Locks. Dab a little petroleum jelly on your keys and move them in and out of the locks to keep them working smoothly during the winter months. Petroleum jelly doesn't freeze.

Other. Carry emergency gear such as gloves, boots, blankets, flares, a small shovel, sand or kitty litter, tire chains and a flashlight. Keep a few high-energy snacks in your glove box. In a pinch your floor mats can help you get out of a snow bank. If your car gets stuck in the snow, slip one or more of the floor mats under the stuck tire(s) to provide the traction you need to get out. Don't forget to run back and get the mats unless to do so would place you or your passengers in harm's way.

Your small gasoline engines

Winterizing is a must because gasoline left in a lawn mower or chain saw engine's fuel tank and carburetor can degrade over time.

Gasoline can interact with air and moisture to form gums and deposits. Do not store gasoline in the engine's fuel tank for any inactive period longer than two months.

If the owner's manual says the gasoline can be removed and it can be done easily, the gasoline should be carefully drained from the tank (and carburetor, if possible) and collected in a clean, approved storage container. The collected gasoline can be used in your car. Any remaining gasoline in the system can be removed by operating the engine until it stops.

If the fuel cannot be drained easily add a gasoline stabilizer, following instructions on the product container.

Store your motorized equipment in a cool, dry place that is well ventilated and out of direct sunlight.

Check out Mary's recently released revised and expanded edition of The Financially Confident Woman (DPL Press, 2008).


Debt-Proof Living was founded in 1992 by Mary Hunt. What began as a newsletter to encourage and empower people to break free from the bondage of consumer debt has grown into a huge community of ordinary people who have achieved remarkable success in their quest to effectively manage their money and stay out of debt. Today, "Debt-Proof Living" is read by close to 100,000 cheapskates.  Click here to subscribe. Also, you can receive Mary's free daily e-mail "Everyday Cheapskate" by signing up at EverydayCheapskate.com.