Cigarette prices in the United States are taking a bigger chunk out of wallets than ever before, and will only go up in the years to come.
According to information posted at theawl.com, a 2014 survey of pack prices shows that nearly half of states in the U.S. fall between $5 and $7 per pack, with the rest selling for $7 to $13 per pack. The survey was casual ( a call to convenience stores/gas stations in each state), but gives a reasonable estimate of current cigarette prices in the U.S. this year.
Using an average of a pack a day at a cost of $7 each, let's take a look at some examples of what that money could buy if you stop smoking. It adds up quickly, as you'll see below.
1. One Week: Movie Night For The Family
With just one week's worth of cigarette money, you can take the whole family to the movies complete with popcorn and drinks. What a nice feeling to do something that includes everyone with money that would have gone up in smoke. It's also a great activity when you're newly quit, since there is no smoking at the movies.
A week's worth of cigarette money will also cover the monthly cost of a membership to most gyms.
Two week's worth of cigarette money can buy you a good quality pedometer that will track your steps, calories burned, and more. Not only will walking improve your health, it offers immediate feedback on non-smoking improvements and is a great craving-buster, as well.
A little careful planning could score you dinner and an overnight at a nice hotel with your significant other for $200, the cost of a one month supply of cigarettes.
Two hundred dollars is also the better part of a monthly car payment. Imagine having something as big as a car representing the money you haven't spent on smoking.
If you choose to save your non-smoking money to use at the three month mark, you could swap that overnight at a nice hotel for a weekend away with room service and maybe even a spa treatment.
Or, maybe you'd rather buy a new grill or patio set for the deck to enjoy them for years to come. There's a lot that you could do with $600 worth of fun money.
Television technology is growing by leaps and bounds. From LED back-lit screens that offer better color and contrast than ever before to 3D and curved screens, the choices are plentiful. Six months of cigarette money will buy you a nice TV upgrade without impacting your home budget at all.
Save your cigarette money for a full year and go on that cruise you've been dreaming of. $2400 could cover it, and what a nice reward and celebration to commemorate your first smoke-free year.
When I quit smoking, I saved nearly all of my cigarette money for two years. It bought me numerous tangible rewards that became daily reinforcements of the waste that smoking was, both in terms of my health and money in my pocket. They also gave me a sense of accomplishment and live on as lasting reminders of the work I did to quit smoking all of those years ago. Save your cigarette money and use it in ways that are meaningful to you. It will reinforce your will to carry on and give you something to dream about as you go through the early days of smoking cessation.