cvid life hacks system 1 food toiletries medicine feature image

If you’ve stumbled upon this blog post, System 1: CVID Life Hacks for Food/Toiletries/Medicine, prior to reading 5 Systems to Get and Stay Organized with CVID, I’d suggest reading about all five systems first, as it provides an overview of the CVID Life Hacks series.

In this series, I’ll help you put systems (i.e. routines) in place that will make your life much easier. They will help you conserve energy and keep your household running on autopilot even if you are having a difficult day with your CVID.

The 5 systems we’ll work on are:

  1. Daily Basics of Survival: Food/Toiletries/Medicines
  2. Laundry-Don’t Be Naked 
  3. Bills-You’re gonna want to eat!
  4. Appointments/Your Calendar-Doctors’ Appointment Anyone?
  5. Minimum Daily chore List-just so you don’t go crazy

I’ve said this before, but having these five systems in place will make you more organized than most. These systems take care of the basic duties that are necessary in life, especially if you have a family!

Before we begin System 1: CVID Life Hacks for Food/Toiletries/Medicine, please download the forms and documents you will need below.

CVID Life Hacks for Food Management

I don’t know about you, but my family wants to eat…a lot! And can you believe they expect me to feed them! (I hope you caught the sarcasm here!) That’s pretty funny considering I have a history of pretty horrible cooking. I’ve just never had a desire to learn how to cook and food doesn’t interest me all that much. 

Grocery shopping has always been a chore for me. Planning meals for my family actually caused me anxiety well before I became very sick with CVID. I always winged it and truthfully never got great results or reactions from my family.

Well, after I was diagnosed with CVID, I had no choice. I had to figure out a manageable way of grocery shopping and meal-planning that I would actually adhere to. After much trial and error, I found a system that works for me. I hope it will work for you too!

Make a List of Grocery Staples to Keep On-hand

I started by making a list of groceries that my family went through on a weekly basis. You know, the staples.

You can use this list of staples every single week to start your grocery shopping list. Just add the other items you need for meals and snacks and head off to the store!

Utilize Grocery Pick Up or Delivery Services

Right now, especially during this “warm and fuzzy” COVID time, I prefer to order my groceries online. Then, I pick them up through a contactless pick up service. Almost every major grocery store is on-board and offering this service now. I prefer to use Walmart for this service for several reasons:

  1. They’ve got it down to a science. You can pre-choose substitution items just in case they happen to be out of an item you need.
  2. There are always plenty of pick-up time slots every day so I can find one that fits my schedule. (Make sure to shop and place your order at least one day before you want to pick up your groceries. Same-day slots are scarce!)
  3. They have more than groceries. I have a family so we often need things other than groceries and more likely than not Walmart has it.
  4. They work with eMeals which is the best money and time-saving service I have found!

eMeals  

I recently found a truly life-changing service/app that has eased my meal planning and grocery shopping anxiety. Now, I have tried several different methods of meal planning in the past. Most of these were free, however involved quite a bit of work on my part. I scoured the internet for recipes my picky family would eat, developed a grocery list and placed my order.

All of these methods failed because I didn’t have the time, not to mention the energy. I do know other people that use meal services that deliver food to their homes. However, we don’t have the budget for the amount of food I would need to purchase for my three “men”!

So, I recently read about eMeals on financial Guru Dave Ramsey’s site. It is a service he recommends because it saves money and time. The app offers a free 14 day trial so I decided to try it. (Please note: I almost never try things even if there is a free trial offered. I inevitably forget to cancel before the free trial ends and I’m charged for a service I don’t want! However, this time I set up a calendar reminder to cancel eMeals if I didn’t like it.)

How eMeals Works

Upon signing up, the eMeals app asked me a series of questions about meal types in which I was interested. It then suggested a plan. However, I have picky eaters, so I knew I would need access to many recipes. Thankfully, just a $5/month subscription covers almost all the meal plans and recipes. 

