A Recessionista’s Guide To Health – Spring/Summer Edition

Summer time sun

Are you spending all your paycheck on maintaining your health this season? With a recession in session and prices on the rise for just about everything these days, everyone is looking to save money. Our health is however a very delicate area to scrimp and save on; therefore here are some cheaper (and just as effective) ways to save and still stay healthy this spring/summer.

Overpriced ≠ Better. Generic brand does not mean you are poor; neither does it mean the product doesn’t work as well. The brand is more expensive simply because they are the company that conducted the R&D and they have to make their money back. Once their patent expires, other companies were allowed to manufacture the drug for cheaper. Therefore generics are EQUALLY as effective as brand products; just made by different companies. If you don’t believe me, compare their main ingredient. This is analogous to your 100% linen pants from Gucci vs. Old Navy. Guess what? They’re both 100% linen.


Spring is upon us; birds are chirping, the trees are blooming, and bees are buzzing. And with it comes our green dusty miscreant friend…pollen. I’m sure victims of seasonal allergies such as me know how miserable pollen can make our spring days; especially since all we want to do is wear a sundress and skip through a field of dandelions singing choruses from the Sound of Music. Instead we get itchy bloodshot eyes, runny nose, nasal congestions etc. And damn all these expensive medications – that’s a week worth of groceries. Well here are some cost saving tips that could clear you up in no time.

Name brand is not always better
Name brand is not always better

• Saline solutions are one of the cheapest ways to treat allergies. You can make your own salt mixture by placing one-half teaspoon of non-iodinated salt and a pinch of baking soda in one cup of warm water, fill your squeeze bottle and spray your nose away.
• Buy Generic – I cannot stress this enough (see above). Kroger & Wal-Mart have $4 deals; make sure you ask your doctor to prescribe something on the list.
• Buy Store-brand Over the Counter products: CVS or Rite-Aid brand Allergy medications are just like generics; same ingredient, cheaper price.
• In some cases (only SOME)…you may get some relief by splitting your tablet in two; making it last twice as long. See if this works for you. You can usually tell pills that can be split; they have a line through the middle. However if your medication says ER, SR, or LA…please do NOT split.

Yes, I took it there. I know you’ve been knocked down and run over with this information but lets do it again for those who don’t know. Thanks! Well as you all know; summer is known for flings…holidays in the Bahamas, sexy dark oily looking individuals with exotic names like Stud-a-man, girls with dental floss bikinis, and naija-babes in Caliente nightclub feeling your “P” because you said “Soda” (not minerals). Fun, fun, and more fun…till the day you pee and it burns.

Basic health advice: Please don’t EVER skip on protection. There’s simply no cutting back on this one guys…recession or no- recession. Either you hold your protection or hold yourself. All STD’s are extremely expensive to treat and majority can last a lifetime…how’s that for an eternal recession? And by the way…please stop the ignorance; pull out method is not a form of protection.


Even before Wall Street Journal was done dotting the “i” in recession, most of us had dropped our gym memberships like a hot potato. And I don’t blame you either; those things can cost an arm and a leg. But now, how do we get to see good looking, buff, toned, athletic, yummy males/females stay healthy and in shape? Well even though we may be missing out on some of the perks of the gym such as (*coughs*) gym equipment, exercising outside of the gym can also be fun. Here are some cheap ways to stay fit:
•  Go dancing and actually dance (“macking” on the wall doesn’t count).
•  Girls; learn a Beyoncé routine (you know that girl has energy for days)
•  Take advantage of the warm weather and take brisk 30min daily walks around your neighborhood (assuming its safe)
• Make good use of your Nintendo Wii 🙂
•  Go online and get free routines for home exercises: Check these free exercise video online sites: http://www.exercisetv.tv/, http://www.fitnessmagazine.com/, http://www.ultimatepilates.com/, http://www.sparkpeople.com/, or good old www.youtube.com
•  Exercise for a cause such a relay for life, breast cancer walk, HIV/AIDS etc. They usually have a lot of fun activities at such events.
•  If you’d rather exercise with people, start a jogging/running or fitness group, or gather people to play a sport you like such as soccer, tennis, basketball etc.

Sure, the bad stuff is usually cheaper but the long term effects of a bad diet are more expensive. Here are some tips:
• Don’t snob store brand products. I don’t know if this is only a Nigerian thing but Kellogg cornflakes and Heinz baked beans is NOT a status symbol. Store brands are just like generic drugs. Same main ingredient, cheaper price.
• Buy what’s in season, they’re usually cheaper. I know it may be monotonous eating tomatoes everyday but find different recipes to switch it up.
• Buy in bulk and share the cost with your friends. Bulk purchases from places like Costco and Sam’s club are usually cheaper.
• Buy fresh – Shop at your local farmer’s market (if you have one). Their meats, fish and veggies are usually less processed, healthier and cheaper.
• For those who live in the fast lane. Cook on the weekends and pre-pack your Mon-Fri lunch bowls so you’re less tempted to eat out.
•  Or better still; the leftovers from dinner tonight can be your lunch tomorrow.

One very common misconception is that African-Americans don’t need sunscreen. Oh yea…we sure do. UV rays also affect dark skin, maybe not as much as Caucasians, but we do need some coverage. I suggest buying a daily face and body lotion that has at least an SPF 15. For lighter skinned people you can go a bit higher to about 20/25. That should keep you well protected.

Have a great spring/summer! 🙂