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It's something I've been planning to do for the past few months and I finally decided to be a quitter.
I'm tired of being dependent on cigarettes and I'm tired of throwing away money on cigarettes. I've smoked them since I was about 18 years old. I only started smoking because at the time I was heading off to college and it was the "cool" thing to do. It was supposed to be a temporary thing but unfortunately, 13 years later, I'm still smoking.

If you've never smoked, you can't begin to imagine what kind of an addiction it is. I was reading the American Cancer Society website and learned that nicotine is as addictive as heroin or cocaine. As someone who is trying to quit, I believe it. I had my last cigarette around 7am yesterday morning and then put on a nicotine patch. By 10am, I had a major headache and I was a little nauseated. Usually, by that time, I would have been having my third cigarette of the day.

I know all about the health risks and that was the main reason I wanted to quit. That was a major incentive but to give me even more incentive to quit, I had to add a money related component. Not only will I be improving my health; I would also be saving money.

I've started a separate
No Smoking Plan savings account at ING Direct.

Here's how it will work:
  • I usually smoke about 10-15 cigarettes a day. There are 20 cigarettes in a pack.
  • A pack of cigarettes costs roughly $3.40/pack. To make it easier, I am rounding up to $3.50.
  • 12 cigarettes/day * 7 days/week = 84 cigarettes/20 cigarettes a pack = 4.2 packs a week.
  • 4.2 packs/week * $3.50/pack = $14.70 week
  • 50 weeks remaining this year * $14.70 a week = $735 potential savings at end of 2009.
Each week that I am smoke-free, I will transfer $14.70 per week to my No Smoking Plan savings account. At the end of the year, whatever the amount is in my No Smoking Plan savings account, I will use it to buy myself something. It can be either be an electronic gadget or just an all out splurge. This money will not be used to pay bills or added to my regular savings. This money will strictly be used to reward me for quitting this disgusting habit.

Have you recently quit smoking? How did you do it?

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  1. Anonymous // January 15, 2009 at 7:38 AM  

    I have never smoked (unless you count the time that my mother MADE me smoke when I was little so I could see what it was like) so I cannot imagine how hard it is for you.

    I am glad that you are making the effort to quit...think of the money you can save!!!!

    You set up a really nice way to help yourself quit since you are building a reward to look forward to, instead of just depriving yourself.

    Apart from the patch what else are you using to help yourself? A friend of mine who was quitting took up chewing gum (not the nicotine kind....just regular) and it really worked for him.

    Another friend chews toothpicks to keep her mouth occupied.

    Looking forward to see how much money you save. Take it day by day...because it WILL be hard.

  2. Mike Kowalski // January 15, 2009 at 8:19 AM  

    Best of luck with this goal. I am another nonsmoker and it has always amazed me how much smokers spend on cigarettes. I hope you are able to get yourself something awesome at teh end of the year.

  3. Brooke S. Rochon // January 15, 2009 at 9:14 AM  

    I have never smoked more than "A" cigarette, so I have no right to tell you to quit from that perspective, but having a grandfather who died at an early age and a father who's smoked since he was 14 and is now 59 and probably unhealthy and a husband who's smoke for about 12 years and feels the urge to get up and have a smoke at 3am simply because he can I have only one thing to say. Just try to quit for the people in your life whom you'd leave behind, we're worth quitting for. :)

  4. Anonymous // January 15, 2009 at 9:51 AM  

    I used to smoke in high school, but only about a pack a week. I think that is why it was so easy for me to quit. That and the fact that I had to in order to play baseball! Good luck on quitting and make sure you make the item a good one!

    I am fighting an addiction to caffeine right now. It is almost like nicotine if you ask me. I get headaches when I try to stop and I miss it when I don't have it.

