Make Your Own Emergency Car Kit
I know that you aren't supposed to carry anything extra in your car in order to save gas, however an emergency car kit is a must have for everyone in the winter. You don't have to spend a bunch of money on a small already made kit. You can make your own for less and it will include what YOU need and much more than the store bought kit.
The first thing you need is a small plastic container. You will be filling this with the things you need. In an emergency car kit you need items that will help you stay warm and dry. You also need nourishment and first aid supplies. If you are packing an emergency car kit for just yourself you can get away with a smaller container. I have a family of six and need to have more in mine. I have the following in my kit.
2 pairs of wool socks
4 pairs of child size socks
2 emergency ponchos
2 space blankets - the compact kind that will help you to retain heat
band aids and ointment
3 packs of tissue
coffee can with a roll of toilet paper jammed inside
3 things of isopropyl alcohol
2 collapsible cups
jar of peanut butter
bag of jolly ranchers (energy boost)
4 water bottles
a few granola bars
a few plastic spoons
hand and toe warmers, I think 8 of them
My dad created this little mini heater for me when I was in college and I still have it in there. Take a small coffee can and jam a roll of toilet paper in it and put the lid back on. If you are stuck in the snow and need to heat up the car, then pour some of the alcohol over the toilet paper and light it with a match. make sure you keep a window cracked for ventilation. Placed in the center of a small car, this will heat the space up nicely. When it is warm enough cover it up and the fire will go out. Relight it when you need to warm up again.
It is important that things stay dry, so everything I have is in separate ziploc bags. I do not store my batteries in the flashlight, because that can cause them to go dead faster and/or rust. You can also use the ziploc bags during an emergency for things such as bathroom use, or over your hands or feet to keep them dry if you must get out of the car.
Your situation might be different. If you have small children, then carrying diapers and wipes will be essential. If you have medical problems then having some of your medicine with you will be essential. If you can fit more food and water in your kit that would be great, the more of this you have the longer you would survive. You might be able to melt snow, so that would help. I already keep jumper cables in my car so I don't need these in my kit.
Keep your eyes out for these items on sale in stores. You should be able to find much of what you need around the house. My ski gloves are bright purple ones from when I was in college. They are ugly, but are perfect for this kit. It doesn't have to cost a lot and could honestly save your life, or at the very least make it much more bearable if you do get stuck somewhere.