that's $780 per year at the laundromat. Now, I'm assuming that a person is buying supplies (detergent, dryer sheets) in the store and not the laundromat, or the price would spike quite a bit more than that.

Obviously the price would be lower for a single person or a couple, but even they would be hard pressed to keep their average below 3 loads per week. Once you add kids, forget it, and if it's a family of 5 or more it goes up even more.

I know that there is some usage of water and electricity for doing it at home, but that is minimal really, and you can be careful to lower that too.

Anyway, not only is it more cost effective to have a washer and dryer at home, a family of 4 or more could buy a washer/dryer set every 2 years and still come out better than that would be going to the laundromat. For a single person or a couple, they could buy a set every 3 to 5 years, depending on how careful they are, and come out ahead. If you are buying washers/dryers that last only 2 years or less... your doing something wrong somewere.

Now I know someone will say that they don't have to dry their stuff, but could take it home and hang it out to dry, but you gain nothing from that because you could just wash at home and then hang it out to dry, and still be ahead.

On top of that is the fact that, while it's not exactly rampant, the thermostats in laundromat dryers do sometimes fail and burn up the laundry... if you are one of the unfortunate ones that this happens to, the cost goes up even more. In some area's there is also a problem with theft. If you walk away for a minute, your laundry might too, and that's going to increase your cost of using the laundromat.

In short, no, the laundromat is NOT the cheaper option. So, a washer and dryer at home is both cheaper and more convienient. I think that makes it a need. At least the washer, I still understand the dryer is a want, at least in Florida. Up north the dryer becomes a need in the winter actually.

A simple thing to think about is this. The laundromat has to buy the equipment, pay for the utilities, rent the space, pay insurance, pay some amount of employees, maintenance and upkeep, and still make a profit of some sort. Just taking that into account will tell you that they really can't do it cheaper.

On a side note, you said last week that a car is not a need either, so, pray tell, how is one to get their 5 + loads of laundry to and from the laundromat??? Hhhhmmmmmm????

Crystal G said...

I'm going to have to agree with Gary on this one. Washers and Dryers are a want and not a need. In the documentary No Impact Man, Colin Beavan washed his families (family of three) clothes in their bathtub using soap, a half a cup of borax and their feet.