  5. Miss M in Progress // January 15, 2009 at 10:12 AM  

    As a 2 year quitter after smoking for over 20, I applaud your decision. It's hard and I still miss it but boy am I glad I quit. The patch was helpful in handling the nicotine cravings but you may need to work harder on breaking the habits associated with smoking and of course triggers (mine is/was my mother). You may slip and it's ok, just get back up and start again. Know that it will be hard but you can do it. Keep your motivation strong. Mine was/is the smell it left on me. I love the smell on others but if I feel the urge to strongly (even now but much less than before), I pick up a lit cigarette, put it down and smell my fingers and that's all the reason I need to not go back. You can do it! Oh, I treated myself the 1st week with money I would have spend and then 30 days, 60 days, 90 days and 1 year.

  6. sara l // January 15, 2009 at 10:32 AM  

    I'm another nonsmoker, but I wanted to wish you the best of luck as you work on quitting. A few of my friends have had success with the patch and nicotine gum. Others just go bananas on regular gum.

  7. Sallie's Niece // January 15, 2009 at 10:32 AM  

    I quit smoking in July! You can do it. It was hard but I went cold turkey. A pack of smokes in NY costs over $7! I smoked for almost eight years, yikes. It gets a lot easier after the second week. Stay strong.

  8. Anonymous // January 15, 2009 at 11:55 AM  

    smokes in canada are upwards of $10 a pack.

    good luck!

  9. Nathan Henderson // January 15, 2009 at 12:26 PM  

    I smoked for close to 8 years. I used Chantix. You start taking 2 pills a day for a week, and quit smoking after the first week. I've tried to quit cold turkey several times and this is the first time I made it more than a week. I quit before thanksgiving, and still going strong. Chantix is pretty expensive, but i'm in the military so they gave it to me for free

  10. Anonymous // January 15, 2009 at 1:12 PM  

    Good luck!

    I was never really a smoker for more than a week or two and it always made me really sick so regardless of how badly I would like one, I never have one because I know how I'll end up.

    I have friends who are smokers and when they gave it up, they learned to do something new with their hands. One learned to make pasta and another to crochet. I'm not sure what others did, but keeping busy was key to them!

  11. Anonymous // January 15, 2009 at 1:30 PM  

    Congratulations. I've never smoked either but I'm glad your giving it up to be healthier and wealthier. Just think of all the things you could buy with that $700. I'm a little jealous.

  12. Susan // January 15, 2009 at 2:30 PM  

    Congrats! You're off to a great start! I'm a 25+ year smoker, my husband too. My mom smoked for 20 years and quit cold turkey, using popsicles to satisfy her oral urges. Hubby and I are quitting in March, cold turkey, using hypnotism and accupuncture. I will never smoke again after March! I'm sick of the smell, the embarassment (stinky clothes, stinky house, recently our sons friend was even banned from playing at our house because of the smoke, ugh). It's a nasty, nasty habit and I can't wait to be rid of it! We spend $300+ a month on the damn things. $3,900 a year!!!

  13. Corrie at "Cents"able Momma // January 15, 2009 at 4:41 PM  

    I've never smoked...but I wish you luck in quitting! I think the savings account is a great idea.

  14. SingleGuyMoney // January 15, 2009 at 7:15 PM  

    @lulugal: I am using a combination of the patch, gum and a supportive network of friends.

    @everyone: Thanks so much for the good luck wishes!

  15. Anonymous // January 16, 2009 at 7:45 AM  

    Congratulations! You have just done more for your health (and bank account) than with any other action!

    I just stopped smoking myself on 12.24.2008. I had started rolling my own with the brand that doesn't have all the additives over 2 years ago (to save money). I felt the withdrawal from the additives then. I began by using the 21mg patch but not 24/7. After 2 weeks of using the patch less hours each day, I just stopped using the patch all together. With now no withdrawal at all. Strange, don't even want one.

    BEST OF LUCK, YOU CAN DO THIS, in fact, you ALREADY ARE! Just five minutes, that's what a friend says a craving lasts, if you can get through 5 minutes and then the next 5 minutes, you're good!


  16. Stephen // January 16, 2009 at 7:48 AM  

    I'm really surprised to hear you're a smoker - as a person interested in saving money I thought this would be the first thing you dropped.

