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Queen of free: Keep your debt from mounting like snow

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Let’s make a deal, Money Saving Lords and Ladies. Since this January has been oh-so-brutal, let’s propose to skip February altogether. Yes, we will lose Valentine’s Day (who needs overpriced candy and flowers, anyway?), but we can go from the winter’s restless barrage of white and skip straight to March’s green grass and blue skies?

While I’d be all for fast-forwarding through the next month, more than likely we will deal with snow a time or two more before winter is said and done. Most of us will deal with removing snow at least once or twice more this winter. Here are a few tips for clearing out the white stuff without spending all of your green stuff.


Need a place to keep your footing or collect shoes at the door? Drag out the boxes, bags and paper from your past holiday celebration and step on it. Keep the mess under control without spending a dime. Break down the boxes that you receive in the mail to let them guide your feet outside, too.

Alcohol de-icer

Don’t have a handy can or bottle of deicer at home? Use rubbing alcohol instead. It will get the job done for a fraction of the cost. Fill a spray bottle (have an old hairspray bottle?) and let it rip.

Don’t be shovel hero

Unless you absolutely have to, don’t endeavor to shovel unless you’re in a decent physical condition. A trip to the cardiologist or the orthopedic surgeon is much more costly than paying the kid down the street to dig you out. I know it’s counterintuitive in some ways, but, especially if you can work from home, keep your bottom parked at the laptop while someone else does the heavy lifting.

French toast trap

I’m not sure what it is about this time of the year that makes everyone crash the shelves for bread, milk and eggs. I think it’s a conspiracy of the French to get you to concoct their delicious breakfast dish.

The good news is that you probably don’t need to rush to the store to get all of the above. Take a good inventory of your cabinets, pantry, fridge and freezer before heading to the store. More than likely you have all that you need to whip up three to four meals without buying a single ingredient. Make your list based upon what you already have or can add one to two items to so that you avoid impulse buys.

Salt vs. sand?

It might be that sand is a better bet for your driveway than salt. Not only will you more than likely find it in greater supply right now (might have to head to the back of the store), but it will still provide the traction that you need to get your car down the driveway.

Spray your shovel

If you are shoveling the drive, spray both sides of your shovel with cooking spray. It should keep ice from forming and make your job easier.

Stock up

When the spring weather does arrive, all of us will want to forget this

horribly long and chilly winter. However, don’t let it slip too far from your mind. Late February will be the best time to purchase items such as ice melt, shovels, scrapers, boots, hats, coats and more as they are clearanced out for the season. Purchase those items at a fraction of the price and save them for next winter.

Just remember where you store them, so you don’t waste a good deal.

Stay safe and warm. Spring is just around the corner. Before you know it we will all be complaining about the high humidity. At least let’s just keep telling ourselves that so the thought warms us up.

Greenwood resident Cherie Lowe and her husband paid off $127,000 in debt in four years and now live debt-free every day with their two kids. Send questions, column ideas and comments to


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