I perused the recipes and selected ones to save to the weekly meal plan. The grocery items necessary for that recipe were automatically added to a grocery list. Then, I reviewed my grocery list and eliminated any items I knew we already had at home.

After the review, I had the option of printing off my grocery list and heading to the store. However, I chose for my list to be transferred to a Walmart order because I could pick it up! (That’s my favorite part! I get excited just thinking about it!)

As I’ve already mentioned, there are always other items like paper plates, toilet paper and under eye concealers (for me!) that we need on a weekly basis. eMeals allows you to add these items to your list too! 

Before I checked out, I chose substitutions for items on my list that may be out of stock. Then, Walmart notified me by text and email when my order was ready for pick up. 

I pulled up, they brought it out and even loaded it into my car! I was always socially distanced from the Walmart employee and the process was completely contactless!

They are offering a free 14 day trial so download the app and sign up now!

cvid life hacks for food management emeals tips for first time users infographic

CVID Life Hacks for Toiletries & Other Household Needs

Have you heard of Amazon’s Subscribe and Save program? Most people have by now, but perhaps you’ve been hesitant to give it a try. I know I was. I wondered if I would truly save more money with Subscribe and Save versus Walmart.

Well, I finally decided to give it a try last January (2020). I couldn’t keep up with all the toiletry needs of my family while managing my daily CVID symptoms and treatments! I was making too many emergency trips to Walmart for deodorant and shampoo! 

So, I decided to build a small stockpile of supplies at home using Amazon’s Subscribe and Save to do it! Now, it’s one of my CVID Life Hacks I can’t imagine doing without!

How to Build a Stockpile with Amazon’s Subscribe and Save Program

First, make a list of all the household items (like cleaners, detergent, etc…) and toiletries your family uses. To help you get started, refer to the list called Household Staples you’ve downloaded from above.

Then, log into your Amazon account or sign up for a free account (you don’t need a Prime account to use Subscribe and Save) with your list in hand. 

There are two ways to find Subscribe and Save items. First, click on Account and Lists at the top right corner of your home screen and then Subscribe and Save. A list, broken down by category, will open that you can simply browse through to choose items. 

However, my family is picky of course and only uses certain items. The other way I look for items to add to my Subscribe and Save is using the search bar at the top of any Amazon screen. Searching this way will pull up items that you can buy once and items that you can add to your Subscribe and Save list.

How Amazon’s Subscribe and Save Works

There’s a few things you need to know about Amazon’s Subscribe and Save system that took me some time to figure out:

-When you choose and add your item, you’re signing up for repeat deliveries of a product. Rather than shipping immediately, any item you subscribe to is automatically added to your first month’s order, which is scheduled for the same day each month. However, you can skip a shipment or move items to a later month’s shipment at any time. 

-Subscribe & save orders always ship for free. You don’t need to have Prime, and there is no minimum purchase threshold.

-Most orders containing one to four items qualify for a 5% discount off the listed purchase price. Even better, orders of five items or more qualify for a 15% off discount. (You do need to have five items scheduled in the same month’s delivery to get the 15% off, but I find that quite easy to do!)

-The price you are charged for an item’s first shipment will be the price listed at the time you initially added it to your Subscribe and Save list. However, the cost of the same item in future shipments can change based on Amazon’s listing price at the time. Don’t worry though, you’ll receive an email a week before your order ships to which you can make changes. 

-Subscribe and Save allows you to make cancellations or adjustments at any time. Your credit card will not be charged until just before the items ship.

-Always check to see if there is a coupon listed on the product page for any subscribe & save item. There are three places to look:

  1. Under the item’s price
  2. Under the Subscribe & Save price
  3. In the middle of the page above the item’s description

CVID Life Hacks: The Dollar Store

Although I’ve got a pretty good system going already with eMeals and Amazon’s Subscribe and Save, I have a budget! Because of the medical costs related to my CVID, we do live on a tighter budget these days.

