Our $300+ Pile of Laundry – Frugal Confessions

Our $300+ Pile of Laundry

Featured as a Carnival of Money Story.

We don’t own many clothes. While this may be clear to others upon first entering our sparse walk-in closets, I only recently realized this while packing for our 12 day trip abroad. Turns out that I don’t just enjoy doing laundry like clockwork on Friday mornings, but I actually need to do laundry on the same day weekly, lest we be without clean clothes! We are not dire when it comes to clothes, but this issue was certainly exacerbated by the fact that we live in Houston and so we don’t have vast winter wardrobes; if it had been a trip to the Caribbean, we could have probably gotten through a week and a half without laundry machines.

By Thursday of the first week in Vienna, just six days into our trip, it became painfully obvious that we would need to do some laundry. Fortune had it that our hotel offered a laundry service which was perfectly convenient as we were getting ready to go onto the second leg of our trip for a five-night stay in Salzburg and we wanted to have everything sorted out beforehand. I figured we’d pay $20-$30 for the service, and had mentally made peace with that amount. When Paul came back with the cost sheet broken down by piece of clothing, I was shocked. I was so shocked, in fact, that I decided to go through our mound of laundry to tag and categorize each piece and figure out how much our tab would be if we had been stupid enough to take advantage of this service. And let me tell you, it was staggering enough to bring even the most exquisite Vienna Christmas Market to a screeching halt.

To give you some perspective on how terribly off my estimate was—and how crazy our hotel was—my bras alone would have cost us €18 ($23.73).

The total for everything? €229.80, or approximately $303.03 U.S. Dollars. Even on our honeymoon, we simply could not justify this cost (we could purchase our own washer and a rope for drying for that amount).

Instead, Paul shoved our dirty clothes into his suitcase and walked about three blocks away where he paid (and this is still shocking) €19 or $25.05 for two loads of laundry.

Needless to say, we have a new appreciation for our washer and dryer at home and for US Laundromats in general.

8 comments… add one

  • Europe is notorious for high prices right now, especially with the €.

    I am not surprised. It used to be a lot cheaper in their own currency. BF was telling me it was just $0.50 (converted from francs) to do his laundry back in the day.

    Now in €, it’s unaffordable for anyone.
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  • Sandra

    Good thing you got the cost sheet up front.

    • You are right about that! Could you imagine if I had just given over our lump of laundry and gotten the bill afterwards?

  • That price sounds about right – in my bachelor days and travelling a lot – it was well worth the $20 dollars to receive clean folded clothes!

    Did they at least fold them?
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  • When I travelled Europe with friends a few years ago, laundry was so hard to come by. Two of my friends had American military cards, so they took an all day excursion to get to a nearby military base to use the coin machines. Even then, they ran out of time to dry, so we actually did have to string the clothes lines in our hotel room! The price for frugal traveling.

    • Hello Lindy!

      Thanks for your comment. That was a good move to go on the military base. We had laundry in our apartment where we lived in London, but we were only given so many tokens, and so we normally ended up having to string up our laundry as well in the livingroom, bathroom, and wherever else we could find it!

      Happy New Year:).

  • That’s quite a story. For your $25, did you have to run the stuff thru’ coin-op machines, or did you hand them over the counter for the proprietor to do it? Even in the US, you’d pay a hefty price to get someone else to do your wash.

    Back in the Dark Ages, I was not fond of having to haul load after load of wash up and down the stairs to our dirty, often crowded apartment-house laundry room, and I really hated having to load it all into the car, haul it to a laundromat, and sit around for two hours listening to other peoples’ kids scream. So one day I had the brilliant idea of taking it to a laundromat whose proprietors would do the wash for you. They charged by the pound. Don’t even ask what a pair of jeans weighs, much less pants for a 6’2″ man. I almost fainted dead away! That was when I started campaigning to get us out of the apartment into a house, where we could install a washer; took a year to exit the apartments & took another two years after I got him into the house to get the w/d, but it was worth it.
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  • Jeff

    Many of the dri-fit microfiber clothing can be cleaned in the bathroom sink and dried overnight. We have done laundry in condos going skiing and in houses we have rented.

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