Making the Non-Frugal Choice: Renting a Washer and Dryer

Confession time: Kyle and I recently made a decision that is antithetical to our usual frugal lifestyle.  We are moving next week to another townhouse that has a washer and dryer hookup and the rental company gives us the option to rent a washer and dryer from them or provide our own (or go without, I guess).  For an extra $20/month, we decided to rent the washer and dryer.


There is, naturally, a backstory – as there probably always is when you make a decision out of line with your normal ones.  After Kyle moved to Durham, he bought a washer and dryer off craigslist for about $150, which was a great deal.  The dryer was older but the washer was of moderate age and they both worked well.  He/we used them for five years.


When we decided to move to our current townhouse last August, we found out that it already had a washer and dryer.  Kyle was so enamored with the washer and dryer and the great deal he had gotten on them that he didn’t want to sell them – he even suggested we rent a storage unit to keep these craigslist appliances in!  I ultimately talked him into selling them, saying that since we planned to live in this townhouse until we left Durham we would never need them again and we clearly weren’t going to take them with us when leaving Durham.  So we sold them on craigslist for $230.  🙂


Of course, not even a year later we were blindsided by our landlord kicking us out and it turned out that we had a need for that washer and dryer after all.  I felt really terrible at that point because I forced Kyle to get rid of our stuff and we had no expectation that we’d be able to get such a good deal on another purchase.  Clearly, finding another washer and dryer at a reasonable price and selling them for around the same price (or more!) in a year or so would be cheaper than spending $20/month in rent – but we went for the rental.


couple moving couchThe hassle of buying (and later, selling) another washer and dryer was not the main deterrent, although it was one.  The main deterrent was the prospect of moving the set, and specifically moving it into this townhouse.  Kyle and a male friend moved his into his second floor apartment and they had a pretty challenging time doing it.  Those things are super heavy!  We didn’t feel confident that he and I could move them ourselves, so we would have to enlist help.  But the real kicker is that the washer and dryer hookups are on the second floor of the townhouse.  Around a hairpin turn at the top of the staircase.  In a very narrow hallway.  We would have to wrestle the appliances into place inch by inch and if we were faced with having to lift it over anything we would be SOL.  So we basically decided that leaving the moving to the professionals was worth $20 to us.


We have justified the decision in two ways.  1) We are effectively renting our current washer and dryer as well, since they came with the townhouse, and even with the extra $20/month at the new place we’ve still reduced our rent by $25/month.  We’re pretty pleased with that.  2) Renting the washer and dryer will make the transition to having a roommate and then leaving the area entirely easier.  We won’t have to worry about whether to charge the roommate more rent or whether she would accept our asking price when I’m finally ready to leave.


So there you go.  Excuses up the wazoo, but we’re basically looking at throwing away at least $240 just to not have to buy and sell and move these things.  Not the choice we made for the 5 years Kyle lived in his last apartment, but worth it to us for this (hopefully) short-term stint in this townhouse.


What very considered and ultimately non-frugal choices have you made recently?  How much is avoiding hassle worth to you?


photo from Free Digital Photos


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25 Responses to "Making the Non-Frugal Choice: Renting a Washer and Dryer"

  1. FI Pilgrim says:

    Emily, I don’t see anything wrong with that decision, especially as your life is in flux so much right now. Not having any concern about the repair or replacement of your washer/dryer is also a nice perk.
    FI Pilgrim recently posted..Create Your Own American Dream

    1. Emily says:

      Hm, that’s a good point that I didn’t think of. We’ve never experienced a breakdown in one of those appliances. Or any other appliance, come to think of it…

  2. Over the last six months I have moved a dryer up and down a flight of stairs FOUR TIMES with either my brother or father. Thankfully I am tall and reasonably close to their height otherwise the stairs would have been quite tricky with a height imbalance. It can definitely be worth $20/month for that alone!

    1. Emily says:

      I can’t IMAGINE what would possess you to do that!!

      Kyle is 10″ taller than me. 🙁 It makes things difficult.

