How to Save on 12 Winter Essentials
Are you prepared for winter? You may think you're well stocked and ready to duke it out with Mother Nature when the temps plummet, but if this summer's wild weather is any indication, you may not be as prepared as you think you are. Run down this checklist of winter essentials (and how to save big bucks on them) to fortify your supplies and ensure a safe and comfortable season.
1. Cold-weather apparel
You'll be hard-pressed to find someone who loathes winter as much as I do, but my undying disdain for cold weather has at least forced me to dress properly for the elements. Two years ago, I remember venturing out into a blizzard for brunch and drinks with friends — we walked several miles that day, in fact — and I wasn't the slightest bit chilly at any time. I broke a sweat even. Granted, I looked like the abominable snowman, with about three layers of clothing, but I was warm. When dressing for the elements, especially if you plan to spend any length of time out in blustery wind or snow, here's what I suggest.
Long johns or a compression top and bottom. These are abundant at discount stores like Marshalls and TJ Maxx this time of year.
Fleece pants and a sweatshirt. You probably already have a pair of sweats in your closet. If you have to be presentable, try flannel-lined chinos and a sweater; J. Crew Factory will help you save on those items closer to the holidays.
Snow pants and a 3-in-1 insulated jacket. Dick's Sporting Goods has a few coupons floating around right now that are ideal for these higher-priced purchases. You also can use sites like TopCashback to score deals.
You should also invest in a pair of thick wool socks. I also wrap my feet in plastic wrap to keep them dry. I'm sure you remember that old trick. And finally, insulated touch-screen gloves. The touch-screen technology will come in handy when you want to use your phone without taking your gloves on and off all day long. (See also: These Apps and Extensions Find Online Deals for You — Automatically)
2. Flannel sheets
Flannel sheets originally were fashioned from carded wool, which probably made for more than a few scratchy nights, but the fabric got a makeover early last century when it was combined with cotton to create more lightweight and comfortable bedding while also keeping the body warm. You'll find great deals on flannel sheets at Overstock.com or Target, plus a little extra if there are cash-back deals available for these retailers on the Ibotta app. (See also: 8 Apps That Actually Pay You to Shop)
3. Area rugs
I prefer bare floors to carpet — all that shampooing to remove stains is for the birds — but on winter mornings the ice-cold surface of a bare floor is a real punch to the gut. To reduce the shock, I like to put area rugs under my bed, and I save a bundle on quality rugs by shopping the floor models at West Elm. I've bought a few rugs using this method at hundreds of dollars off. I copped one beautiful 5-foot by 8-foot gold ombre rug for my living room for around $80, down from about $600, by padding the discount with discounts and rewards I had. The braided rug in my bedroom was coming a little undone on the edge, and the store slashed the price on that as well. West Elm has a bit of a reputation for being somewhat expensive, I know, but you can definitely score major savings if you know where to look.
4. Electric blanket
Electric blankets are great for two reasons: They'll keep you warm so you can turn your heat down and save energy, and they'll keep you warm if your heat source completely conks out. Your best bet for inexpensive electric blankets is Walmart. An electric heated fleece blanket will look Saturday-afternoon couch-comfy. (See also: The 5 Best Electric Blankets)
5. Space heaters
Space heaters are great for when you want to turn off the money-sucking thermostat and only heat a specific area of your house, like your bedroom or office. But they very well could mean the difference between life and frostbite if your house runs on oil heat. If you run out of oil during a major winter storm and no one is available to refill your tank, you'll be thankful for the space heater. (See also: The 5 Best Space Heaters)
6. Snow tires
I had a beater of a car once with tires so terrible that it tried to climb a slightly slick hill during the early part of a snow event and it just slid right back down the hill. No one was hurt, but it was a scary situation considering that it was quitting time and everybody else was on the road, too.
Pep Boys has a couple deals available and Mavis Discount Tires also is a good place to look. Compare prices at Sears and Walmart, too.
7. Winter survival kit
If there's one thing this summer's weather taught us, it's that Mother Nature is unforgiving and we need to be prepared for the absolute worst. Get a winter and snow survival backpack with food, tools, including a mini shovel, can opener, and saw, light sticks, fuel tablets, hand warmers and more. Amazon offers a cold-weather survival kit with free shipping.
8. Gas-powered generator
If the power goes out, who knows when it'll come back on? A backup generator will help keep your lights on, your house warm, and your fridge cool during a winter storm. If you're a military vet, you can save 10 percent on your purchase at Home Depot and Lowe's, but Lowe's sometimes has 10 percent off coupons available in the mail or circulars as well. I recommend these two hardware stores, because you really should speak with a professional who knows about generators before purchasing one so you can be sure you're getting the right type for your needs.
Make sure you keep enough gas on hand to power it, as you may not be able to get to the gas station in an emergency situation. There are propane and natural gas powered generators, too, which may be more practical if you've already got a gas grill.
9. Hydrating skin care
My sensitive skin gets ravaged by the elements during the winter, so I need to up my skin care game as soon as Daylight Saving ends. I highly recommend Brickell Men's Products (if you're a dude, like me). I've been using the moisturizer and other facial products for years, and I think I'm keeping the goods together very well considering my age. Brickell will even send you a free sample kit ($6.95 shipping) if you buy from their site directly, so you can determine if these are the right products for you.
10. Snow shovel
You have to keep your sidewalk free and clear of snow and ice, lest you get sued by your neighbor for your negligence after they fall and break a leg on your property. The area you need to clear will determine what type of shovel you need. If you have small amount of space, you probably don't need the deluxe heavy-duty model; conversely, you may need the big guy if you've got a lot of work ahead of you. Sears or Walmart likely have you covered for the lowest cost.
11. Nonperishable food
The first thing people do when there's mention of a major weather event is rush to the supermarkets. Get there before the masses by planning ahead and stocking your pantry or basement with survival essentials, including at least one week's worth of nonperishable food. Shop sporadically when you see coupons for food you like, in-store deals, and what's available on your cash-back apps like Ibotta and Checkout 51. You'll need to stock up on several gallons of water, too. Very important for drinking, bathing, and cooking. (See also: 10 Foods You Need in Your "Emergency" Pantry)
12. Toilet paper
Keep a six-pack of toilet paper (and paper towels) with your emergency food stash so it's on hand when you need it most. Pick up your spare package whenever it's on sale wherever you shop. Put a roll in your car, too; you never know when that'll come in handy. (See also: The 5 Best Toilet Papers)