I, unfortunately, though not according to most, call a part of the frozen great white north, home. Most folks who live in my particular town, live for the outdoors and that white stuff that falls from the sky for far too many months.
My feelings on the matter aside, it is quite expensive to live somewhere where the temperatures plunge and the white stuff piles. I have never added it up, of course, especially as establishing a baseline is rather difficult. Plus, some things that I consider absolutely crucial, others do not.
Here is a non-exhaustive list of areas where I spend more money than you, if you happen to live in a warmer climate. I’m looking at you, Athena.
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Toe Heaters and Mittens and Toques and More
First up, I know what you are thinking and no, toe heaters are not a joke. See, here’s some on Amazon:
(I wouldn’t mind some for my ski boots. Not at all.)
Obviously those are more of a luxury item, but having a pair of reasonable winter boots is not. I scored a pair of Sorels for perhaps $20 off of a local buy and sell, thanks to a delightful teenager growing out of them. I’m assuming he was delightful, all I really know is that his Mom said she was selling them because he grew out of them. Normally, Sorrels cost approximately one million dollars.
I wear these to go get my Christmas tree and such. If I had the horrible task of shoveling snow, these would be my buddies. Thank goodness I live in a condo. (Seriously. No snow shoveling was a big upside on my pro/con list.)
I also have a pair of girlier (totally a word) ones, for around town. I believe they set me back in the neighbourhood of $100.
Don’t worry, I have a post in the works about shoes, because I know you all want to creep in my closet and find out about all of the shoes I own.
The final pair of winter boots that I own are short, covering my ankle, black boots that I bought in graduate school. I think they cost $50 and were a miraculous find on a sales rack, the only pair of reasonable winter boots at a reasonable price and thanks to an act of providence, they were in my size. I had spent two days scouring the city (a true city, with a big’ol’mall) for a pair of dependable winter boots that cost less than $150. Ouchie, I didn’t have that kind of money!
I also have a winter jacket. One upside of living in a place where people come to play winter sports is being able to buy winter gear in August. The pickings are slimmer than they are in December, but so are the price tags. Usually by half. A decent, lined, winter jacket will run you $200-600.
To put things in perspective, my spouse recently bought a shell, aka only the outer bit that’s water and wind proof, and it was $600 (on sale. No joke.). It’s an Arc’teryx jacket.
I wear my jacket around town and to ski.
Whew, this post is getting much longer than I thought, we may have to cover some more things next week. Onwards with clothes, though.
I have mittens and gloves. My ski gloves are actually snowmobiling gloves, because they’re a bit warmer. Decent ski gloves start at about $60. Mine cost $120. Those little black stretchy gloves, which you pick up at the grocery store or the dollar store for a dollar or so, work for most of the winter, but not the really cold days. On those days, you need proper gloves, or to get back inside, ASAP.
Not only do scarves offer a fashionable flair to outfits, they also keep you warm. Thankfully, they don’t break the bank, but nice ones do. You can pick up a scarf that will help keep you warm for $10 or less.
Toques! <- I am obviously Canadian
Noggin’ toppers, beanies, winter hats? I don’t know what other people call them, other than Australians. Toques trap heat and sit on your head. Most are $15-$25, depending upon who you wish to help advertise their brand. If you’re lucky, you can get one for free in a 24 of beer. I’ve done that before.
I have a sheepskin hat, that’s pretty swell, too. It is WARM. It also cost $60.
Boots, a jacket, gloves, a scarf and a toque form the fundamentals for a winter wardrobe and most are non-negotiable. You can wear skate shoes through a solid portion of the winter (I do), but there are days when the snow is drifting, the sidewalks aren’t shoveled, and you don’t want a snow soaker. That’s just plain unpleasant. Also, boots are a lot warmer than skate shoes.
How much does basic winter clothing cost?
I’m so glad you asked. Let’s add it up:
Of course, you can do better than my lower end estimates, like I did when I scored used Sorrels. That said, the lower end estimates are the bottom end for reasonably good quality stuff, that will actually see you through a winter, warm and safe. The higher end numbers are by no means the top of the price bracket, they are just representative of the cost of the “better stuff on the rack” when you’re looking at winter gear.
Truly, the sky is the limit. I thought I was incorporating a pretty solidly expensive scarf price, but my spouse said I was wrong. Yup. Burberry scarves are $425 in Canada.
Maybe another time I’ll talk to you about $300 ski shirts. Yes, I said SHIRT.
On that note, there is a whole host of other gear you can acquire, to survive the long, dark, entirely depressing days of winter. Such as $300 ski shirts, and poly prop, and socks, and merino wool, and those boot heaters I mentioned before, and let’s not forget about ski pants. Those things, though, are optional, unless you’re really, really far up north, or want to go play outside.
Well my friends, it looks like I am too long winded and will need to resume my chronicling of the excessive expenses related to winter in another post. Until then, stay warm!
I recommend hot chocolate and Baileys for staying warm. I use them all the time.