If you live in a snowy province or state, ice-melting salt or sand is a must!
No matter how well you shovel your walk and front steps, fluctuating temperatures will almost always cause ice to form. While slippy ice may just seem like an annoyance, it can be extremely dangerous. If you lose your balance while carrying something heavy, you can strain muscles, throw out your back, or even fall and have the weight land on you. For a young child or the elderly, a slip and fall can equal broken bones and a long recovery.
Safe-T-Salt is the brand I buy, because it does the job, and the price is right. Safe-T-Salt only costs $3.99 per 10 KG bag, compared to similar products that cost $10 or more. It works quickly to break up and melt away ice, leaving walking areas slip-free.
The downside to Safe-T-Salt (though, it is the same for most ice-melting salts), is the mess. Salt that gets tracked in by shoes and boots leaves a nice cloudy residue on wood or laminate floors that is a pain to clean off. Hard scrubbing with really hot water and a good floor cleaner is the only thing that makes it go away. Of course, this is more of a problem for busineses or public buildings where people keep their shoes on. At home, where boots come off at the door, you can expect less mess, and all the safety of ice-free steps.