How Do You Combat a Cold for Cheap?

IMG_2674Yesterday, while sitting at my office desk, I suddenly had a premonition: a cold was coming. A dull ache had started creeping into my neck and my nose was tickling. I started eying people around my office, looking for signs of colds and the perpetrator of my future misery. Suddenly, I thought about the disgusting subway pole I had grabbed during my morning commute to work. Then again, maybe my roommate had contaminated our apartment with the cold-carrying germs. Whatever the reason, I knew I had to act fast lest I allow this creeping cold to turn into a full-blown illness, thus forcing me to use my insurance for a doctor visit and fork over a dreaded co-pay.

Naturally, I turned to my most reliable source of information: Twitter.

I asked those of Twitterland what they do to ward of a cold for cheap? Okay, I didn’t actually say for cheap, but I trusted that they would come back with cost-effective suggestions.

They did.

After clarification, it seems you don’t have to stuff cloves into your mouth. Instead you can dice up the garlic and toss it on your food. Bridget said not to cook it though!

This one made me chuckle, because I’d heard the same advice from my friend’s grandfather. Except in his version you add a finger or two of whiskey. Unfortunately, the latter is not entirely work appropriate.

I’d never heard of Airborne nor zinc tablets, but this suggestion came up more than once. If you’re looking for a home remedy to combat a cold for cheap, these aren’t the answers. However, it sounds like they work and worth spending five to ten bucks.

Anyone else immediately think of the cinnamon challenge? I’m going to try this mostly out of pure fascination.

That soup sounds fantastic because I love spicy anything with garlic.

Easily my favorite suggestion. I know my night owl tendencies is the biggest contributing factors to my weakened immune system. So, I’m going to take Leslie’s advice and go get some sleep. Good night! (This post was written on Tuesday night, so I’m not actually sleeping through the day on Wednesday…)

How do you combat a cold for cheap?

Special thanks to the bloggers who responded to my query about warding off a cold:

Posted in Budgeting Tagged with: , ,
36 comments on “How Do You Combat a Cold for Cheap?
  1. Not necessarily for a cold, but whenever I have a sore throat, I find that gargling salt water twice a day really heals it up quickly.
    Rebecca @ Stapler Confessions recently posted…Frugal Holiday Gifts Under $10My Profile

  2. I take Vitamin C. I try not to take cold medicine because with me it causes more harm than good. I’m very sensitive to meds!
    Holly@ClubThrifty recently posted…For Sale By Owner Insanity: A RantMy Profile

    • Adam Kamerer says:

      I think a lot of people are. I’d much rather stick to vitamins and nutritious eating and let my immune system do the work of fighting of infections, if I can help it. (Although sometimes you just have to suck it up and go visit the doctor.)
      Adam Kamerer recently posted…Are You Making Practical Changes To The Way You Manage Your Money?My Profile

    • Broke Millennial says:

      Interesting, any idea why you two are sensitive to medication? I try to stay consistent about taking a multi-vitamin, but I should probably ramp up my Vitamin C specific intake.

      • Adam Kamerer says:

        I can’t speak for Holly, but in my case, I have asthma. Getting sick can lead to some gnarly upper respiratory complications. It’s not so much that medication is ineffective, but some of it makes it difficult for me to sleep or gives me headaches. I’ve just found it’s better to keep my immune system stocked up and help it keep me from getting sick in the first place. I think a lot of people underestimate how deficient their diet is in nutrients their immune system needs.

        Of course, sometimes I have to just bite the bullet and turn to meds, but it happens a lot less frequently now that I’ve started watching my nutrient intake.
        Adam Kamerer recently posted…How We’re Preparing For A Winter Without HeatMy Profile

  3. I’ve always found that a hot toddy makes me feel loads better – not sure if that makes me your friend’s grandma or just a really big fan of whiskey 🙂 Whichever one, it really does work (that is, like you pointed out, when you’re not a work..)
    Kali @CommonSenseMillennial recently posted…How to Have a Fun, Fabulous, and Frugal WeddingMy Profile

  4. Amanda says:

    How timely! I’m right at the beginning of a cold now. Unfortunately, when I went to the drug store yesterday I went the “cheap” route and bought medicine that barely works. I should have spent the extra $3 and went for Buckleys. It’s disgusting, yes, but that stuff actually works. Instead I’m sitting at my desk at work, only 15 minutes into my day, regretting getting out of bed… I am going to go see about getting me some tea, though.
    Amanda recently posted…101 Things Goal #44 – Watch 26 Movies: N to ZMy Profile

  5. Kudos to the people who replied on Twitter. I’ve had sinus issues for the past couple years so a little different than a cold, but I think Dayquil/Nyquil are great options, getting to bed early, water and tea should do the trick.
    DC @ Young Adult Money recently posted…How To Rock a Minimalist Wardrobe At WorkMy Profile

    • Broke Millennial says:

      I do like Dayquil a lot. Nyquil too, but if I only want to spring for one I usually go with Day. Sorry to hear about sinus issues. I’ve managed to avoid those thus far in life, but that sound awful.

