There are many things I haven't done before in my life, but one of them I recently did for the first time: I finally bought clothes rather than doing laundry.
It's not that I was too lazy to do laundry. The problem is the dryer had developed this habit of occasionally burning clothes, and after months of this my mother finally made my father do something to fix it. At first my father thought it could be fixed by fiddling around with this little marble that somehow the drum turns against, which looked good in that it forced us to squeeze the dryer out of the impossibly constrained space, but didn't actually work. After some effort, including sending me to the library to see if the reference desk knew anything about fixing dryers (they didn't, but they carefully showed me how to look it up online), my father determined we needed to get a new belt, and he couldn't get it until Monday.
Initially I was pretty well set for this because by luck I'd done all my laundry the night before the dryer went out of operation. However, and even though I somehow don't have room to put clothes in my dresser because there's other clothes in there, that's really only good for about a week and change worth of dressing, particularly with things like wearing something else for yoga. I was getting near running out and had no evidence the part would be in Monday, or fixed by that process.
And so I went about the K-mart and Target looking for laundry racks: I could at least use the washer and leave things to dry, or at least to be licked by the cats who like water on demand. Yes, certainly I could buy a laundry rack ... which I would need for maybe two loads of laundry and then maybe not again ever ... or, for about the same price, I could buy a couple of shorts (which is what I was really running out of), which I could use here and indefinitely far into the future.
And that's how I concluded it was economically preferable to buy clothes rather than to do laundry.
Footnote: there's something a touch odd about having the first moments of The Price Is Right interrupted by President Bush trying to explain how the immolation of the financial industry and the sale of every company to every other company in case somebody has money left over is really just good news on the installment plan. But on the bright side, Washington Mutual won a globe made of precious stones and a recumbent bike, and then $6,000 in the Showcase Showdown, nearly doubling its net worth.
Trivia: Charles Merrill and Edmund Lynch merged their firms into Merrill Lynch and Company in 1916. The partnership papers accidentally omitted the comma between their names, and they stuck with it. Source: An Empire of Wealth: The Epic History of American Economic Power, John Steele Gordon.
Currently Reading: Mysteries of the Middle Ages: The Rise of Feminism, Science, and Art from the Cults of Catholic Europe, Thomas Cahill. Man, I haven't seen a popular-history book illuminated before.