Tight budgets or not, there are some things you should always purchase from the Dollar Store. These items are usually household cleaners that are overpriced even at Walmart! So, I visit my Dollar Store once a month as part of my system to buy household cleaners and staples.

cvid life hacks household staples to always buy from the dollar store inforgraphic

CVID Life Hacks: Medicine Management

Many CVID patients have other comorbid conditions and therefore may take numerous medications that they need to keep track of. For example, in addition to my weekly infusion medication, I take several medications daily. I’m also prescribed several more that I take on an as-needed basis.

I’ve developed several CVID Life Hacks to stay on top of my medications as best I can. Perhaps they may help you also!

Keep Your Medicines Separate From Those of Other Family Members

I keep over the counter medications and prescriptions for other family members on a high shelf in our linen closet. However, I separate out all of my medications and store them together in a portable bag. I have made it a practice to carry my medications with me in case of emergencies. My medicine bag fits nicely in my large tote/purse which is rarely not right by my side.

Set Reminders to Take Your Medications if Needed

There are several systems you can use to remind yourself to take your medications at certain times. One of the easiest ways is to use the reminder or alarm function on your cell phone. You can set a reminder or an alarm sound to go off daily at the same times. 

There are also apps designed to remind you to take your medicine. They will also track your medicines and the dosages you take. Below are two absolutely free apps that are easy to use:

The Round App

cvid life hacks how to manage your medicine the round app

Round is a simple app you can use to track each medication, its dosage and times to take daily. It then allows you to set up multiple reminders.

The Mango Health App

cvid life hacks for managing your medicines the mango health app

The Mango Health app is probably the easiest app I’ve used. It guides you in entering each medication, days and times in a simple format. It automatically provides a picture of what the pill looks like along with a description, dose and strength.

If you don’t always carry your cell phone with you, use a watch with the ability to set alarms. A smart watch like the apple watch would do the trick. However, there are also watches made specifically for medication reminding. I would suggest asking the pharmacist at a local pharmacy (like Walgreens, Walmart or CVS) for a recommendation.

Organize Your Medications

I actually keep my medications in the bottles the pharmacy provides. They are in my medicine bag that I carry with me everywhere. I also carry both paper copies and a digital copy of my medication list. (It’s a great idea to provide each of your healthcare providers a paper copy of your medication list. See my post on creating your own CVID binder that you should take with you to every doctor’s appointment.)

Another system many people find helpful is to use a pill organizer to hold each day’s medications. If you do use a pill organizer, I suggest printing out your Medications & Allergies list, folding it in half and taping it to the bottom. 

Finally, if you store infusion medications and supplies at home, check out my tutorial on creating your own SubQ/SCIG Home Infusion Kit to keep everything organized.

Managing Your Medication Refills the Easy Way

I fill all of my prescriptions at the same pharmacy. In doing so, I’ve been able to coordinate filling all of my medications at the same time each month. Many of the chain pharmacies like Walgreens and CVS offer this service. 

If filling your prescriptions monthly is proving too much to manage, these same chain pharmacies offer programs that fill all your prescriptions for 90 days at a time (exceptions for eligibility may be narcotic and opioid prescriptions). They often offer free delivery as well. 

If you have insurance, you should also check with your insurance company to see if they have a similar program. If you do not have health insurance, these services are still available to you. In both cases, however, you should use a medicine cost search engine, like InsideRX, to check the prices of all your medications.

Use your Medications & Allergies list and a notebook to list several of the cheapest prices at nearby pharmacies you prefer. My preferred pharmacy, for example, isn’t always the cheapest on every medication, but they are on most. So, it makes sense for me to use their services. 

Whew! I know there’s a lot of information in this post, but remember to take it one step at a time. Choose the most important of the above and start implementing that process.

As always, if you have any questions at all just email me at susanalynne@cvidiva.com.

Stay strong my Zebra friends!

Susan Alynne CVID Signature

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Though DIVA as she may be, her path to success was not easy and is always evolving. Go here to read about her journey in “Becoming the CVIDiva.” If you want to send Susan Alynne a quick message, then visit her contact page here.