Tuesday, November 22, 2011


My husband fixed the dryer. He found the part he needed on ebay for about $30 (1/3 of the price at the local appliance repair places) and in an hour it was back in working order. The hardest part was getting the panels off so he could access the innards. FYI, it was the igniter (gas dryer), and was not difficult to replace. So if you have a decent dryer that just stops heating, keep that in mind!

So I meant to update about my homemade laundry detergent experiment...not much to say, really. It's hard to get a handle on a per-load cost until I actually use up the borax and washing soda, so I can average it all. But so far it looks like, using the Dr. Bronner's soap bars which are hella-expensive, actually, I am coming in at between 7 and 10 cents per load. I've started on my second bar of soap mixture, but I don't think I'm going to buy the more expensive castile soap anymore. I'll try the cheaper kinds of laundry soaps (maybe Fels Naptha) or some Kirk's castile which is something like $1.29 at my supermarket (compared to $3.49 for Dr. Bronner's bars).

I don't know if I love the homemade stuff. It's ok, but I find I miss the "fresh" scent of detergent, however artificial that may be. And the clothes are definitely not as soft, not by a long shot.

Frankly, I'm not feeling very inspired about saving money right now. My husband and I were high-fiving after the dryer repair, and then he said sometimes he feels weird and awkward and almost embarrassed telling people he fixed his own appliance (he's done awesome money-saving tricks like this before...with our oven, with the cars...he is very handy!). This is because, he said, he feels it makes us look like we can't afford to just call someone to come and do it.

When did it become embarrassing to fix your own stuff? I mean, what a strange psychological thing that is. I mend and repair and patch. I'm not extreme about things; my kids get new stuff when they need it, my husband and I do too, but less often (I've recently had to replace some stuff obtained early in our marriage and felt resentful that it finally wore out!). I had a conversation with a family member awhile back during which I mentioned sewing buttons back on my husband's shirts when they pop off, and this person was incredulous, like, "why would you bother?" To him if a shirt loses a button it's broken, useless, done. I can't even imagine thinking that way.

Oh well, inspired or not, it is what it is. The holidays are such a difficult time for keeping the "wanties" at bay. I tried to make one final Target run for the year today but they didn't have what I needed...I might try another location tonight after the kids are in bed. I don't know if I've ever mentioned it, but I pretty much avoid Target and W*Mart between Thanksgiving and New Year's Day. I try to do online shopping as much as possible, gather my baking supplies early, etc., both to avoid the awful crowds/parking lots, and to stop myself from wishing for all the shiny, new stuff I see out there. So, one last run for hair dye and stocking stuffers, and then I'm going to try to take deep breaths, relax, and knit/sew/bake/craft my way through the next couple of months.

I'm really proud of Hubs for fixing the dryer.


Jenn said...

Yay for fixing the dryer! I understand those looks. When someone asks if I've made something my kids are wearing, I get 50/50 reactions of "That's so neat!" and looks that say "Why didn't you just buy something at the store?" One of my friends lives quite frugally, and her sister is moderately wealthy, and it is so interesting to hear the sister's reaction to how my friend and I live. She wouldn't clip a coupon if her life depended on it, while Julie and I call each other to brag about what we've saved that week!
Make it do or do without! :)

Staci said...

My brother-in-law, last weekend, gave my husband a whole stack of Brooks Bros shirts, because they were "too worn", when the only problem was the tinies bit of wear along the cuffs. I couldn't believe the luck - and thankfully he meant well, not to mock us for our frugality. But it blows my mind how wasteful people can be with perfectly good things. I'm proud of your hubs for his work! I love having a husband who is handy around the house. I can't imagine what mine has saved us over the years.

Brilliant - not going to the big stores till the new year! I can't say I'll be quite that good about Target, but I've found that the biggest money saving life change for me so far has been to make my Target runs as few and far between as possible. I always make impulse purchases. Probably the next step would be to send my husband with a list, and stay out completely. He'd have the self-control to buy only what was on the list.

Karen said...

I guess I wonder why would you NOT fix it yourself? Three cheers for your handy guy.

Liz said...

Having been married to a man who couldn't fix anything and not to Chris who can fix (properly, not jerry-rigged) anything - I definitely am prouder to save money by repairing what is already paid for. For instance - my sil was talking about our fridge (which they broke the door shelf while they owned the house) saying it needed to be replaced, but we found the part for under $50 online. Better than the $600 or more we would have spent for a new fridge.

No shame!

Liz said...

I meant "now to Chris" - my keyboard doesn't have autocorrect like my phone :)

wonderful said...

thank you for sharing, i like your posts and blog.

Shari said...

Try using the liquid laundry soap recipe from the down to earth blog. I use the sunlight bar soap because the Dr. Bronner's Castille soap is 4.99 here in Atlantic Canada. I do use the castille soap in the dishwasher soap recipe as the sunlight suds up too much in the dishwasher as i found out the hard way :P

Congrats on fixing the dryer, why waste money on paying someone else to do it if you can do it yourself?!

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