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Ohio State Professor Explores Economics of Bitter Cold

COLUMBUS (James Jackson/Kate Liebers) -- Exhaust pouring out of one Grandview homeowner's chimney is also draining her wallet.

Yet during this cold snap, Mary Ann Stephens said that her utility bill is the only one that has gone up.

"We're pretty thrifty anyway, so I just keep trying to pull out the same clothes and put them on," Stephens said. "We try to be careful spending at the grocery store anyway."

Stephens is not alone. Researchers have said the US economy could lose billions this winter season. 

David Blau, an economics professor at the Ohio State University, said it comes down to two different types of spenders: those who prepare early and those who don't.
"If you plan ahead, then you anticipate some of the normal expenses associated with winter and you might spread those over the entire year," Blau said.

Those who haven't budgeted unusual expenses, such as an extra bag of sidewalk salt, could set themselves up for financial hiccups.

Blau said it is too soon to tell if consumers have spent more during this cold snap, but advised people to start prepping for next year.

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