It’s No Smoking Day this Wednesday and charities are busy organising events around the UK to encourage more people to quit the evil weed. It’s got me thinking this week about how much we could all save by ditching bad habits, smoking or otherwise.
When I was a kid in the 1980s, one tight-fisted neighbour gave up cigarettes simply because the prices had gone up. “I’m not paying that,” he told my mother and he was so strong-willed that he packed it in then and there. My parents were astonished. In contrast, my Dad smoked 60 a day – beginning the day with a cigarette before breakfast – and found it a huge struggle to give them up. Being a hypochondriac like myself, what really helped him was reading a book by a German doctor which explained in gruesome terms that if he didn’t give up, eventually he might get gangrene and lose a limb. The book so repulsed him that he was frightened into quitting smoking.
Thanks to all the health campaigns, we’re well aware of the dangers to our health from smoking now. It’s the single biggest cause of illness and premature death in the UK. And dropping the habit won’t just benefit your health but also your pocket, too. With 20 cigarettes costing around £6 a packet nowadays, someone smoking 20 cigarettes a day could save up to £2,190 a year by giving up, while a 60-a-day smoker could save a whopping £6,570 over 12 months. So, the difference between puffing and not puffing could make a huge impact on your day to day expenses, as well as your lungs.
But smoking isn’t everybody’s vice. Many of us (me included) overeat, drink or fritter away money on other items that we don’t really need to relieve stress or simply because we’ve got into the habit of doing so. If you don’t smoke but regularly eat takeaway foods, for example, giving up a weekly Indian takeout for two could save you around £20 a week or £1,040 a year. Sacrificing that daily 60p chocolate bar or packet of crisps could mean £218 a year more in your pocket, or that weekly magazine, £130 or more. Alternatively, drinking a couple of pints less a week could save you £270 a year and help trim that burgeoning beer belly.
But is the financial saving enough to make you kick these habits? We all know how addictive smoking is, but other vices can be just as hard to beat. I think it helps to put the money saved from giving them up away towards something concrete, so that you can reward yourself when you’ve achieved your goal. Having that special something to aim towards makes giving up your bad habit easier to bear, too. I don’t smoke but I’ve decided to give up the odd sneaky takeaway and bun that’s crept back into my spending lately and put my money towards something more useful instead.
Is the financial saving enough to make you give up a bad habit, such as smoking or overeating, or do you need something else to motivate you? Leave a message and let me know.
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