    I've never been sure what the point of nicotine replacement patches is - you may as well smoke a strictly rationed number of cigarettes instead, it's like stopping injecting heroin by using a different form of it. You're still getting your hit but in a different, more expensive form and you've not really given anything up.

    Getting away from any nicotine at all is a requirement for what someone I'd call a "non smoker" which is of course your long term goal but it's people replacing nicotine cigarettes with nicotine gum that always puzzled me.

  17. Anonymous // January 16, 2009 at 7:51 AM  

    Just a question: What behavioral techniques are you incorporating into your quit? To break the behavioral habit of it?

    And a personal note: I had to be extremely careful with the patch, that's a 24/7 stream of nicotine (depending on how many hours you wear it) which is a stimulant, so I took it off when I would be winding down for sleep anyway.


  18. Anonymous // January 16, 2009 at 10:00 AM  

    Congratulations...I'm sure this will be one of the best decisions you've ever made.

    I suggest that you stock up on Twizzlers, your favorite flavor. It keeps your mouth busy and it has the same shape-thingie going on, which seems to help a lot of people.

    We'll be rooting for you!

  19. Anonymous // January 16, 2009 at 11:17 AM  

    do your thing bro! i've never smoked a cig in my life, BUT i still find it pretty "cool" even though i shouldn't...

    i'd never try it (one vice is enough - alcohol), but i'm def. proud of you for giving it a good shot at quitting!!!

  20. Susan // January 16, 2009 at 12:27 PM  

    I quit smoking in October of 2007 after 7 years of being a pack a day smoker. It wasn't easy that's for sure and though I have never had a cigarette since that last one I still think about it from time to time. I think about it especially when I'm doing something that I used always smoke while doing, such as hanging out with friends having beers.

    How I quit though was I started off with the nicotine lozenges (I don't like gum) and used those for a few weeks. I realized that I wasn't lessening the amount of nicotine I was taking in because I had control and then switched over to the patch. I went through a lot of Altoids too for the oral cravings.

    What helped the most though was not being around other smokers for awhile. I had just moved out of a house where I had smokers as roommates to living on my own. There was no one to bum a cigarette from even if I wanted to give in. Also if say you always smoke while driving don't ride with your window down for awhile, etc. It isn't just a habit but a way you live your life. You need to change more than just the not smoking part.

  21. Jerry // January 16, 2009 at 4:32 PM  

    Yay!! Good for you! You'll save money all around - not buying them and maybe your insurance rates will drop! I hope it leads to health and prosperity. Much continued success!

  22. Anonymous // January 16, 2009 at 4:52 PM  

    Good luck to you - you can do it! My mom smoked for over 40 years and quit with the help of medicine. She got cocky, stopped the medicine a little early, gained some weight and started again! But she's back on the wagon now, trying again, and she'll make it, just like you will. My dad quit because he said he didn't want to be mastered by anything. Keep that in mind - you can master yourself.

  23. Anonymous // January 17, 2009 at 10:41 AM  

    That's good you're quitting smoking...real good. It doesn't make much sense to spend money to destroy your health , unless there are benefits from smoking that I don't recognize!

  24. Anonymous // January 17, 2009 at 12:52 PM  

    Smoking yellows your teeth, burns holes in your clothes and makes you smell bad. Worst of all, it's expensive. Congrats on your decision to quit.

  25. Anonymous // January 17, 2009 at 5:48 PM  

    I actually DID quit one time for 4 years. :( I have no idea why I started back other than I just wanted to. I am ready to quit too though and have one pack left. When it is gone, I will be done. I have been wanting to do this for a while now, so your inspiration helps me. :) thanks.

  26. Anonymous // January 17, 2009 at 7:40 PM  

    Good for you! I had a friend who was a heroin addict and a smoker... she said cigarettes were harder to quit than the heroin was easier to quit. That's what she said anyways. She did quit both though.

