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Written By Colin Graves

Winter is on my brain this week, thanks to a major frugal win! Before I fill you in on all the money saving goodness, let’s address the years coldest season!

I know what you’re probably thinking; it’s far too early to be mentioning snow and cold!

If you live in Canada or the northern U.S. however, the reality is setting in, winter is just around the corner.

The very thought brings out mixed reactions in people.  My kids, for example, cannot wait for the first snowfall, along with the various winter-related activities that follow: skating, tobogganing, hockey, curling, snow forts and snowball fights, you name it.

Meanwhile, there are those who absolutely dread winters arrival, which is understandable, because it can be downright long and nasty in some areas of the country.


My feelings on the coldest season of the year tend to fall somewhere in the middle.  In other words,  I love winter to a point.  A point which usually arrives around January 2nd.

Before January, I’m a lot like my kids.  I love seeing that first snowfall, and I become overly sentimental about the entire Christmas season.  However, once the glow of the holidays are over and the temperatures begin their plunge to frigid levels, I’ve had about enough.

From that time, until I hear birds chirping in the spring, nothing less than sheer will and endurance gets me through.  In fact, when I’m up against the season’s relentless assault, I may sometimes be found mumbling incoherently, wondering aloud why we live where we do.  We have a choice after all.

Anyhow, you’re probably wondering where I’m going with all of this.  After all, it’s still relatively warm in most places. 🙂

affordable winter tiresOne of the unfortunate realities of living in a northern climate is having to buy winter tires for your vehicle. While it’s not required by law in most areas (it is in some), winter tires are MUCH safer when driving on snow, ice or even just cold pavement. In fact, they can improve a vehicle’s stopping distance upwards of 30-40 % in certain conditions. Given this, along with the fact that we have a relatively new driver in the house, I consider winter tires to be a necessity.


While it is wise to own winter tires, it’s also very expensive. On our Toyota Sienna, a set of good quality, brand new Michelin tires, runs about $1100. This includes rims, installation and taxes!

In the past, I’ve opted for the ease of buying new, but not this year.  After all, if you are willing to embrace a minor amount of inconvenience by buying used, you can save A LOT of money.

In the case of my winter tire purchase, that savings turned out to be $670! Here’s how:


Step 1. Rather than take the convenient route and buy brand new, I scoured Kijiji (Canadian Craigslist) for a high quality, gently used set of winter tires. Within 24 hours, I located a set of Goodyear Nordic Tracks which looked to be in near mint condition. They were listed at $475 obo.

Step 2. I texted the seller, who explained that the tires had only been used for one season, and had almost no wear on them, 2-3 thousand miles tops. He had traded in his Sienna for an SUV (not a great move), and no longer needed the tires.

Step.3 I stopped by his house that evening to check them out. They came exactly as advertised, in fact they looked brand new. They were already mounted on a set of rims as well. I offered him $400, and he quickly accepted.

Step 4. A couple of days later, I had the tires installed and balanced for $30.


For my winter tire purchase, I was initially quoted $1100 for a new set, including rims and installation. Instead, I did a brief search on my iPhone and found a similar set, slightly used, for a total cost of $430. The bottom line, I saved $670, or over 60%!

Have you had any frugal wins lately? If so, please share your story with a comment below. I’d love to hear about them!


  1. Wow. $1100 is 1/5 of the price of our car itself (ok, your tires are much bigger) 🙂 We bought it this spring and it came with almost new Hankook winter tires. I have to admit that I have not changed them to summer tires and we used them all year long (but put only 5k km into the car). At least we don’t have to change now. In our country you have to use winter tires at winter and the police take advantage of checking it all the time (and they are not generous with fines). I have plans on buying a summer set next year from same brand, their price is around $60-70 per tire. But hey you made me think as I just checked and summer tires are on sale now 🙂

    • Hey HCF! Yeah, I know summer temperatures will wear out winter tires pretty quick, but if you only put 5 KM on them, I don’t think it would make much difference. Winter tires do come at a higher price point, in part it’s because it makes more sense to purchase rims along with the tires, as the garage charges a lot of money to swap out tires on the same rims. Great point about getting the summer tires out of season, you’ll save money I’m sure!

      • I hear you on rims, was checking them too ($80 per rim). I was considering not just because the changing price (garages charge you for changing and rebalancing them about $3-4 per tire), but our laws say that you have to change by 1st of November and there is a chaos at the end of October, you cannot really get an appointment or have to wait long hours. So I would be more confident doing this on my own in my calm, warm garage at home 🙂

        Oh, and I meant 5000 kilometers (~3100 miles).

  2. That is an awesome deal on snow tires! Snow tires can be quite expensive, but I’m with you. If you live in a “winter wonderland” area, they are necessary!

    We go the used snow tire route as well… checking Craigslist early with the hopes of a steal. We found a good set for my Subaru Outback last year!

  3. That is a serious win. I had the same feeling when I sold some of my wedding china that I don’t use for well over $500! There is a serious sense of accomplishment when you do something that takes a bit of effort but results in a serious chunk of change. $500 – that’s no piddling amount. My husband is in charge of tires and mice, so I don’t know what any of this means, but like your kids, I too cannot wait for snow. Down here it is not a given that we will see any, so even a flurry is a celebration for me. But as much as I love winter, it does lose a little of its novelty and coziness after the holidays. By February I’m over it. And by March, I am living in a fantasy world of spring!

    • It is a great feeling! I’m sure it wasn’t easy to part with the china, due to the sentimental value. Sometimes that quickly dissipates though when the cash is in hand. Linda, I chuckled at the combination of duties you’ve assigned Mr. BB. Tires & mice lol. Definitely on my list of resp. as well.


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