Frugal Sniffles: How to Save Money When You’re Sick

Sick woman holding thermometer
Photo by Hananeko_Studio / Shutterstock.com

Hear that coughing one cubicle over? Rhinoviruses and other invisible cooties are headed your way. We’re coming up on the cold and flu season, and now — when you’re not sick — is the time to build a sickroom stash.

I’ve been seeing coupons for and sales on cold medicine, cough syrup, tissues, vaporizers and throat lozenges. Those are a great start, especially if you can use coupons and rebates. In the past I’ve gotten such items free or nearly free.

Don’t stop there, though. Watch for sales on tea bags and cocoa mix because hot beverages are so soothing. I’ve been seeing good prices on canned soups, always a good bet when you’re sick. Chicken noodle is an obvious choice.

Get some crackers to go with the soup. Stock the cupboard with some canned fruit; if you’re sick you don’t want to have to go to the store for bananas or oranges. Hint: Chilled applesauce is kind to a throat raw from coughing.

Keep hot cereal on hand, too. If you can’t taste anything you might as well have oatmeal or Cream of Wheat for supper. Pick up some nuts and dried fruit to add flavor and nutrition.

Canned pineapple juice or frozen juice concentrates are great to have on the shelves. Even if you don’t think that extra Vitamin C has anything to do with fighting illness, it sure can’t hurt.

Best-case scenario: You make it through the winter without a single sniffle. Great! Your sickroom stockpile will hold over in case a spring or summer cold (yuck) should develop.

“Be prepared” is more than the Boy Scouts’ marching song. It’s what will make you slightly more comfortable no matter what time of year you succumb to a virus. Imagine feeling sick as a dog and discovering there’s not so much as a single aspirin in the house, let alone a can of chicken soup.

You may find yourself shambling out to the nearest store – maybe even a convenience store – in search of supplies. It’s bad enough that you have to take something as nasty-tasting (though terribly effective) as Robitussin. Overpaying for it would just be aggravating.

Bonus: You’ll learn that breaking up crackers into soup is just as much fun as it was when you were a kid.

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