Treating cold symptoms can dent a budget, but a sore throat shouldn't.

Saving money is first and foremost in the mind of many Americans today. Though the economy appears to be recovering, we're not anywhere near to being out of the woods financially. So in my family of six where over half of us is children, a good price, (or a non-price!) is always beneficial to the budget.

Well, there are all kinds of ways to save money! This money saving tip starts at the one place that sabotages an income repeatedly: sickness. That said, I hate colds! The only thing worse than a cold to me is when my children have one, and there's nothing I can do about it.

Let's face it: cold medicine for children is ridiculous! The really good ones that work the best have the steeper prices too. The cost of Mucinex alone makes me leave the aisle! Watching the little ones suffer can make you feel terribly helpless, though, and eventually you're forced to purchase something. Well, take comfort in knowing that there is a way to ease some of their pain without breaking the bank.

As a believer in home remedies, I'm always scouring the web for solutions I can take on myself, sans doctors! This remedy, however, comes from my mom... and experience. Usually, with a cold comes a stuffy nose. This, in turn, causes lots of labored breathing through the mouth, resulting in the inevitable sore throat. Though there are many things which can cause this sore throat, the end result is still the same: a whining child who is afraid to eat, or even swallow.

Help for this symptom comes in the form of warm saltwater. Though I never actually measure the salt, I like to put about one tablespoon of salt to half a cup of warm water. For my children I keep the water tepid, but for myself, a little warmer. You don't want it too hot, though, or this will burn your throat, making the problem worse.

If you put the salt in the cup first, then adding the water eliminates a spoon, mixing and dissolving the salt into the water all at once. Now gargle until the cup is empty. I usually tell my children to gargle as far back in their throats as they can without swallowing.

And that's it! You can do this three to six times a day. Normally, my children do this about three times in a day: once when they wake up in the morning, sometime after noon, and again before they go to bed, if the throat is still sore.

So does this really work? As one who depends on reviews before trying most things, I can say there are many people who swear by this home remedy. I'm one of them! This salt solution tones the pain down considerably, allowing you to eat, swallow, or move throughout the day with little to no pain. I rarely have to resort to this remedy more than twice in a day, myself.

For those who need the science behind this particular home remedy, it's quite simple. According to The New York Times online, "A saline solution can draw excess fluid from inflamed tissues in the throat, making them hurt less," said Dr. Philip T. Hagen, editor in chief of the "Mayo Clinic Book of Home Remedies."  Dr. Hagen also points out that gargling also loosens thick mucus, which can remove irritants like allergens, bacteria and fungi from the throat.

I'm not telling you don't go to the doctor ever, but there are some remedies that can be put to good use when saving money is your goal. Because doctor's offices charge you just for walking in the door, a simple home remedy may just take care of your symptoms while saving you some much needed money. Try this cheap and simple method in the future, and make you, your little one, and your wallet happy!