Why Would Someone in the Snowbelt Pay $200 000 or More for a House and Not Buy a Snowblower?

People amaze me. They will spend over $200 000 on a house; they will spend over $2 000 on a week’s vacation in the sun; they will spend $5 000 on realtor fees. So why won’t they budget for and spend a $1 000 dollars, or less, and buy a snowblower?

Shovelling Snow is Healthy Exercise

Yes. Yes it is.

It’s also a

pain in the *(&”^ to have to take that healthy exercise at 4 a.m. so that you can clear your driveway in time to go to work.


And it’s even more fun to arrive home after work to spend over an hour just trying to chip through the ice wall left by the city street plow before you can get your vehicle off the road for the night.

We have a snowblower and we have a large selection of shovels for the various kinds of snow that fall near Lake Ontario. And when time permits, we shovel. And when we’re in a hurry, or ill, or exhausted, we let the snowblower deal with it.

Snowblowing is Good Karma

When you have a snowblower you can help more than just one neighbour without starting to feel resentful. We routinely clear the city sidewalk for about 8 houses. There’s another sane homeowner who does the next stretch down to meet us.

And unlike city sidewalk plows, we don’t leave 2 horrible windrows across your driveway. We turn our chute to the front to cross your driveway, then throw to the side again.

We also have been known to clear that **&& stuff the city plow dumps in the ends of driveways for several neighbours. Sure we could shovel the stuff out by hand for them, but it would literally take hours. Even with the blower it’s common to take an hour and a half. No one has one of those skinny single driveways around here!

The Relative Cost of Investing in a Snowblower is a Flake in the Wind

Everyone I’ve talked to justifies not buying a snowblower because “they cost too much.”
OK. I’d believe that if they weren’t living in a house worth over $200 000 with granite countertops and Jacuzzi tubs. And if they weren’t jetting off to Cuba or Mexico for March break.

In other words, yes, some people can’t afford one. But there are a huge number of people who just don’t bother to buy one.

If you’re planning to buy your first home, why not consider budgeting for a snowblower as part of the closing costs? After all if you’re going to have to pay $1 000s for the land transfer taxes and $1 000s to the realtor (who sold the home in only 9 days!) and probably even $1 000 to the lawyer handling all the papers, is it really that onerous to spend $1 000 or less on a piece of equipment you can use for more than 10 years?

Let’s say your new home costs $250 000. And your preferred snowblower costs $1 000. That’s less than 0.5% of the cost of the home.

Consider Buying a Snowblower in Common

To save even more money, you can be like several people who live near us. They bought a snowblower jointly. That can bring the cost down to about $350 for a good-sized monster shared between three homes. That’s less than a family weekend at Great Wolf Lodge.

What About Snowblower Maintenance Costs?

Well, in our case we’ve had to buy a spark plug twice. That’s in the 14 years we’ve owned it. We’ve also bought gas and oil to run it. Your blower may vary.

Are Snowblowers A Type of Health Insurance?

As you get older or less fit or whatever, there’s another intangible benefit to a snowblower.

It could save your back.

It could save your life.

How much do you pay for home insurance a year? How often has it benefited you?

Perhaps a snowblower should be considered just another type of health insurance.

Pardon Me – The Plow Just Passed

I’ll have to stop rambling now. The city plow (plough?) just went past and I have to go rescue a few frail  neighbours—and the one who thinks it’s reasonable to let their teen stay inside playing Minecraft while they shovel.


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Do you have a snowblower? (Canadians who live in Vancouver are excused from this discussion.) Do you use it for the forces of good or evil? Please share your experiences with a comment.

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