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Why I need Mr. FG (or, how we fixed our washing machine)

(a third title option: “Why my washing machine agitator is two different colors”)

If you asked my husband which of us is more frugal, he would, without hesitation, name me.

And it is true that I am far more likely to obsess about expenses and savings plans and waste.

But in one way, Mr. FG is exceedingly more financially wise than I am. When it comes to the small things, I have him beat, but when it comes to larger expenditures, he most definitely has me beat.

For example, I can manage to get cereal for almost nothing, I can feed us three meals a day for a few dollars, and I keep the six of us clothed on way less than $50/month, but I am fairly useless when it comes to things like buying houses or cars or appliances.

For some reason, when the purchase is really large, I can sort of get caught up in the moment and lose some of my financial common sense. I’ll negotiate the price of a $5 item at Goodwill, but it will not occur to me to argue over a $500 charge when we’re buying a house. I’ve mended a shirt because I wasn’t willing to pay $8 for a new one, but I was willing to accept a low-ball check from the insurance company when my car got totalled.

My lack of sense with large purchases is pretty deplorable, that’s for sure. Thankfully, my husband is far more rational when we’re dealing with large amounts of money, and I’m sure that he’s saved us a pretty penny over the years.

Want a recent example? My older-model washing machine has been having a problem with the agitator. Basically, the dogs that hold the upper cam in place had broken off, so only the bottom portion of the agitator was actually…agitating.

After a cursory but frustrating search online for the replacement parts, I was ready to throw in the towel and just go buy a new washing machine (I know…that is pathetic.) I even logged onto Consumer Reports and started researching washing machines.

Fortunately, my husband is a little more persevering than I am when it comes to this kind of stuff, and he managed to find the information we needed. We ordered a dog kit and cam for about $30 from PartSelect, and much to my surprise, the package showed up the next day (I don’t have any relationship with PartSelect, but based on this experience, I highly recommend them!).

Armed with the package directions (I’m better at reading directions than Mr. FG is, so I usually read the directions and he does the work!), we disassembled the old agitator, cleaned it all out, and installed the new parts. I think it took maybe half an hour, tops.

Out with the old…

washing machine agitator

in with the new!

Unfortunately, the new piece is white instead of blue, so now my washing machine agitator is blue on the bottom, white in the middle, and blue on top.

But, I don’t really care. My washing machine works properly again, and my goodness! A $30 expenditure for parts is much better than a $500+ expenditure for a new washing machine.

It’s a really, really good thing my husband is around to save me from myself in these sorts of situations because without him, my laundry room would probably be sporting a new washing machine right about now.

And it’s a good thing for him that I’m around, because without me, his money would probably trickle away due to small expenses.

I think we make a good pair. 😉

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Wednesday 9th of May 2012

I was reading your dryer post and came back to check this one. The agitator dogs broke on our machine so we were having a similar problem. The bottom part agitated but the top didn't. He was able to buy the parts from a local store and fix it within a half hour or so. I'm so glad he was able to fix it! Saves the money from purchasing a new machine. :)


Thursday 1st of December 2011

I read this post and all the comments to my husband. He said I might want to mention that when we moved 2 years ago, we let our appliances go thinking to upgrade (and not pay to move them) and discovered, to our dismay, that new doesn't always equal better! We've had on-going repairs on new name-brand appliances! :( We also find the quality to be inferior to our old appliances! Kudos on working together to best complement your strengths! Yea! Cheeryshirley


Sunday 30th of May 2010

Sort of an off-the-subject question, but I was wondering if you make your own laundry detergent. I've heard that it's INSANELY cheap to make at home, but don't know how! :)


Saturday 29th of May 2010

Sounds like you two really pair well together -- it's very similar with my household as well. I am not a negotiator, and he would never sort through the clearance aisle or use coupons... so we split our types of purchases accordingly.


Thursday 27th of May 2010

Great job fixing the washing machine.

This sounds a lot like my husband and I. He's great at buying cars, appliances, and saving money on insurance and things that add up. I have never had a car payment because we buy 1 or 2 year old cars for cash, and that about cuts the price in half. Then we sell the older one and buy a "new" one and I'm always driving a nice car for very little money, and no interest.

He's also very "handy" and has saved us countless thousands around the house by repairing things. I appreciate the financial savings, and I'm also glad not to contribute to the disposable culture. If something can be fixed, it should be.

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