Ditch Bad Habits and Save a Packet

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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5 Responses to Ditch Bad Habits and Save a Packet

  1. Son of Hood says:

    The best reason that I can offer any sentient being for quitting smoking apart from the obvious health benefit is to deprive the Chancellor of the tax on tobacco.The hypocritical leadership of our society is complicit in every death that happens as a result of smoking. They make more net profit on tobacco than drug Barons do on the hardest of drugs.In fact you could say that they are the biggest racketeers in Britain.The fact that children are being brought up in homes that are filled with smoke is horrifying to me. I was brought up that way in the sixties with parents who each smoked forty a day. I was addicted without even knowing it and began smoking at the age of seven.I gave up as soon as my first wife became pregnant because I couldn\’t corrupt a new life with such a revolting smell.I look around me today and I still see teenage girls smoking. It is a stark condemnation of our Government and it reveals a dirty truth about them too.Greed is the driving force behind our society and they are in it up to their necks.Son of Hood.

  2. Flo says:

    Oh come on Piper – there\’s frugal and there\’s hair shirt. We are regularly told that beer and fags are bad for our health. Giving them up help both our health and our pocket benefit. Where does the home brew fit into the scheme of improve your health and save you money she asks laughing. It may cost less but it’s still alcohol which is bad for you. If the takeaway saves you cooking a meal and all the associated heat, water, washing up then perhaps it\’s possibly cash neutral – so long as it isn\’t one unhealthy takeaway. The library has many advantages but does it provide all the up to date information that you can get from magazines if you have a specific hobby? Certainly it does not replace the information I get from allotment holding magazines. Not everyone has a computer and internet so hobby and interest magazines have a place. I’m not sure that others actually are exactly useful if they are celebrity or tattle based.Chocolate and crisps are only a crime if you are diabetic or they stop you eating a healthy meal. Hardly something to give up unless you are below the poverty line. In the grand scheme of frugal, you do need to remember that there is no point in being so miserly that you loose the will to live. Remember Scrooge.

  3. Bill says:

    I just wish that I were not such a tightwad, it normaly costs me a damned sight more in the long term. It is possibly genetic, both my mother, & her mother before her believed in the sharpest frugality. I also find that as I slowly aproach middle age, I am no longer quite so good at DIY as in the good ole 50\’s & 60\’s. On top of which, they no longer make things the same way. It is oft impossible ter fix/mend or repair the modern garbage. I now have ter bin a £20 1200w halogen heater, as the mains switch is playing foul, & cannot be opened. It would need a hammer & chisel, & would then be impossible ter rebuild. I have only had it fers 5 years at most. It finaly gave up the ghost on Sunday afternoon, after I vacuumed it Sunday morning. Such a waste of 5 minutes. The mains switch has only worked with the aid of a match-stick & brown adhesive tape for the past few years. There is no justice in this world.Bertha had a new (2nd hand) steering box yesterday, ready fers the MoT, only £110, 2 hrs labour doubled this, + £40 vat, = £260. Last week it was new rear brake shoes, complete with a new rear brake slave & hub oil seal, fers the same £260. Back then, I brought a new unused 2.8 litre Rolls, the original Chelsea Tractor, gov surplus, fers only £50, complete with new MoT. Tax was only £15/annum, insurance also, even fers a teeny, on me fust wagon.May be Flo has it correct, at this rate, mebbe I am slowly running past me consume by date. Mebbe the vultures from the civil service are waiting ter butcher me tatty remains fers useful spare parts, a great source of income fers state coffers.Or mebbe they will simply toss me remains in ter the boiler at the old solid fuel power station, & turn me into cut price \’leccy.We fellers, we always suffer!

  4. piper says:

    Wow – well done MB for having the will power to give up smoking when your wife became pregnant. I agree – starve the Chancellor\’s coffers!

  5. Bill says:

    piper, darling, you always write some damned good stuff, extremely well researched.Sadly, those addicts who have been well & truly hooked fers so many years, possibly so many generations, have the toxin in their genes, possibly in every body & skin cell. They do not have it possible ter quit until they stare death in the face, by which time it is oft too late. Some just cannot believe that it is almost never too late, others simply point to their basic Human/Civil Rights, the Right to trash their own lungs, liver & kidneys, possibly also their own brains. It is ultimately their own life, also their own cash.Many are even arrogant enough ter believe that they have a perfect Right ter trash our 3rd party lungs, & lives in general, or that they have superior Rights to us, whether they pay fers these superior Rights, or not. So many choose to smoke &/or booze, in preference to spending their Benefit on heat, light, water, or genuine solid food etc.It is easy enough ter locate these latter types, we simply have ter follow our snouts, as without heat, light, or water, they find it impossible ter wash. After the fust 2 months, they can be smellt at least 10 miles off, & it surprises me that they are still yet allowed on public transport, or into public buildings, & even the lift has ter be fumigated before anyone else can use it.They are oft fairly paranoid, in the fullness of time even schizophren. They do not take kindly to any form of prohibition, or restriction, on their extremely anti-social habit(s).I have oft found that if I have a shower before travelling ter the office, I need another shower, complete with a clean fresh change of clothes, when I arrive, after sharing the highways & byways with such anti-social creatures. They are quite happy to deny us any, & every basic Human &/or Civil Right, by means of their disgusting behaviour.No measure of price hiking will sort the problem, just like other junkies, they will commit any violence necessary, ter finance it. Health campaigns are also useless, simply a complete waste of time, space & taxpayer\’s cash. It is extrinsic education, & these creatures need intrinsic education. They need at least 2 years in a Military Boot Camp, toally devoid of any toxic substance, possible on a remote beach or island, with no artificial heat or light, only daylight, no hot water, & only a tarpaulin roof, with a simple hammock. They also need a completely vegie diet, with no sugar, salt or dairy product, & no means of cooking.I am now counting the days, before I move into me new home, fully detached, equaly portable, single storey, 300 degree panoramic views, & me own front door. I will not be sharing any landing, stairs, lift or foyer with with any homo sapien. I will basically be living off of the land, & will spend extreme little time in civilisation. I will continue me charity work, in any convenient church or community hall, or even better, under canvass. I will possibly never travel the M6, or the M25, ever again. I will also be council tax, & TV license immune. I will be completely devoid of letter box, post code, junk mail, etc. If the civil service wish to communicate, they will simply need ter learn the use of email.

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