Frugal Flu Shots

Frugal Flu Shots
Between medicine, doctor's visits and missing work, being sick with the flu can be expensive. So, if you're looking to get vaccinated this season, don't wait until it's too late. Here are a few options that will help keep your body, and your budget, healthy.

A good place to start is at work. Many companies have started providing free flu shots in the office to help minimize sick days. And if they don't, they may offer reimbursement incentives instead.

Another free option is to call your health insurance provider or local pharmacy. Thanks to the Affordable Care Act, most insurance companies are now required to cover preventive care, which includes vaccinations with no co-pay and no deductible. As long as you go to an in-network provider, and this includes certain participating pharmacies, you are entitled to a flu shot at no extra cost.

If neither of those options are available to you, vaccinations are also offered at your local pharmacy for $30 or less. Costco leads the pack when it comes to price, with flu shots ranging around $16. Target is runner up. Flu shots here cost $24.99 and include a 5-percent-off day shopping pass. Finally, flu shots at CVS cost $31.99 plus a 20-percent-off all day shopping pass for in-store purchases up to $100.

So, whether it's through your employer, health insurance or retailer next door, you're taken care of when it comes to budget-friendly flu shots. Select the option most convenient option and stay healthy all winter long.

Saving Money, Staying Healthy: Five Cheap Things That Will Help You Stay Healthy
See Gallery
Frugal Flu Shots -- Savings Experiment
In the South Pacific, where it grows naturally, kava kava is a popular sedative that often shows up in religious and social rituals. Yogi Tea's "Calming" blend mixes the herb with lemongrass, chamomile and gotu kola to produce a tasty, mildly sedative brew. If you're having a difficult time adjusting your sleep cycle to daylight savings, or just can't quite get to sleep, it's a delicious, healthy alternative to sleeping pills, melatonin, or other over-the-counter sleep aids.
Numerous studies have suggested that zinc boosts the immune system, and that supplements, taken at the beginning of a cold, can help reduce its duration. Concerns still persist that zinc-based nasal sprays can permanently damage a cold sufferer's sense of smell, but zinc lozenges, placed under the tongue, remain a safe and effective supplement. Best of all, many retailers offer them for under $2!
For anybody who spends a lot of time in sunlight, vitamin D isn't a problem. In fact, according to WebMD, six days of casual sunlight exposure without sunscreen will pretty much do it. Even so, huge portions of the country, particularly in the north, are vitamin D deficient. In addition to contributing to seasonal affective disorder, the lack of vitamin D can cause immune problems, skin problems, osteoporosis, and a host of other problems. Luckily, supplements start at about $2 per bottle.
While it doesn't seem to have much affect on the immune system, fish oil is a must-have when it comes to general health. Often cited for its affect on high blood pressure, its effectiveness in reducing heart attacks and strokes, and its general benefits for cardiovascular wellness, fish oil is cheap, convenient and easy to find. Admittedly, the best fish oils tend to cost a bit more, but entry-level brands generally run $3 or less.
If you watch The Office, you might remember the secret Santa episode, in which Dwight announced his plans to use Jim's gift to Pam to clear out his sinuses. While the notion of nasal irrigation is a little uncomfortable (yes, the end of the little teapot really DOES go in your nostril!), doctors widely acknowledge that it's a great treatment for sinus problems associated with allergies and colds. An entry-level model costs just under $4.
Read Full Story