Combatting a cold can hit your budget hard, too!

Avoiding Winter Colds

by Veronica Bowman

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In addition to making you and your family members feel terrible, the common cold can take a chunk out of the monthly budget. Over-the-counter medications and visits to the doctor can add up quickly, especially if more than one person in the house gets sick. To help avoid the physical and financial discomfort that can accompany cold season, you can take some precautionary measures to stay healthy.

You can find an abundance of statistics from a variety of sources such as the American Medical Association, the FDA, and at Health.State.MN.US that confirm there is no evidence that antibacterial soaps are more effective than plain soap for preventing infection under most circumstances in the home or in public places. Based on that information, you can feel confident about frugally choosing less expensive plain soap over higher priced antibacterial soap. It's important to note that for any soap to effectively kill germs, you must practice proper hand-washing techniques. You can find an excellent description of those techniques at

Related: Natural Congestion Remedies

You don't need statistics to tell you that when one family member gets a cold, there's a strong likelihood that other family members will soon be sick with a cold. To reduce the spread of germs in your home, it's essential that you sanitize the areas and objects where germs are most likely to be found. Those items and areas include the television remote, toys, the telephone, door knobs, drawer handles, faucets, the computer keyboard, light switches, electronic gadgets that the family shares, and kitchen and bathroom countertops. This is not an all-inclusive list, but it is a good starting point for a frequent sanitizing routine.

Prior to the arrival of cold season, watch for sales on soap, hand sanitizers, sanitizing wipes, and paper towels. Stock up when the prices are good. You can purchase enough small hand sanitizing bottles to keep them in various locations around the house, in your vehicle, and in your purse. To save money, buy large bottles of sanitizers and refill the smaller ones as needed. You may want to consider purchasing no-touch soap dispensers for your home. You can find basic touch-free soap dispensers for less than $20. There are various features that make these dispensers ideal for a frugal shopper. For more information on the benefits of a touch-free soap dispenser, there's an informative article at

Locations such as a waiting area, grocery store, workplace, daycare, or school are places where you and your family need to take extra precautions during the cold season. Take your own book, magazine, or toys for your child when you anticipate having to spend time in a waiting area instead of handling the ones that are lying around the room.

Some, but not all, places now have sanitizing wipes available near their shopping carts. It's a good idea to carry a small pack of wipes with you so that you'll always have them available. Don't be in such a hurry that you won't take time to wipe off the handles of a shopping basket or cart. A few seconds spent in a precautionary activity is better than spending days struggling with a cold.

Take as many precautionary steps as possible to stay well. According to the information provided at, not getting the proper amount of sleep can weaken your immune system. An article at points to stress as another factor that weakens the immune system. It's important that you set an example for your children regarding good sleep habits. Explore and put into practice ways to relieve stress, so you can stay healthy throughout the year.

Is your family heading for debt trouble? Many families are and don't even know it. This simple checklist can help you determine if you are and what you can do to avoid it.

By taking a few precautions, you and your family may be able to avoid cold-related expenses and discomfort during the winter season. Watching for sales on supplies and doing your regular coupon search will help you stock up on sanitizing supplies and preventative products like Vitamin C without over-extending your budget.

Reviewed October 2017

Take the Next Step:

  • Use these tips to prepare your family for cold and flu season.
  • Discover more home health remedies that can help you get through cold and flu season by visiting the Dollar Stretcher Library.
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