Something special comes along this time of year to remind many of us about the joys of parenting.
It usually kicks in about 3:30 a.m. or so, when a little one stumbles down the stairs moaning about how he just threw up in his bed.
So you do what any loving parent would: Drag him into the bathroom, shove his face in the toilet and shout, "Don't move!"
Then you go strip the bed. When you return, you find your sick child crawled into your bed while you were away, and he probably threw up in there, too.
So you put on a pot of coffee and find the homemade laundry detergent.
Fortunately, we've got a great tip for any parents struggling through flu season, courtesy of Becci Earnshaw in Macungie. It's not going to get you out of cleaning yucky sheets. But it can help keep those sick kids nourished and soothe a sore throat.
"With the cold and flu season here, I wanted to share a couple of cheap tips for sick family members," Becci said. "When my kids are sick, they love the Dannon drinkable probiotic yogurt … Too bad it drains my budget at the same time."
Becci said that stuff costs about $1 per serving. With a couple of sick kids, that can add up fast.
One morning, Becci's daughter was sick and wanted drinkable yogurt but they didn't have any.
"I had purchased the regular, store-brand, probiotic yogurt," Becci said. "She turned her nose up at it. In a moment of inspiration, I offered to make her a smoothie. I put a carton of yogurt in the blender and then poured juice into the empty carton to get an equal portion and poured the juice into the blender. I hit whip and — voila — drinkable yogurt with the probiotic benefits that was easy on my pocket."
Becci said she spent about $6.50 on ingredients to make a large batch of smoothies that would have cost her more than twice that amount if she purchased individual servings of drinkable yogurt. Convenience packaging comes with a big markup, and making your own is not all that inconvenient.
We made a demonstration video you can see at http://www.mcall.com/onthecheap. We were impressed when Becci pulled out a rubber spatula to get all the yogurt out of the container and into the blender. She even got the last few globs of yogurt off the foil top to the yogurt. In just a minute, she turned yogurt and juice into a delicious pomegranate smoothie.
Her son likes the smoothies for dessert, too.
We did some number crunching in the On The Cheap lab and figure this tip would save you $338.40 over 20 years. You could put it toward some new sheets and keep them stashed for next time the kids get sick.
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Smoothies for the flu
Cheapster: Becci Earnshaw
Tip: Make your own flu remedy
Estimated savings: $338.40 over 20 years