Weekly Roundup – Swine Flu Preparations Edition

It sounds like swine flu could make a real comeback this fall. While this doesn’t necessarily pertain to finances, it could certainly affect your personal finances if you have to miss work, or pay costly medical bills. I saw the doctor last week for a nasty case of bronchitis and overheard them telling another patient in the lobby that they have seen a lot of regular, seasonal flu early this season. Swine flu or not, it seems like flu will dominate much of the news cycle in the coming months.

I don’t usually respond to these dire “flu pandemic preparedness” warnings that seem to come around every few years, but it does make sense to stay prepared for any situation. We found a great preparedness guide at one of my new favorite sites, SurvivalBlog.com.

The author runs through a list of things to have on hand, techniques to use to prevent getting the flu, and what to do if you do get it. We have started picking up a few extra medicines (expectorants, ibuprofen, acetaminophen, etc.) to help battle any symptoms, and stocked up on things like hand sanitizers (especially for the kids). If you are a member, check out wholesale clubs like Sams Club for things like this, and look for the store brand medicines to save money. We were able to pick up a 500-count bottle of acetaminophen for a fraction of the cost of the equivalent number of Tylenol.

The Frugal Roundup

How To Survive a Stock Market Crash. Recent stock market declines have really tested my faith in the market. Jeff reminds us why to keep the faith and keep plowing long-term savings in the market to win out. (@Good Financial Cents)

The Valuable Art of Media Swapping. We often share books, movies and games with friends and family as sort of an informal swap. With video games, it’s great to let the kids try it out before deciding whether or not it is worth buying. (@The Simple Dollar)

8 Steps to Achieving Your Financial Resolutions – No Matter What. This post inspired me to look back over my 2009 financial resolutions to make sure I was on track. Guess what? I’m not. Time to put Neal’s advice to work!(@Wealth Pilgrim)

25 Essentials That Are Better and Cheaper to Make at Home. An excellent resource for saving money around the house by choosing homemade products over their retail counterparts.(@Man vs. Debt)

Budgeting With the Envelope System. When we first started our financial turnaround we used envelopes to manage our budget categories. Over time, we relaxed things a bit and started using a debit card. However, envelopes are still great for those budget categories you tend to spend more on each month than planned – think food, entertainment, etc. (@Lazy Man and Money)

How Much Baby Stuff Do I Need? New parents can burn through a lot of cash those first few months. If you are expecting, or no one someone who is, you may want to run this article by them.(@The Frugal Girl)

Best of the Rest

Bonus article: The founder of Papa John’s spent $250,000 to buy back the old Camaro he sold back in 1983 to keep his family’s business afloat, and to start a little pizza business. Wonder if that old Chevy Silverado I sold is still around? I wouldn’t pay $250,000 for it, but it would be great to save up and pay cash for it now that I’ve turned things around.


  1. More people die from the flu shot, than the flu itself! Flu shots combine mercury with aluminum, formaldahyde and antifreeze. And there is emerging evidence that flu shots cause alzheimers disease. Avoid flu vaccines like the plague. Go to http://www.mercola.com and type flu shots in the search bar, to read what the Dr. has to say about the vaccine, before putting these toxins into your body!

  2. I once worked as an art director in the marketing department of a hospital. We were required to get flu shots. Result? Every dang time I got the flu! This was over 10 years ago, I haven’t had a shot since and haven’t gotten the flu either.

    One thing I would stress would be to pay attention to your diet and over-all level of health. If you eat a balanced, super-nutritional diet — supplement with natural/clean sources of immune-boosting items (things like green tea, echinacea), and pay attention to reducing your over-all stress levels, your body is better prepared to fight off infection. Works for my family, anyway.

    One thing I have found with stocking up on things you suggest like expectorants and ibubrofen is that I never get around to using it until it has expired. Then it is just a waste of money. As we live 30 minutes from a pharmacy or grocery store, I do try to keep some around, but in smaller quantities.

  3. With the exception of an airport-induced incident this spring (I flew through DFW, and for all I know this was what everyone was oinking about) and another one three years ago, the only times I’ve come down with influenza is if I’ve gotten that shot. If I get the shot, I’m going to be sicker than a dog within three days.

  4. My wife tells me that flu shots keep us from developing the natural ability to fight disease.

    I tend to agree with her and the comments above.

    I won’t be getting the shot unless I see convincing evidence to support it.

    Oh…and thanks for the mention this week. An honor.

  5. @Lisa: Excellent point on maintaining overall health. Several readers have shared with me the benefits of Vitamin D, specifically D-3.

    While it is possible to get some Vitamin D from foods (fortified milk, egg yolks, fish, etc.), it seems the best way to increase your level of Vitamin D is to get a little sunlight exposure each day. Explains why flu tends to ramp up in the winter.

  6. @brea:

    The last year’s drop in pork prices was not due to hysteria over influenza. In New Mexico and Texas at least, it had more to do with the cost of feeding the animals. Corn, which is a staple in commercial pig feed, spiked last year and this year due in part to ethanol related demand. Meanwhile the cost of fuel last year affected the cost of shipping feed and of bringing animals to market. Yet the cost of labor remained constant. So a lot of pig farmers had to offload their animals at a loss or else go out of business.

    I’m resisting the H1N1 label. It is a swine influenza, just as the last big scare was a bird influenza. Hiding the facts in order to keep the ignorant masses from becoming hysterical perpetuates both the hysteria and the ignorance that allows it. It also delays a long overdue global discussion on biosecurity.

    I don’t think anyone actually believes you can catch any influenza virus by eating pork. But we do have to start talking about biosecurity because our global human and animal population is growing and becoming more dense. It’s also high time to address some dirty little secrets of the meat industry, such as slaughter and distribution of sick animals.

  7. You want ibuprofen (e.g. Advil), not paracetamol (e.g Tylenol) for the aches & pains caused by influenza.