Winter is upon us and has actually visited earlier than expected, depending on which city or state you live in. Despite the frigid temperatures and grey skies, most of us do look forward to seeing fresh snowfall gracing our yards and streets. That is, until those lush snowflakes turn into a blackish slushy mess, or worse, hard-packed ice that causes you and your loved ones to slip and slide all over the place.

In places where you’re bound to get a ton of snowfall every winter, you might find yourself paying a good amount of money to get professionals to clear your driveway at least a couple of times a month. Sometimes a simple shovel doesn’t do it – or, if you suffer from any health issues, you probably need to avoid shoveling snow altogether.

If this sounds like you, you have probably been thinking about whether or not it makes more sense to purchase a snowblower. Lots of us have trouble with the idea of getting something that feels a bit unsure, especially when a simple, good old-fashioned shovel could do the trick. It might even be that you heard about the exorbitant cost of a snowblower and just turned your back on the possibility of purchasing it, ever.

The following are a few points to help you brainstorm whether or not this is a worthwhile investment for you and your family.

Figure Out the Math

Do you find yourself booking the services of a professional to help you get rid of the snow blanketing your driveway? If so, you probably already know that this costs at least forty dollars a pop, not including the tip. And if you do it yourself, a shovel costs twenty dollars – notwithstanding any pain medication you need to take afterward to help with sore joints.

Now, what is the cost of an average electric snowblower? Our friends over at the Back Yard Workshop have a few ideas that can point you in the right direction, and you should be able to do a bit of research online to find the best model for you. Generally speaking, most reasonably priced electric snowblower cost anywhere between one hundred to four hundred dollars or more, depending on your needs. Already sounding a bit steep? Hold on a sec, you need to do a few more calculations.

Cost Per Winter

Even if your memory is faulty, try your best to average out how many snowstorms you had to suffer through last winter. How many times did you have to shovel or hire people to help get rid of the snow? If, for example, you’ve had to clean up snow three times a week during December through March, that means you’ve had at least thirty-six instances where you’re wasting precious hours grinding away at the ice.

Now, imagine that you purchased a four hundred dollar snowblower, and it takes about three gallons of gasoline for you to keep it fueled the entire winter – with the cost being roughly three dollars a gallon – that means that altogether, your cost per-season is roughly sixty dollars per season. Of course, the math here is quite rough, but you get the gist of the experiment and would know how to map out the pricing yourself.

If you compare this to your other options, whether it’s just using a shovel or hiring independent contractors, then you could safely find out whether you can be saving yourself a lot of money and headaches in the long run.

Where Do You Live?

But, another important piece of the puzzle when helping you to price out this puzzle is where you live. If you don’t live in a city that gets as much snow as Chicago, Detroit, or Minneapolis, for example, then it wouldn’t really make sense for you to purchase a snowblower now, would it? At least, not a pricier model, unless you feel super lazy when it comes to shoveling even the tiniest amount of snow and have extra cash to burn!

Health Benefits

Well, obviously, a snowblower doesn’t offer direct health benefits, but it does ease some issues symptomatic of “shoveling snow in the dead of winter blues.” If you have an aching back, blisters on your hands, or easily catch cold from sweating through your parka when shoveling for a few hours, then it would be nice to invest in a snowblower. Especially if you find that you often have to shovel snow when there are deep, blowing drifts getting into your eyes and blocking your vision, causing you to rue the day that you did not put your health first.

Finding the Right One

If you have decided that, fine, it makes sense to purchase a snowblower, then your next thought would naturally be on figuring out which model would work best for you.

If there is one thing all the experts agree on, it’s not to automatically purchase the shiniest, most expensive model. Electric and cordless blowers are very affordable and work amazingly well, especially if you don’t tend to get a ton of snow. Furthermore, they are lightweight and easy to maneuver. However, if you need to clean a sidewalk or a surface more gravely, then you would need to invest in a single-stage snow blower to help.

The models available tend to change depending upon your needs, so don’t give up and do a bit of research before you commit.

Perhaps at the end of the day, you don’t mind the physical exertion entailed when shoveling snow, but you do resent how much time you are wasting accomplishing this task. A snowblower serves as a wonderful way to increase efficiency in other areas of your life and mindfully guard your time – instead of shoveling you might want to write the next big American novel, or paint a canvas, who knows? If all it takes is the purchase of a smart mechanical device to make your life easier, then that might be a small price to pay.