Wednesday, May 11, 2011

Why Pay? Dry Cleaning

I love taking care of my home. 

I love cleaning and scrubbing.  I love cooking and decorating.  I even like doing the laundry, but there's one thing that I really hate:  IRONING.

My husband works in an office setting where dress shirts are required 5 days a week.  Because I hate ironing so much, I used to take his shirts into the dry cleaners to have them washed, ironed and starched once a week.  It was a pleasure to do this, and I felt so "pampered."

When we moved to New Zealand in the fall of 2008, the dream of no more ironing ended abruptly.   I'll never forget the first (and last) time I visited the dry cleaner in Wellington.  I had 8 shirts to be laundered and the total came to $64.00!  $8.00 per shirt?  Why?  How?  Better to throw the shirts away and buy new ones at that rate!

That was the dawn of my "frugal awakening," born out of downright necessity.  I began to ask "how much is too much" to pay for someone else to do something that I can easily do myself.

Still, when we moved back to the US, I was excited to return to my old lifestyle of dropping off shirts for someone else to iron.  Except now, paying $2.00 per shirt even seemed like too much.  Plus, a woman's blouse was $5.00 and up - way too much when I can do it myself for practically free!  So, back to the ironing board I went, armed with a can of spray starch and a good soap opera to watch. 

Here's this week's ironing (2 weeks worth of shirts): 16 shirts - 10 work shirts, 2 men's casual, and 4 women's blouses. 

I still hate ironing, but the truth is that being frugal isn't always fun...except when you add up how much you've saved!

Now let's do the Fake-It Yourself Breakdown!

16 Shirts Bi-weekly = 416 Shirts Per Year (Spray Starch $1.00 x 6)

Total Fake-It Cost $6.00

16 Shirts Bi-weekly: 10 work shirts, 2 men's casual, and 4 women's blouses ($2.00 for men's, $5.00 for women's = $44.00)  Cost per year (416 Shirts) = $1,144.00

Total Fake-It Yourself Savings $1,138.00


  1. Just a suggestion, have you ever considered getting a dry cleaner-type steam press? If it gives professional-type results and is faster, maybe it's worth the initial investment? Just thinking out loud:)

  2. Jackie - you got me thinking! I just checked out how much steam presses go for - saw one at Walmart for $164...not bad. It would certainly be faster and it would enable me to do suits as well...Thanks for the idea!

  3. EXACTLY how I saw things when my husband was working!! Just set up my ironing board, turned to a good TV show, and ironed away (I'd tell him his shirts were ironed with love!!) - knowing the satisfaction I got from seeing him leave the house looking so dapper, and knowing the $$ I'm saving!!

  4. Where my husband works they do his laundry along with the rest of the family it is only 5.00 a month. He is able to get 64 shirts and 64 pants done a month. I never would have thought dry cleaning could have been that high. Hope he never quits..

  5. I work at a dry cleaners on the side. They all have discount days, and coupons. If my husband wants it ironed, either he does it himself, or I take it to work with me for half off! You're more dedicated than I am!

  6. I also hate ironing - For most clothes, I use the $2 dollar store wrinkle reducer spray. This is great for anything of course other than dress shirts. For those, I spray on just before I iron if I decide to actually iron. It really helps


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