As winter continues to dish out a heaping helping of snow, ice, and rain over much of the nation, it’s important to think about the weather’s impact on your wallet. One of the most important weather-related financial tips is simply to be prepared. Taking care of your winter weather necessities well before the snow piles up and the store shelves are empty is the best way to avoid financial headaches. Here are some things to keep in mind before the snow piles up:
Shop early for hardware. If snow is on the way, be sure that you have the essentials long before the first snowflake falls. Items like snow shovels, snow blowers, ice scrapers, and even rock salt are often priced much higher when a storm is approaching. If you’re caught unprepared, see if you can borrow these items from a friend or neighbor until the storm passes. Price gouging is likely when demand for these items is at fever pitch. Off season shopping for these items will save you the most, while also giving you the peace of mind that comes with being prepared.
Beat the grocery store panic. Large storms can linger for days, so be sure to stock plenty of non-perishable items in your pantry (canned goods, peanut butter, trail mix, powdered milk) and basics like water (one gallon a day, per person). Avoid the temptation to buy more than you need when you do visit the grocery store, and make and follow a list.
Bundle up some savings. Make sure that you have weather-appropriate clothing before bad weather hits. Jackets, snow pants, hats, boots, and rain gear are in high demand when people are caught unprepared for Mother Nature. As with the hardware, buying this during off season to save the most money. Also, check at thrift stores for deals.
In the worst conditions, when bad weather turns into natural disaster, check out our tips on financial recovery in the face of a natural disaster.