Budgeting Tips

4 Ways to Save Big on Winter Essentials Now

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The blustery season calls for pricey must-haves like coats and heaters to keep you warm and safe — and the cost can really add up! Try these savvy tricks to ensure you score bargains on everything you need this winter.

Score 70 percent off coats and boots.

Shopping for a new winter coat or other outerwear? There’s a simple way to save up to 70 percent on high-quality brands known for warding off the elements, such as The North Face and Merrell: Visit used clothing virtual stores at REI and Patagonia. To reduce waste, these popular outdoor gear retailers resell customer trade-ins and returns that have been carefully inspected and refurbished — for a fraction of what they cost new. Prefer to shop in person? Head to off-price stores like Marshalls and T.J.Maxx on Monday mornings, which is when you’ll find markdowns of 25 to 50 percent on name-brand outerwear on top of prices already discounted up to 60 percent!

Pay 55 percent less for de-icing salt.

Need ice-melting rock salt for your sidewalk? Consider this: Water softener salt de-ices just as effectively, for half the price. For example, at Lowe’s, a 25-pound bag of Morton Clean and Protect water softener pellets costs $3.97, and the same size bag of Diamond Crystal Winter Melt rock salt costs $8.71. Both are made from sodium chloride, but the main difference is that water softener salt, which is used to remove pipe-clogging minerals from home water systems, has had most of its impurities removed. Hot tip: When stores sell out of rock salt before a snowstorm, there’s usually plenty of water softener salt in stock.

Save more than 50 percent on windshield wipers.

Replacing worn-out wiper blades is a must so you can see clearly when driving in snow, but due to hefty labor fees, getting a new pair professionally installed can cost up to $84. Fortunately, you can cut this cost by more than half by simply buying your wiper blades at an auto supply store that offers free installation — such as Advance Auto Parts or Pep Boys — so you’re only paying for the blades!

Slash 35 percent off the discount cost for space heaters.

Portable space heaters can trim your electric bill when you use them to strategically supplement your central heating in the winter. And you can save even more cash by searching for the heater you want to buy at Google Shopping, then clicking the box ″Compare prices″ under the product listing. Price tags for the same exact make and model can vary by 25 percent or more from retailer to retailer, but this free comparison engine will find you the lowest price in seconds. Plus, you’ll be alerted about special offers, such as free delivery and store promotions that can save you more. One example: The Comfort Zone CZ499R space heater sells for $49.99 at Bed Bath & Beyond while the same heater sells for $68.99 at Overstock.co — a difference of 35 percent!

This article originally appeared in our print magazine.

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