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5 Unique Ways To Save On Dry Cleaning

One thing that really drives me, that motivates me like you wouldn’t believe, is trying to find ways to be frugal when it comes to the “everyday” and “mundane” stuff. Saving money on things that you would never think that you could save money on is very motivating for me.

Why Bother?

It’s important to save on the everyday stuff because the savings can really add up since you’re making these purchases so often. If you can find a ways to save  a dollar on something that you buy often, say five times per month, then just think of the savings. For example, if you’re 25 years old and live to be 80, that would add up to $3,300 in savings. Imagine how much that could help you in retirement, or how many cool electronics you could buy with that money. It truly is amazing how much can be saved on the mundane things in life like laundry detergent, household cleaners, and shampoo.

But, I’m not going to to a top 10 list or anything here. I’m simply going to give some tips for saving on your dry cleaning.

Dry Cleaning Tips

Here are five off-the-beaten-path ways that I’ve come up with to save on your dry cleaning, which I consider to be one of the more boring, everyday type things that most people in a working environment spend money on regularly:

1. Loyalty and Friendliness

Unless you move a lot, find one dry cleaner, stick with them, and get to know them. I’ve always found them to be very friendly, open, and nice people. You can build up a strong rapport with the owners, especially at the “mom and pop” places rooted in your kindness and loyalty. The price differential between dry cleaners isn’t that great, and the savings you can enjoy by staying with one place is better than if you do any sort of jumping around. It’s a competitive market, so they will surely offer you discounts to keep you from ever leaving and as a token of their appreciation for your business and friendship.

2. Utilize Their Full Services

Do you know how many other things I have my dry cleaner’s do besides dry clean my clothes? Let’s see…they replace buttons for me all the time (free), they have sewn up quite a few holes in my pants over the years (free), they have hemmed pants for me (free), they have dry cleaned my living room pillows for me before a dinner party (close to free), they have replaced countless zippers for me (free).  And this is just what I can think of off the top of my head.

Did you notice how much of this I get done for free? That’s because of my loyalty and friendliness; they rarely, if ever, charge me the “walk-in,” “off the street” price for these other services.

3. Return Your Hangers

Would you like your dry cleaner to love you? Save your hangers and bring them in when you drop off your clothes. Seriously, my dry cleaning hangers do nothing but pile up and take up space in my closets. I used to throw them out until I came up with this idea. They never asked me to do it, but once I did, I started getting a discount on all my pants.

4. One Use Only?

I hate to border on being “less than clean,” but for those of us that are “office jocks,” can you really only wear a shirt or a pair of pants for one day before they need to be dry cleaned again? If I’ve had an active day where my shirt is quite wrinkled, then yes, it goes in the heap. However, for most days, I have found that I am able to get two days out of my shirts, and about the same out of my pants, especially in the winter time. Also, don’t forget that if you reduce the number of times you dry clean your clothes, you will significantly extend the life of them as well.

5. Change at Work

Want another little tidbit on how to extend the life you your freshly pressed shirts? Change into them at work. I know for some this isn’t possible, but for some it is. I walk into my job each morning in a simple t-shirt and I change shortly before the office starts buzzing. And, lots of times, I change back out of my dress shirt before I drive home. Have you ever stopped to think about how wrinkled your clothes get by simply sitting in the car while you’re driving? And for anyone like me who hates getting dressed up, this subtracts about 4 hours from the total time I have to be in my “professional” clothes.

Your Take?

So, guys and gals, did I come up with any gems here? Was this all stuff you had heard before and things you already do? Feel free to present any other strategies you use and let me know what you thought of my ideas in the comments section below.

David started his own personal finance blog, YourFinances101, in June of 2009 and published his first book on ways to save more and spend less called "Don't Be A Mule..." Since then he has been a regular contributor for Money Crashers. He lives just outside Atlanta, GA and most all of his free time is taken up by his amazing three year old son, Nicholas.