  6. Erin, we do the natural stuff always (tea, especially peppermint and ginger,garlic, lots of sleep, chicken soup, etc.) and it works every time. The other thing we do that kicks nearly every sickness out of our systems is go on a fruit/veggie diet for a few days. Raw or steamed only, with a touch of butter if you really need it. Works wonders on the body’s immune system!
    Laurie @thefrugalfarmer recently posted…How Skepticism Can Help You Conquer Your DebtMy Profile

    • Broke Millennial says:

      The fruit/veggie diet trick is a good one! I’d never heard, nor thought, about doing that. I need to look up some good chicken soup slow cooker recipes.

  7. I love how everyone has a different version!:) If I’m traveling and really try to avoid it I’ll use Zycam, but that only seems to prolong it so if I can ride it out I’ll just try to get lots of rest and fluids. Soup just always feels cozy. Hope you feel better!
    Budget and the Beach recently posted…Taking Back My Fear of PlasticMy Profile

    • Broke Millennial says:

      Thanks, Tonya! All this soup talk has me craving some. I’ve heard of Zycam before, but never used it myself.

  8. Michelle says:

    I have been sick for the past week. Lots of sleep always helps!
    Michelle recently posted…What Young Adults Should KnowMy Profile

  9. Barley and hops in the form of beer does the trick for me. After a while you completely forget you have a cold.
    Kyle | recently posted…Blog Spotlight: 10 Questions With Carolyn of The Wonder of Tech.comMy Profile

  10. Matt Becker says:

    My mother-in-law swears by Airborne. I had never heard of it either and I’ve had mixed results. I think sleep is the best option for sure.
    Matt Becker recently posted…Building a Secure Financial Base for Your FamilyMy Profile

    • Broke Millennial says:

      Yeah, sleep is certainly one of my biggest issues. Going to try to get 8 hours (maybe even 9) to knock this out of my system tonight.

  11. Micro says:

    I usually do two things when I can feel a cold coming on. I take some Zinc supplements and I go to bed early for at least two days. That’s usually enough to let my immune system knock the bug out before it can really set in. My side projects might take a hit but losing a few hours is better than spending a week+ with a cold.
    Micro recently posted…Need Halloween costume ideas: 5 household items that can helpMy Profile

    • Broke Millennial says:

      Thanks for bringing up the side projects. That’s my biggest issue with getting to bed early (and part of the reason I wrote this post and not a super long one last night). You are right though, sometimes the health factor needs to be more important.

  12. Selina says:

    Often colds are caused by an excess of damp in your body. In complimentary/Chinese medicine certain foods and spices can help remove damp and improve your Qi strength helping to fight the cold. A great recipe is stewed spiced apples- for more see this post we did about the benefits of apples, no.4 tells you more about the benefit of stewed apples.

    • Broke Millennial says:

      I grew up in Asia so I’m pretty familiar with Eastern philosophies on illness. I don’t agree with all of them, but always find the thought process interesting on blocked Qi and such. Could never get behind the Chinese hatred of cheese though!

  13. Nothing beats sleep so I usually take Nyquil and it knocks me out.

    • Broke Millennial says:

      I didn’t have any Nyquil (just Dayquil), but I did pop some melatonin to make sure I passed out before my normal bed time of 12:30.

  14. Feel better. Cold medicine is so expensive. I try to have the basics in stock so that I’m not splurging on the overpriced versions at the corner bodega.
    thebrokeandbeautifullife recently posted…My New “Sexy”My Profile

    • Broke Millennial says:

      I am already! The sleep really helped. I agree on how expensive it is, so I try to double up on vitamin C and take some hits of Dayquil (that i already have) if need be. Which basics do you keep around?

  15. Right when I feel the cold symptoms rolling in, I take Coldeeze – they look just like cough drops but they don’t taste as pleasant. Not sure how the science works, but it shortens the duration of a cold and I can attest to that!
    lisavstheloans recently posted…Slowly, but Surely, Crushing Student Loan DebtMy Profile

  16. Those are some great responses that you were given. Natural, with diet and occasional natural pills, is by far the best option. Most of the ingredients in “cold medicine” actually make things worse. If you look up research literature on the topic, it paints a clear picture. Anyhow… Chopped up garlic, onions, vitamin C, zinc. All are helpful. One that is really useful is Oregano Oil – Check it out!
    Jacob @ Cash Cow Couple recently posted…American Express High Yield Savings Account Review (AmEx)My Profile

  17. Debt Blag says:

    Thanks for including me.

    And sure. I’m Mario 🙂
    Debt Blag recently posted…What are YOU saving up for? Why they’re wrong about delayed gratificationMy Profile

  18. Crushed/minced raw garlic works for me, with a spoonful of honey. What I do is crush it into a spoon, put raw honey on there, and swallow the whole thing down with a LOT of water. You don’t need to chew that garlic or anything.

    Goes away in about a day or two. You have to consistently do this. Might hurt your belly a bit (the raw garlic), but it works.
    save. spend. splurge. recently posted…How much do you need to have saved to be able to retire in 20 years?My Profile

  19. I usually spend all winter sick – I really think my immune system hates me. I’ve noticed though that if I’m good about drinking apple cider vinegar mixed with Emergen-C, I don’t usually get sick. It’s after I forget for a few days that the germs get me. I Googled it at one point and the internet backed up my apple cider vinegar theory, and the internet doesn’t lie, right ;o)
    Mel @ brokeGIRLrich recently posted…Five Dolla’ Make You Holla’ Holiday Series: GrandmaMy Profile

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