One of the most overlooked areas of your budget is actually laundry. Sure, it may not sound like a huge expense. But when you consider how much money you could be saving by doing laundry at strategic times throughout the week instead of doing it whenever you feel like it, you’ll be surprised to see how big of a difference it makes. To help you maximize your savings, we’ve done the research for you and compiled a list of great times to do laundry to save you the most money.
Why you should consider doing laundry at specific times
Laundry is one of those things that doesn’t really seem like it would be a huge expense – until you really start looking at your budget and realize how much money is going toward the laundry. Depending on how many people are in your household, laundry can easily become one of the biggest expenses every month. For a family or small household, this could easily be between $50 and $100. For a larger household or group of people, it could easily be over $100 every month.
When is the best time to do laundry?
Generally speaking, it’s best to avoid using large electric appliances (such as washing machines and dryers) during “peak hours,” which are the times of day when electricity use and per-kWh rates are at their greatest levels. Peak hours generally occur in the late afternoon and, of course, during the evening hours. You can can also save money from not using a dryer at all!
However, these can vary depending on which state you’re in, what the climate is like, and the type of load you are washing. For example, in the cold weather of Minnesota, we know that it’s best to do laundry during mid-morning and mid-afternoon. In Florida, we know it’s best at midday. In California and the Southwest, we know it’s best in the morning (unless of course, you’re washing a super heavy load).
To be sure, you’ll want to research what the peak hours are where you live.
Tips for saving money when doing laundry
Now that you know when the best time to do laundry is, here are some more tips to help you save as much money as you can when you run your loads.
1. Use cold water
The biggest money-saver when it comes to doing laundry is also the easiest. By washing your clothes in cold water, you can save up to 17 times per load compared to what it would normally cost you with hot water. The reason why is because it costs money to heat up water. And yes, that includes the water you heat up to run a cycle of your washing machine.
Furthermore, cold water can also be gentler on your clothes—which means they won’t get worn out quickly. Plus, you also minimize the risk of your clothes shrinking. You may not be aware of this, but hot water tends to shrink some fabric types—which is why some of your new clothes may not fit you all of a sudden after a single wash.
However, don’t use this as an excuse to exclusively use cold water when washing your clothes. Remember that some clothes may require hot water. As such, it’s always a good idea to pay attention to the washing instructions on anything you want to toss into your washing machine.
2. Invest in energy efficiency
It may seem like a huge upfront investment, but energy-efficient appliances will save you money in the long run. We’re not just talking about pennies here. Some appliances can save you as much as hundreds of dollars a year.
When picking out a new washing machine and dryer, make sure you pay attention to their energy consumption and efficiency ratings. Some models can be much more energy-efficient than other models and will reduce your utility bills in the long run.
3. Pay attention to your load size
This may not seem like an important tip for saving money on laundry, but it’s one of the most overlooked. One of the biggest ways you can save money on laundry is by washing the right amount of clothes per cycle. This can easily mean a few extra items skipping a pre-wash, or it could mean you only wash half of the load that you typically do.
As such, don’t automatically assume that washing four pieces of clothing at a time is more efficient than washing more at a time. Instead, try to figure out how many clothes each load will fit and then do your load size calculations accordingly.
Essentially, the idea is to make sure you configure your washer and dryer settings to fit the clothes that you want to wash, not just the clothes that you want to fit in a given space. Under- or overloading your washing machine could lead to higher utility bills, wasted energy, and a more unpleasant laundry experience.
4. Make sure your appliances are well-maintained
Another way to save money on laundry is by ensuring that your appliances are well-maintained at all times. While this may seem like a no-brainer, it’s an area of your life that you may not give much thought to.
Probably the most important thing to stay on top of with your washing machine is the wear and tear that comes with regular use. For example, if you notice a leak underneath your washing machine or if you hear strange noises coming from it, make sure you get it fixed right away. The longer you wait to get it fixed, the more money you’ll have to spend on repairs down the road.
Also, if your washer or dryer is starting to make unusually high noises, go ahead and get them tuned up. The same goes for any other appliances that you have in your home. Be sure to follow the manufacturers’ guidelines to ensure that your devices are performing at their peak efficiency and run properly.
Did you know that doing laundry is one of the biggest hidden expenses in your personal budget? Well, now you do. And to help you save money on your laundry going forward, remember that it’s best to do your laundry during non-peak hours (such as when utility rates are at their lowest levels) and use cold water over hot. Got any money-saving tips to share with everyone? Leave a comment below; we love to hear your thoughts!