Quick! What’s missing in this picture? If you guessed dirty laundry, wrong. That’s in a pile at my feet.
Dryer, anyone? Yes. But not just any dryer. An extra large capacity high-efficiency front load dryer on a pedastal, please. Matching set? Oh, even better.
We included our front load set in the sale of our last home. That left us with a big open space in the laundry room of our new home. My husband and I halfheartedly shopped around, but neither of us was interested in getting our credit dirty just to get our laundry clean. It had to be cash and cheap.
On our third trip to a Sears Outlet, where stock changes constantly, we decided to run through the Salvation Army next door. They were having one of their 50% off sales, and I thought I might find a pair of boots for my son. We split kids and headed off to explore in different directions.
I was happily wandering through the clothing racks when my husband found me, “Guess what? They have a washing machine that looks like it’s in pretty good shape. At half off, it’d be just 30 bucks!”
I looked at him blankly. Why is this strange man talking to me? Who buys washing machines from thrift stores? I’m almost positive I told him I wanted a front loader.
“What do you think? Em, say something!” Clearly my husband was eager to get back to his bargain machine before someone else snapped it up.
So I said the first thing that popped into my head, “I’m speechless. Just let me think.” I did some quick mental math and decided that our checking account would be much happier with a $30 charge than a $1,500 one. I was tired of signing papers and spending money.
“Ok, let’s go for it.” I was being agreeable! I was being frugal! I was making my even-more-frugal husband a happy man! We didn’t actually know if the thing worked, but with a brand name like “Estate,” how could you go wrong? And at $30, we weren’t exactly gambling with the kids’ college funds.
After two weeks of getting to know one another, I can confidently say this: the Estate takes its job seriously. In fact, the first time I fired it up, my daughter raced out of her bedroom during naptime to ask what was wrong with the house. So it rumbles and shakes a little? It works, and for that, I am thankful. Even if our clothes now come out wrung within an inch of their lives, our fleece jackets collect the lint like a sponge, and my son’s train shirt is sporting a pink sleeve. You know what? For $30 I can live with that.
In fact, we decided we would live with the cheap washing machine and line dry our clothes outside (or inside on drying racks) through the summer. We’ve set September as our goal and plan to pay cash for a better set. If all else fails, I suppose we could buy a cheap dryer to make the set complete!
Because if I have learned anything on this frugal journey, it is that it usually takes patience and creativity and a sense of humor to make it work well. Delayed gratification is still gratifying.
A noisy washing machine? At least it gets the clothes clean.
Leave a comment! What big purchases have you saved up to pay for with cash? Does the patience and flexibilty of being frugal come hard or easy for you?
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The last washer and dryer set I found on craigslist for $100, seller was moving to apt no room for it. When I drove up to the place they had marked it down to $80 what a deal. I write the date on the back just to see how long did it last.
Our old stove the burners were burned out, pans did not lay flat.
So we wanted a flat top stove. Found on at Union Gospel Thrift store for $200, it was on 1/2 price did so it was only $100! Works Great!
Used stuff is a little worn, but so am I. Life is Good!
My mom’s washer is 30+ years old and works great-frankly the old ones hold up better than the new ones. The dial broke, but you can still hold on to the underneath part & turn it-no problem.
I had to have my new HE washer repaired twice-fortunately it was still on the 1 year warranty! And the first time it ran-I had my son run outside to see what emergency was going on! It’s in the garage, so the noise is fine in the house-but a very different sound from standard washers!
Don’t forget the Habitat for Humanity REStore (although truthfully, they price their stuff too high). But I always see lots of used washer/dryer sets in there. We also like to peruse the used appliance store. If you can find a good one, then you can find great deals. We got a stainless steel Jenn-Air counter-depth refrigerator with french doors and bottom freezer, ice maker and water dispenser for $700. It easily would have been nearly $3000 new. We call her “Jenny.”
mona fields says
They WILL dicker on the prices. I needed a light cover for my laundry room and my boyfriend told them $10 was too much. We got it for $2.
The first washer, dryer, and fridge we had in our house came from a friend’s father who rehabbed appliances. Plain fridge/freezer combo and a white washer/dryer set. We got 7 years of work out of them from $250. Time to replace the current washer after only 5 years of use…maybe we’ll find a bargain this weekend?
I want an umbrella clothesline but lack yard space at the moment, dang hens 😉 (their coop is in the prime drying spot)
Be careful of line drying outside. Just make sure you are around while doing it. I live out in the country and line dried my clothes, but one day someone (apparently about my size) decided that she needed a new wardrobe. I came home to an empty clothesline 🙁 I still LOVE the smell of fresh air on my clothes, but I make sure that I don’t leave for any length of time while my clothes are drying.
cyndi m says
I’m all for 2nd hand,scratch and dent, and an overall good deal. BUT, I do wonder how much laundry everyone is really doing. I had the same, 2nd hand set for 15 years. I have a severely autistic daughter and have to wash body fluids ALOT. Think 30 loads a week. When I got my fancy new front loaders, my water bill went down $40 a cycle, my clothes actually smelled clean again, and best of all;the sanitize cycle actually killed all the nastiness. For a family who once had to throw away $1000 worth of clothes because of a strep bacteria living in their clothes, the $1050 spen
for a set on black friday =I priceless
My husband and I got a used 2007 subaru on the cheap last year and in the nw and for this camping family, a cargo box for the roof rack was a must but SO expensive (for a frugal gal like me)! So, we waited until the REI garage sale a few months back and found a $30 used Thule with broken hinges yet otherwise lovely. A little husband ingenuity and she is perfect! Gotta love the gratification of saving money and fixing a broken down item at the same time!
We bought a set for $80 just after signing the papers for our first home. It’s a Whirlpool, identical to the set my mom had, parts are cheap when needed and works great!! I love Craigslist!!
Bearings might solve the noise and maybe the filter in the washer is plugged.
Twin Mom says
Our St Vincent de Paul (Albany) has a large collection of used washers and dryers, all tested. You might check this out if you’re still in the market for a dryer come fall.
mona fields says
Restore…. the store for Habitat For Humanity, has lots of stores in lots of towns. You can find everything from Washers to Couches and building materials. I love ours! Please donate ANY used items to them…. a wonderful organization!
Good for you! The scent of linens off a line dry cannot be replicated mmmmm. Last year I did something crazy … I had .. the word is had… a set of front loading machines and got sick of them after two years…reasons too numerous- but they were – overly fussy, fancy and the end result was they were not the work horses I anticipated.. I ended up going on Craigslist and getting the most simplest set & used. No bells or whistles_ Boy do they work great. Hah!
Be patient with that oldie. I had a 1970’s special for years. My brother bought me a brand new set and they broke down in a year. So I went back to my avocodo set that was sitting in the garage. And for line drying lots of fabric softener.
Well Black Fri has some fab deals on sets if you are still looking at that time….There are lots of great used deals out there….never thought a thrift store though LOL
Emily McFadden says
Our first washer and dryer came from someone’s front yard with a “free” sign. They served us well for many years!!!
Good for You!! I need a ‘Used’ Machine!! & I’m ALL for ‘Outside’ Drying….-or In…..why use ALL that electricity just for hot, plumped clothes!! Our Daughter visited last wknd, & I hung out at least one of her (5) loads…..& she posted how ‘intoxicating’ the fresh scent was!
ha! found you Aunt Sal!! lol,love you!