Sandbags are recommended by many. I typically put 250-300 pounds in my Ranger.
I bought my Ranger in late Dec 2009 and drove the remainder of the winter in the stock Wranglers. Nothing special that I had noted. Had ordered winters when I bought my truck (not easy to find winter tires in late Dec/early Jan), but didn't have them installed until the following winter. It was over $1200 for a set of 16 inch Ford steel rims and four studded General Altimax Arctic winter tires. Probably could have saved another $100-$200 if I had ordered generic steel rims....but I didn't want any fitment or vibration issues.
I would check around to see if you can downsize to a 17 inch...or even a 16 inch (rears are disc brakes?). What's your stock tire size? LT- or P-rated winters?
2010 Ford Ranger FX4
Armaguard sprayed on bed liner
Truxedo Low Pro QT tonneau cover
Studded General Altimax Arctic P245/75-16 winter tires on black steelies