Winter Weather Tips and Tricks

Kelly Ann Butterbaugh
September 16, 2010

For those who live in a nice warm climate that doesn't shift for the seasons, the coming of winter brings significantly fewer chores. However, those who live in changing climates can save some money by completing a few pre-winter chores.


Clean It

Starting the winter with a clean furnace will save fuel costs during the cold months. Make an appointment now to have your furnace or oil burner serviced before it starts working overtime during the cold weather. A cleaner furnace can save up to 5% of fuel costs over the course of the year compared to a dirty one.

Get out the ladder and the washrag and clean your spot lights. If your home has outdoor lighting, it has dust and dirt on its light globes. Clean them off now before the winter weather comes and they'll burn brighter all winter long when the days are shorter and the nights seem darker.

Seal It

Look over your home and make sure that cold air stays out and warm air stays in. Grab a tube of caulk as you take the walk and seal any openings around windows, doors, vents, and electrical wires. You'll also want to seal any openings to prevent mice from sneaking in to enjoy your warm winter air.

While walking around your home, tighten outside faucets and remove hoses. These could burst if the water in the pipe freezes. If possible, turn off the water to the faucet and let it open. That will guarantee that any remaining water drips out before the cold sets in.

Trim It

During ice storms, branches are pulled down by the weight of the ice. Before the winter arrives check for any dangerously low branches. If it looks like it might fall onto a car or a structure, consider trimming it before the ice brings it down. If you'd rather leave the branches intact, then take note of them and when the ice does arrive make a trip outside to knock some of the weight off the branch.

Cover It

Winter weather is hard on almost everything. If it fits in a shed or garage, then keep it there for the winter. If not, cover it with a tarp and tie it securely. Grills, patio chairs, and even garden statues can use protection from the ice and snow.

Plants are especially susceptible to the cold air that's anticipated. For newly planted shrubs, wrap them in burlap to protect them from the wind. If the wind really whips through a section of your property that has smaller plants, consider making a burlap windbreak by driving tall stakes into the ground and stapling burlap to each to make a "wall" in front of the plants.

When heavy ice, snow, or fallen branches come down, smaller plants are often crushed. Establish the location of these plants now and protect them from the onslaught. For a quick and efficient element of structural protection, try pushing a few tomato cages over tender plants. The cages will keep fallen branches off the plants, and they'll eliminate ice build up from pulling stems to dangerous angles. Use the cages that are coming off your tomatoes now and then redesignate them in the spring to their original use.

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February 4, 2011

Growing up in Minnesota, if the ground was slippery and the tread was a bit worn on our shoes and boots, we would place several strips of regular masking tape on the soles.

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To make a snow boot dryer, use a pair of heavy wire paper towel holders from the Dollar Store. Put a boot over each holder and set the holder over your furnace vent.

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Hello from Canada! Living under the poverty line makes life difficult for me to say the least, but I have many tricks to help me survive. One of those tricks is basic in winter.

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December 7, 2010

To ease the school rush in the morning, use plastic bread bags over your child's shoes and their boots will slide right on.

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We are having below freezing temps with A LOT of snow. We have had to hand shovel it. We are building a home, and of course, it was to be complete before winter.

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Ask a QuestionHere are the questions asked by community members. Read on to see the answers provided by the ThriftyFun community or ask a new question.

November 7, 2007

Winter will be here before we know it and I need to figure out the best way to travel around the neighborhood with my almost-two-year-old son. We have to walk my older son to school every day and run errands and I know the stroller we have right now won't make it through the snow. My son is too big to carry, but he's not big enough to walk on his own, especially in the snow.

Has anyone come up with a good way to get toddlers around in winter weather? I've asked the other moms at school, but most of them just drive, even though they live a block away from the school, and since I don't have a car it's not an option.

Trix from Toronto, Canada


November 7, 20070 found this helpful

wonder if you could make or they sell chains for the stroller wheels? like car tires use. it would cut right through the snow and ice.

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By jean (Guest Post)
November 7, 20070 found this helpful

How about a wagon? If the child's weight is not enough to get it through the snow you could add some weight to it. Also, it would have some room for shopping purchases. I used one of the wooden ones through two Buffalo area winters before we were able to afford a car.

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November 7, 20070 found this helpful

A child's sled would work very nicely through the snow. If you have any packages, you'd have to find some way of tying them on the sled and still have room for your little boy.

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November 7, 20070 found this helpful

the wagon idea is such a good could even make a 3 sided tent over it to keep him warm. by adding a frame to it made with 2x2 inch lumber and use a decorate shower curtain over it to keep wind out. and when summer comes just detach it from the outer sides from where it was connented with maybe L brackets. tip for keeping warm to while in it, put hot water in a 2 liter soda bottle and wrap a dish towel around it and lay it next to him, could even warm up towels and put in the wagons bottom first before he gets in. just a suggestion.

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November 7, 20070 found this helpful

check out this site

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November 7, 20070 found this helpful

here is another one that might interest you too

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By Kelly (Guest Post)
November 8, 20070 found this helpful

We had a jogging type stroller with bigger wheels than a standard stroller and it did just fine in the snow.

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By Brand (Guest Post)
November 8, 20070 found this helpful

You could use a sled. My niece has one that was an old wagon that grandpa put skiis on the bottom of. Or you can buy them new if you must.

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By Sandy (Guest Post)
November 8, 20070 found this helpful

I didn't have this problem, since my son was raised in sunny CA, USA. But just thinking the problem through. We used our little red wagon a lot when he was that age. Zoos, fairs, etc. Couldn't you bundle him up and pull him in the wagon?

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By marie (Guest Post)
November 8, 20070 found this helpful

When my kids were young, I worked in a daycare about a block away from my house. They got a toboggan for Christmas (not a sled - it didn't have runners - it had a flat bottom) that was about 4 feet long, & it was not expensive - under $10.00. At first, I took them to work in it for fun, but I soon found that it was easier than wrestling a stroller or trying to get my little ones to buck drifts in an Idaho winter! Even though the snow had been removed from the streets, there was enough ice to pull it across the street. we used it every day for 2 winters before the bottom cracked. Not much money for maximum fun!

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November 8, 20070 found this helpful

They sell a plastic kids sled/tobbagan that is tough and not too expensive. Try second hand places and keep your eye open for bargains. I think one of the companies, might be Tike Toys makes a wagon that converts to a sled/tobaggan. Try googling and see if I'm right. Toys R Us website would give you some idea what's out there at least and you could check for those things in second hand places.

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November 8, 20070 found this helpful

many moons ago when my son was small and had to go to day care every morning we used one of those round plastic sleds, i lived in Edmonton so our winters were not the most pleasant!! to keep him warm i found an old fur coat that someone had discarded and wrapped him in that, he loved it and it made for a fast trip


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November 10, 20070 found this helpful

if you are low income your community might have a bus that will take you around for a cheap fair or try and you might be able to get a free stroller or wagon, or post up a ride share at your sons school and maybe for a few dollars in gas money you might get some one that will give you a lift, and if you cant afford the money over a trade off, of some skill...

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By Tanya (Guest Post)
November 11, 20070 found this helpful

I was just thinking of that very same thing!! I have a 6, 4, and 1 /12 year old, and a new puppy that needs frequent walks. I've seen the toddler bundle me but can't bring myself to spend the $50 yet. I'm thinking of buying a sleeping bag and cutting slits in it to fit into the stroller straps. If anyone else tries it, I'm curious if it works.

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December 22, 2009

I am moving and things I want are "gally west and crooked" for now. It has been cold the last couple of days and even snowed some the night before last!

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