Surviving a cold on a budget

Surviving a cold on a budget

Being ill sucks and boy should I know, last week I was struck down with a terrible, terrible virus/cold/plague which had me out on my back for an entire week and I’m only just getting over it now. And did I moan? Why of course I did, Twitter heard all about it, Mr Thrifty heard all about it, my friends got texts about it and the UN were on high alert. I even had friends sweetly deliver me a get well hamper but run back up the steps when they saw how rough I looked. Don’t even think about getting this bug that’s doing the rounds, it isn’t cool and it really isn’t pretty.

Struggling through a bad cold/virus on a budget

First of all – just go to bed, it’s where you belong. It is utterly horrifying that people feel like they can’t take a day off work when they’re genuinely really very ill. People bringing viruses into work pass them on to people like me – someone with a compromised immune system who could very well die from something like a bad cold, flu or ugly virus.

Keep warm

– Light layers are your friends

One second you’re hot, the next you’re freezing. It’s far better to wear a series of light layers you can strip on and off bit by bit than just one pair of pyjamas which aren’t enough one second and too hot 3 minutes later.

– Blankets

Again, layer it up and once you’re done with your cold give them a good boil wash.

– Socks

Clad your feet with something warm. I like a good thermal sock and I picked up a pack of 3 pairs of thermal walking socks for about £3 in Pound Stretcher a few weeks ago. They are mens socks, ugly and grey but they make the best bed socks and didn’t wriggle off in bed.

– Hot water bottle

Waah why don’t you have one, petal? I wouldn’t be without one several and even the dog knows how fab they are. They don’t have to be expensive either, you can pick them up in Poundland – they come without a cover but you can easily just pop it in a cushion cover.

You can snaffle one online for well less than a tenner and if you treat it well it will last you an age.

1. Hot water bottle with faux fur cover (choice of cover) £4.99
2. Hot water bottle with snow flake cover £5.99
3. Hot water bottle with spotty cover £4.50 (currently half price usually £9 – offer runs until 24/11/13)

– Snood or scarf

Don’t let one out of your sight. If I wanted a second husband (anyone else love Sister Wives by the way?) I’d marry my cosy, grey Primark snood which I’ve had for about 3 years and it’s still in tip top condition. That snood has seen me through every illness and washes up a real treat.

At home remedies

– Steaming

Grab a bowl of steaming water and add a few drops of eucalyptus oil – or even olbas oil. Sit down, close your eyes and lean over the bowl with a towel over your head and slowly inhale the steam. My doctor recommended I do this 3 times a day for 10 minutes a piece and I instantly felt relief across my chest and nose after each session.

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– Apple cider is sweet

This isn’t a cure but it certainly stopped my throat from feeling like it was ripped raw. Take 1/2 tbsp of honey and 1/2 tbsp of cider vinegar, stir together in a cup and drink. I took this once every 4 hours and within 2 days my throat was completely fine and remained so throughout the rest of my cold.

Food and drink

– Soup/broth

Enlist friend and family to make you some chicken soup or vegetable broth.

– Honey, lemon and hot water in a flask 

This really works for me and if nothing else at least it is keeping you hydrated. Fill a large flask with boiling water and add the juice of 1 lemon (you can even grate a little ginger in if you like). Pop the flask on a tray with a jar of honey (the Morrison’s own brand cheapest is great value), a cup and a teaspoon and get back into bed – allow the liquid to cool to a drinkable temperature and help yourself. For each cup of the hot lemon water add 2tsp of honey and stir well.

– Vit C

Get some vitamin C down you, be it in the form of an orange, a couple of kiwis or a glass of grapefruit juice. Just do it! Many supermarkets have deals on ‘basic’ fruits so get some down your face and feel the benefits.

– Hot, hot, hot

Once you’re feeling a wee bit better with just a bit more of the cold to eek out try eating something spicy. For the first 5 or so days I could eat much more than a few bites but by the 6th day my appetite was returning and eating a curry really helped eek out the rest of the cold by making my nose run like a tap!


– Vapour rub

– Throat sweets

– Cold/Flu medicine and pain killers

When it comes to all of these, shun the brands! Tesco’s own brand vapour rub was amazing and only cost £1 compared to the brand name version which would have cost me £4. And these cheap-o-peep-o throat and chest sweets knock expensive similar products into a cocked hat. The cheapest of cheap cold and flu medications from the budget shops such as Poundland, B&M and Home Bargain were dirt cheap but they held their own against the top brands which are easily £5+. Why spend 90% more for something that does the same as a cheaper version? What’s the point? If you’re worried take the time to compare the ingredients and dosage side by side to put your mind at rest. Oh and get some Tiger Balm, we were all out and couldn’t find any nearby but maaaaaan this stuff is incredible when you slap it on your back and chest.


– Tissues 

Oh yes who else likes to use a cheese grater on their nose when they’re sick? Yup that’s what some cheap tissues feel like. I can highly recommend the Aldi Mini Mansize tissues – I went to town rubbing my poor honk with these and I didn’t feel like I was exfoliating my nose with sandpaper even after 36th time.

– Free films

Read my guide to watching free films online legally then bunker down and drift in and out of sleep in front of a weepy flick.