Trade your butt bucks for life insurance
We need not go on about the health issues related to smoking cigarettes. And if you really want to feel guilty, or really want to quit, visit the Great American Smokeout website for more information.
But shall we pontificate about how puffing poaches your pocketbook (or man purse)? Yes, yes we shall. Researchers recently found that the lowest wage earners in New York spend nearly a quarter of their entire income on cigarettes -- twice as much as the national average for low-income smokers.
"Smokers in New York earning less than $30,000 a year spent an average of 23.6 percent of their earnings on cigarettes, compared with about 14.2 percent nationally," reports Reuters.
But you don't need to be a low-wage earner paying super-high prices for a pack of smokes to realize that the habit is expensive. (Here is a state-by-state ranking of average cigarette prices, if you really need to be convinced.) A smoker in New York of any means stands to save approximately $3,300 a year by opting out of purchasing a pack a day, based on pricing information from the Campaign for Tobacco-Free Kids.
In honor of the annual Great American Smokeout on Nov. 15, I offer you even more incentive to quit. Rather than just thinking of how much you can save by quitting, think of what you could buy with that money. I won't judge you if life insurance is not the first thing that comes to mind. But do consider it. We calculated that, in some cases, you could buy a $2 million 10-year term life insurance policy with the money saved in just one year by kicking the habit. For more information, see our story: "How much life insurance your cigarette money could buy."
Are you a former smoker? How'd you quit? What did you spend your savings on? Share your success story!
Des Toups is a writer, editor and expert on insurance, cars and personal finance. He has written extensively about all three for national publications such as MSN and major newspapers such as the Seattle Times. He has been quoted about insurance issues in The New York Times, USA Today and Kiplinger's.
Follow him on Twitter @destoups