We’re big fans of It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia. That show does wonders for turning our brains off after a day of work and being a parent. In the show, Charlie tends to get stuck with the duties and chores that no one else wants, ie, Charlie Work. Since we’ve had a baby, we definitely have a lot more Charlie work to do around the house.
When it was just me and Her living in our dishwasher- and laundry-free apartment, we dirtied an amount of dishes and clothes proportionate to 2 normal adults. BUT, did you know that a baby dirties 100x the amount of dishes and 1000x the amount of laundry?!?!? What the hell, baby?
As you can imagine, we spend a lot of time washing dishes and running out to the laundromat – our very own Charlie work. We’ve stayed in our current apartment for now because of our super-low rent ($1,000/month). But would moving to another, more expensive place with a dishwasher and washer/dryer be more cost-effective for us since the median rent for a 3-bedroom apartment in our neighborhood is $1,400/month? Let’s do the math.
Washing dishes really isn’t that big of a deal as we take advantage of economies of scale, ie, we wait until there’s a large pile of dishes to wash them instead of doing a few here and there (yes, we’re slobs). The costs of doing the dishes by hand are fairly negligible. We don’t pay the water bill, so all we cover is dish detergent and sponges. We go through maybe 1 bottle of dish detergent a month and a 6-pack of sponges every 3 months. Assuming that a bottle of dish detergent is $5, and a pack of sponges is $5, then we spend a total of $80 a year on these items. We’ve been living in our place for 6 years, so we’ve spent a grand total of $400 on washing dishes.
Laundry is still the chore that we love to hate. We’re still schlepping over to the laundromat, folding, and putting away our clothes ourselves. Other than a few unfortunate events, laundry generally costs us about $15 per laundry event which is about every 2.5 weeks. We’ve been living in our apartment for the past 6 years, so I estimate that we’ve spent around $1,872 on laundry.
The total amount we’ve spent on Charlie work during the past 6 years is $2,272. If we originally moved to a place that had both a dishwasher and laundry, we’d be paying at least $1,400/month, which would have been $28,880 more than what we’ve currently spent in rent in the last 6 years, which means we’ve “saved” $26,608 in more costly rent. (As always, someone please check my math…)
Of course the one variable that I didn’t include here was time. Is it currently worth the time to do Charlie work? Currently, it’s not taking away from time from the baby since we do these chores when the baby is sleeping. However, when it starts interfering with baby time, we’ll probably reconsider our current arrangements.