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The Financial Benefits of Quitting Smoking



For those of you that smoke, I would imagine that you are well aware of all of the health risks involved. Your chances for contracting lung cancer go way up, your chances for heart disease go up, your skin ages at a faster rate, and on and on. Yet, there are still many of us out there that still choose to smoke cigarettes.?If the health risks involved with smoking are not enough to make you quit, maybe the financial costs involved might be. Actually, I am not even here to try to get you to quit smoking. More importantly, I am just here to try to show you how much money you could save yourself if you did.

Let?s start with some raw numbers. Where I live, one pack of cigarettes costs right around $4 (and this is probably on the low end for our country).?I know that this figure fluctuates depending on where you are in the country, but let?s use this number as a guide especially because it’s more conservative. Let?s also say for purposes of the example that you smoke one pack of cigarettes per day.

The Raw Numbers

At those numbers, you are currently spending roughly:

  • $30 per week on cigarettes.
  • $120 per month.
  • $1,440 per year.

A Monthly Expense?

Let?s dig into these numbers a little bit more before we move on. A non-smoker may think those numbers are shocking.?A smoker may not. A smoker may say that number really isn?t that bad and he may also point to a lot of things that he/she doesn?t spend money on that non-smokers do to justify his point. It?s what I did. I considered it to be part of my discretionary spending. And I justified it by pointing out all of the things that I didn?t spend money on.

However, let?s add in all the residual hard costs of smoking as well. Because anybody that smokes knows that you need much more than cigarettes. You also need:

  • Lighters
  • Breath mints
  • Additional trips out for cigarettes (gas and wear and tear on your car)

And these are just a few of the additional hard costs.

The Hidden Costs of Smoking

Now, let?s get into all of the immeasurable costs of smoking. These are all the things that you can?t put exact dollar amounts on in your life, but they certainly take their toll.

If you smoke, you should know that you:

  • Pay more in medical bills.?You certainly get sick more often than non-smokers do.
  • Pay more in dental bills because of additional cleanings.
  • Pay more in health insurance premiums. And not just a little more?a lot more.
  • May be hurting your job prospects. Many companies have stopped hiring smokers entirely, and some have even let employees go who refused to quit.
  • Will lose re-sale value on your home if you smoke inside.
  • Will lose re-sale value on your car if you smoke inside of it.

Could You Really Buy A New Car By Quitting?

When I smoked, the only thing I hated more than hearing it from my friends about quitting was hearing it from my doctor about quitting. He always gave me the example of how you could buy a new car by quitting. I am surprised I don?t remember the exact math that he used because I heard about it every time I went to the doctor. Regardless, when he gave me the example, he never even factored in all of the ?hidden? costs of smoking that I just talked about.

I won?t outline the ?new car? example because some of you other smokers out there might be sick of that one too.

But how about this…let?s again use the raw numbers from above. One pack a day at $4 per pack. If someone were to quit smoking at age 40 and?invested?that “saved” money into a 401K, by the time he reached age 70?he could have as much as $125,000 or more. This is based on a 401K that earns roughly 9% per year. The actual savings or return in this example could vary quite a bit depending?on how and when he invested the money, but I think its safe to say that its a pretty sizeable number no matter how you look at it.

Three New Cars

That would be enough for three new and quality cars. And again, this is not even taking into account the hidden costs. Factor those in, and your savings might result in enough for a new house. Or a few new houses. Who knows how much the savings would be?

Do It For The Money

I will close with this. I am not here to try to get you to quit. But I can tell you that I did. I can also tell you that my main motivation was not my health. If you?ve smoked for any period of time and still haven?t quit, I think it?s a cold hard fact that your health is not too high on your list of priorities. But maybe money is. Take a good hard look at all of the real, and hidden, costs of smoking and you may just think twice before lighting up again.

Any thoughts from smokers? Non-smokers? Feel free to share your comments below.

(photo credit:?boroda)

David Bakke
David started his own personal finance blog, YourFinances101, in June of 2009 and published his first book on ways to save more and spend less called "Don't Be A Mule..." Since then he has been a regular contributor for Money Crashers. He lives just outside Atlanta, GA and most all of his free time is taken up by his amazing three year old son, Nicholas.

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