  3. Matt Becker says:

    Especially when you’re talking about a likely short-term rental, I see this as a pretty reasonable move. The cost difference it not huge and I don’t think there’s anything wrong with paying for convenience every now and then.
    Matt Becker recently posted..The Terrible Twos and Financial Responsibility

    1. Emily says:

      I guess it’s pretty rare for us to add a new convenience so that’s why we took a lot of convincing.

  4. For what you’re looking at as a short term rental, makes sense to me. Sometimes the ability to leave when you need to without dealing with selling a lot of STUFF is well worth it. =)

    Heck, you could easily spend that much every month at the laundromat… that’s what I did for years.
    Mrs. Pop @ Planting Our Pennies recently posted..Arbitrage, Miscalculation, And A Scarlet Letter – My Student Loan Story

    1. Emily says:

      Yeah it’s not a bad deal either way. I guess Kyle was using a Laundromat before he bought the W/D but I’ve actually never used one! Unless you count the machines in the basement of my college dorm.

  5. Cash Rebel says:

    That sounds like a reasonable choice. Just like leasing a car, in the long run I’m sure it would be a better idea to buy it. But if you’re only going to be there a year, renting sounds ideal. I’ve never tried to move a washer/dryer, but I imagine it’d be daunting…
    Cash Rebel recently posted..Salary envy and unrealistic expectations

    1. Emily says:

      Extrapolating this decision to the level of a car lease definitely makes my “THIS IS A TERRIBLE IDEA” alarm go off! Even in the short term.

  6. If you but from a used appliance store, they usually throw in free delivery and installation and the prices tend to be pretty in-line with what you would pay from a private seller.
    Edward Antrobus recently posted..Buying Bulk as a Hedge Against Inflation

    1. Emily says:

      That’s a good tip. Why didn’t I post about this while we were still making the decision??

  7. Makes sense to me.
    nicoleandmaggie recently posted..If I had a Google question…

    1. Emily says:

      Thanks for the support. Apparently no one thinks we should have agonized so much…

  8. Sounds like a good decision after you looked at convenience plus cost to rent for a relatively short term, versus cost to own and the inconvenience that would have come with that.
    Bryce @ Save and Conquer recently posted..Same Sex Married Couples Get Federal Tax Equality

    1. Emily says:

      Yeah we’re pegging that inconvenience factor pretty high at $20/month. 🙂

  9. I can sympathize with your decision and hey, every choice can’t be the frugal one. Besides, your story makes for better blog material.

    We have a TON of non-frugal choices littering the landscape of our financial lives, all of which we’ve thought over and still made the spendy choice: DirecTV, a second scooter, a second car that we only recently sold, international vacations, two gym memberships, a restaurant budget AND a separate date night budget (how’d that happen?), the list goes on and on.

    I figure, in the grand scheme of things, if you’re exceeding your big financial goals, don’t bother sweating the small stuff.
    Done by Forty recently posted..Is it Moral to Let a Sucker Keep His Money?

    1. Emily says:

      Haha yeah every financial decision becomes blog material!

      At least you’re considering these decisions carefully before choosing to spend the extra money. That’s what I call deliberate lifestyle increase rather than lifestyle inflation.

  10. That seems like a reasonable decision, actually a good one from how you describe it. That’s a reason to feel good!
    Tie the Money Knot recently posted..Reader Comment: “Don’t be Cheap if you Want to Have Happy Marriage that Lasts”

    1. Emily says:

      I’m glad my description was convincing. 🙂

  11. John Haver says:

    Sometimes the best possible option is the less frugal option. Yes, it may cost you more in the long run but in the end the convenience far outweighs it. It sounds a lot better then maneuvering around a hairpin turn in a narrow hallway!

    1. Emily says:

      It sounds weird but the stairs and hallway really filled us with dread! I’m glad you agree.

  12. We all have our limitations even for our frugality. At some point we need to weigh if the savings is worth the inconvenience in the long run. Kudos to you for the making the right decision.
    Marissa@Thirtysixmonths recently posted..Should You Go To Grad School?

  13. Heavy appliances are a whole different category when it comes to moving them around to save money. I think that was the choice I would have made in that situation. Good luck with the move.
    Kim@Eyesonthedollar recently posted..Soggy In Colorado

    1. Emily says:

      I can’t wait until I can own these sorts of things long-term or at least buy them new and get them delivered!

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