How to Save Money During Cold & Flu Season
There are plenty of good reasons to love fall — cooler weather, fun outdoor activities and pumpkin spice everything — but there’s one thing fall brings that no one loves: cold and flu season. Coming down with a nasty bug is not anyone’s idea of a good time, and to make matters worse, being sick can be expensive, too. But it doesn’t have to be. With some planning and care, it’s possible to save money during cold and flu season. Here’s how:
An Ounce of Prevention — The best way to save money is to not get sick in the first place. Keep your immune system strong by getting plenty of sleep, eating healthfully, and staying well hydrated. Keep germs from spreading by washing your hands frequently or using hand sanitizer if you can’t wash them right away. Regularly wipe down keyboards, door knobs and light switches with antibacterial wipes. Do your best to stay out of tightly packed crowds and areas where people are coughing and sneezing. If you’ve been around someone you know is sick, change clothes and shower as soon as you get home.
Plan Ahead — There’s nothing worse than waking up with a sore throat and a pounding headache only to realize the cupboards are bare and you don’t have any of the things you need to feel better. Stock up on essentials such as tissues, cough drops, canned soup, tea bags, honey, and whichever over-the-counter medicines you normally use to relieve your symptoms. You will have peace of mind knowing they are there if you need them and you won’t have to pay extra to have them delivered if you’re too sick to go out.
Buy in Bulk — You might not need — or have room to store — a 500-count bottle of Tylenol or 24 boxes of tissue. But you’ll save a lot if you buy cold-and-flu basics in bulk. Split the cost of those purchases with a friend or family member and you’ll both be prepared for what’s to come.
Choose Generic — When it comes to over-the-counter medications, it’s the active ingredients that count, not the recognizable names or clever commercials. Fortunately, most drugstore chains and discount stores display their generic versions of medicines very near their branded counterparts, making it easy to compare ingredients (and prices). You’ll be amazed at how much you can save by buying the store brands. If you have questions or need further reassurance, ask the pharmacist.
Talk to the Pharmacist — Speaking of pharmacists, they can be a great resource and actually help you save money. A consultation with the pharmacist is free, and they can help you determine which over-the-counter medications are best suited to your symptoms. If you take any prescription meds, talking with the pharmacist before taking anything else can help you avoid potentially costly and dangerous drug interactions.