Tuesday, March 6, 2012

Midwest Living, Frugality, and No Snowblower

In late 2010 we bought a home.  With it came a driveway and sidewalk.  And soon a snowy winter.  As we added to our cachet of household items there was some discussion of a snow blower. When I checked out the price of a snow blower I was shocked.  Several hundred dollars for a machine that is used a few times a year, will likely break, and take up a good portion of space in the garage.  My husband agreed.  And we made a pact to remove snow "old school style" for as long as our health allowed.  We hope that a snow blower isn't need until we are near retirement.  A good 2.5 decades away.

But we do live in Madison, Wisconsin, and snow has a tendency to fall.  Sometimes a lot, all at once.  We have been lucky this winter (unless of course you like lots of snow).  Minor accumulations, here and there.  Of course this past weekend we got several inches of wet, heavy snow.  If fell just as much husband boarded a plane to warm Tampa, Florida for a 48-hour visit with his parents.  It was a birthday gift to his dad; having a son there when happy birthday is sung is always a treat.  But, that left me at home with two small children, a house on a busy street, and a weekend which means no nanny scheduled to help.  Yet I did not wish we had a snow blower.

Upon hearing about the storm, I asked my neighbor if he would "take care of my sidewalk".  Retired, he has time, a snow blower, and a sweet tooth.  He was more than happy to clear away the snow for me.  In exchange, I delivered a bag of homemade baked goods.  He was happy.  I found another use for the zucchini in my freezer (yummy zucchini bread).  After the kids were in bed, I cleared the driveway.  It took me 15 minutes and was a great way to burn off some calories and enjoy a winter night. If my neighbor had not been an option, I have the phone number of a guy who removes snow.  For $45 he would arrive with his blow.

And that is how a frugal family views a snow blower -- last ditch option.  We'll shovel ourselves, it is great exercise.  If we can't or need help, we'll ask someone who already owns one.  And if they can't we'll hire a professional.  The cost if far less than buying a machine ourselves.

Image credit: www.sxc.hu - free image

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