Old man winter is just around the corner, but I can already feel a chill in the air.

It's time to start preparing for the first heavy frost before the first storm sets in. And a little preparation will go a long way during the holiday shopping season. I mean, who wants to walk out to their car after scoring some great gift deals only to find the car windshield covered with ice and the door locks frozen?

De-icing products can be costly, especially when they must be purchased for more than one vehicle. A 15 ounce bottle of Rain-X De-Icer, for example, is $7.43.

Did you know there are easy and inexpensive ways to keep your windshield frost-free and your locks and doors from freezing over? Instead of driving on cold, slippery roads to pick up costly commercial de-icing products, make these at home to have on hand for a hassle-free winter.

Windshield and Windows

Fill a spray bottle with 1 part alcohol (isopropyl alcohol, minimum 70%) to two parts room temperature water. Add 1 tsp. liquid dish detergent and shake to blend. Spray on your car windshield and windows at night. In the morning, they will be clear of any ice. (Make an extra bottle to store in your vehicle to have on hand while you are out shopping as well.)

Why it works: Alcohol has a natural anti-freeze quality which makes it perfect for vehicles. It also leaves your windshield and windows streak-free. If you forget to spray and come out to a frozen windshield, simply spritz on the alcohol/water mix and watch the ice melt.

DIY Cost: 70% Isopropyl Alcohol (16 oz.): $1.37 (approximately $0.40 per use) and Dawn Detergent: $0.99 (approximately $0.05 per use)

Doors

Prevent car doors from freezing shut by using cooking spray. Simply spray it onto the rubber seals around the car and rub it in with a clean paper towel.

Go ahead and coat the snow shovel with cooking spray, too! The oil prevents ice from sticking to it when you've got to dig yourself out after a snow storm.

Why it works: According to AAA, "Doors freeze when snow melts into the seals during the day and then freezes at night." Spraying cooking oil on door seals helps prevent the doors from freezing and becoming hard to open.

DIY Cost: Pam Spray: $3.00 (approximately $0.10 per use)

Locks

This last tip involves hand sanitizer gel. Simply rub some hand sanitizer gel on the key and lock. Gently insert the key to unfreeze and unlock the door.

Why it works: Hand sanitizers contain at least 60% alcohol, which is the main ingredient in commercial de-icer products.

Remember: Never pour warm or hot water on windows or windshields. This can crack them! Also, never use any sharp objects to scrape the ice because you can easily scratch your windshield.

DIY Cost: Hand Sanitizer: $0.99 (approximately $0.05 per use)

This has been a guest post by Deborah from San Diego, CA
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