Are You Smoking Your Money Away?

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Jonathan graduated with a degree in Business Administration from Ouachita Baptist University. He also holds a Masters in Business Administration from the University of Texas at Arlington. While he works for a contractor buying specialized tools, his passion is personal finance, frugal living, blogging, and stewardship.

I first started thinking of this topic on a recent trip I took for business. On the door of the bathrooms in the airplane there was an ash tray. I found this quite ironic considering the flight was non-smoking and it was illegal to smoke in the airplane bathrooms. The penalty for tampering with the smoke detector serious fines.

Then recently someone mentioned that they had saved a lot of money because they quit smoking. This peaked my curiosity. I did a simple search on Google to look up the cost for a pack of cigarettes and came across this article from 2014 which said that a pack of cigarettes in Texas cost $6.69.

I thought for sure this had to be on the high end. I personally theorized a pack of cigarettes in Texas would be close to $5.50 or less. So to test my theory I called 3 local gas stations and asked them what a pack of cigarettes cost. I found the costs were $6.00, $7.35, and $5.75 for the same pack of Marlboro cigarettes. The average cost of Marlboro cigarettes at those three gas stations was $6.37 per pack.

Simple Math To Figure Out the Cost of Cigarettes

So let’s do some simple math here as to the cost of cigarettes. What would smoking cigarettes for 30 years cost you?

Scenario 1: Assuming a person smokes one pack a week for 52 weeks a year and smoke for 30 years the total cost is $9,937.20. That means you spent $331.25 a year spent on cigarettes.

($6.37 x 1 pack x 52 weeks x 30 years = $9,937.20)

Scenario 2: I thought to myself what if I increased consumption to 3 packs a week? Three packs a week adds up to $29,811.60 in 30 years. That means you spent $993.72 a year spent on cigarettes.

($6.37 x 3 packs x 52 weeks x 30 years = $29,811.60)

Scenario 3: Increase the consumption to 7 packs a week or one pack a day? The total cost adds up to $69,560.40 in 30 years.  That means you spent $2,318.68 a year spent on cigarettes.

($6.37 x 7 packs x 52 weeks x 30 years = $69,560.40)

Question: What if instead of buying and consuming cigarettes you’d invest that money?

Interestingly enough this investment calculator was the first to pop up on my Google search.

If you were to take Scenario 1 and instead of spending $27.60 a month on cigarettes invest the money at 7% annual rate of return for 30 years you would have $33,475.34.

If you were to take Scenario 2 and instead of spending $82.81 a month on cigarettes invest the money at 7% annual rate of return for 30 years you would have $100,438.29.

If you were to take Scenario 3 and instead of spending $193.22 a month on cigarettes invest the money at 7% annual rate of return for 30 years you would have $234,351.85.

Keep in mind this does not account for inflation. It also doesn’t take into account the financial consequences of lung cancer, tongue cancer, throat cancer, skin cancer, or other terrible diseases that can impact a person who smokes. Smoking can also significantly impact those who live around the smoker with 2nd hand smoking. Health challenges in children particularly can be compounded by 2nd hand smoking. For parents in particular this should be reason enough to quit.

The U.S. surgeon General’s report in 2006 concluded that there is no safe level of second hand smoking and that on average children are exposed to more second hand smoking than adults.

Have you ever smoked? Do you still smoke regularly? What could you do with say $350, $1000, or $2,300 extra a year you spend a year on cigarettes? If you did quit, what made you quit?

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About Jonathan Key 112 Articles
Jonathan graduated with a degree in Business Administration from Ouachita Baptist University. He also holds a Masters in Business Administration from the University of Texas at Arlington. While he works for a contractor buying specialized tools, his passion is personal finance, frugal living, blogging, and stewardship.

69 Comments

    • Robin smoking can really be a drain on a person or family’s finances. It can also be frustrating to see someone you love not only waste their money but damage their health. I hope he’s able to make some positive changes in his life. Thanks for stopping by!

  1. I did smoke for many years, from the time I was about 14 until about 25. Now, they are just so yucky, I can’t believe I ever poisoned my body with them. And yes, they are ridiculously expensive now!! I was in WA state, and they were like $7 a pack. I don’t know how anyone affords them.
    Miranda recently posted…Fitness Fridays Link-Up #1My Profile

    • Mary it does seem incredible when you put pen to paper to figure out the cost of smoking. I’m not surprised by the additional taxes on tobacco products. Thanks for reading and commenting!

  2. I don’t smoke, but I have friends who do. And this makes a lot of sense, to be honest. When you compile all the money you’ve spent buying cigarettes you would have enough to buy groceries, and other things that you need. You can use it as allowance for your daily commute at work, etc.

    • Elizabeth it does add up quickly and ear into your budget on other things such as groceries, etc. I bet if people that quit smoking ate and spent money on better quality food they would see an improvement in their health. Thanks for commenting and reading!

  3. Interesting post! I guess you could say this with any habit that we have. Some people smoke, drink fru fru coffee, drink alcohol, etc. I guess whenever you can kick the habit, you can really save some cash. If you can at least stomach the expense and still hit your goals, I guess more power to you.

    It’s funny how when you start looking at your finances, it goes so deep and starts changing your other habits as well! Thanks for the informative post!
    Steve @ MyFamilyOnABudget recently posted…FPU Week 1: Super SavingMy Profile

    • Steve you make an excellent point. This can be applied to a wide variety of habits in life where we over indulge. Balance is key. I agree that when you start looking at your finances other good things happen too! Thanks for stopping by and reading!

    • Nicole it can certainly be a struggle. Particularly when spouses don’t see eye to eye on such a topic. Hopefully he can get some help and learn to reduce or eliminate this habit. Thanks for stopping by and reading!

    • Wow MyKidsGuide! That is a ton of money. That’s more than the cost of some people’s homes. They are literally smoking through what could be their savings and retirement. Not to mention the health consequences of smoking 2 packs of cigarettes a day. Thanks for reading!

  4. I have never smoked BUT after writing everything down that I spent money on even if it was a few cents, I realized I had a gum problem. I soon realized I spent close to $30/month just in gum! Yikes! Well, I have since kicked that habit and now put that money to better use.

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