    I think the savings account is an awesome idea. Seems like a good way to see the progress you've made.

    Good Luck!!

  27. Anonymous // January 17, 2009 at 7:59 PM  

    I'm a day behind you on the quit smoking and save money plan.

  28. na // January 18, 2009 at 10:55 AM  

    I tried the prescription pill...Zyban...and actually quit for around 9 months or so and then I started again. About a year later, I just decided that it was not good for my health and that even though I didn't smoke in front of my children...I didn't want them to begin smoking either. So I purposed in my heart to quit...smoked all of the remaining cigarettes in my house...and just quit buying more. That was three years ago and I have never smoked since...and I smoked for 15 years...almost half of my life!

    I will pray for you during your journey because I know first-hand how difficult it is to do.

  29. Anonymous // January 19, 2009 at 7:30 PM  

    I quit smoking at the end of 2000, made it 7 years (with really NO thought of doing it again), and then smoked again this past year (I'll spare you the details of life events...), quit again on Dec 8th. And this is it. I swear.

    And I know better - I am otherwise Ms Frugal, and I work for hospice besides! But that didn't mean much with the addictive aspect of it.

    When I quit in 2000, I read an American Cancer Society book about quitting, and the part that resonated with me is that smoking is a way to deal with negative feelings - frustration, anger, hurt - just go out and have a cigarette and it seems to take care of it. I couldn't believe the feelings I felt compelled to "express" once I quit. I didn't have a cigarette in my mouth shutting me up. I dealt, and I learned.

    And Stephen, the patch is a very different thing from smoking. It takes away that immediate gratification aspect, which is primo with smoking. But it does keep the other people in you life willing to be around you! It takes away a lot of the snarkiness...

  30. Anonymous // January 19, 2009 at 9:35 PM  

    Great idea saving money by quitting - I am working on quitting myself and have cut back - now less than a half a pack a day unless I am around other smokers.

    Thanks for the encouragement.Best of Luck.

  31. Anonymous // January 20, 2009 at 5:02 PM  

    Congrats on making the tough choice and good luck!

  32. Anonymous // January 21, 2009 at 12:19 AM  

    Good luck to you! I just quit after 12 years. I have been cig free for 21 days and patch free for 10 days. You can do it! It's true what they say, you can only quit if you really want to. :)

  33. Anonymous // January 21, 2009 at 9:54 PM  

    This is hard, really hard. Don't give up if the first effort flops. My son went through three tries before he kicked the killer weed. The last time he tried Chantix, which made him sicker than going cold turkey. So he kicked them both, and so far he hasn't relapsed.

    It's soooo worth it. If my mother hadn't smoked, she would have lived to see my son, who was born one year (almost to the day) after she died quite horribly from tobacco-inflicted cancer. So...consider: you may live to see your grandchildren.

    In the $horter term: with the untold wealth saved from the pockets of the nicotine pushers, my son

    a) occasionally takes his mother out to dinners that she couldn't possibly even dream of affording :-)

    b) pays a nice mortgage tab that gets him into a very nice little house

    c) may not have to recruit a new roommate when the present one finishes graduate school and wanders away

    d) is about to send himself to graduate school.

    These are not small things.

  34. Anonymous // February 1, 2009 at 2:26 PM  

    In response to Stephen, who can't figure out why we use nicotine replacements, it's because the early withdrawl is terrible. You're light headed, you can't concentrate, and "Irritablity" is the understatement of the year.

    Wish ya all the best Singleguymoney. Right here with you!

  35. Anonymous // February 1, 2009 at 2:32 PM  

    I quited smoking myself and going in week # 2 without a smoke. It is not easy, but I'm doing it for my health and to save money.
    Good for you!

  36. Anonymous // February 1, 2009 at 3:24 PM  

    I have been smoke free since about 1245am the morning after Thanksgiving of 2008. I decided to quit when one of my financial goals for 2009 was to write down every penny I spent for one month. EVERY penny. The idea of writing down a pack of smokes every day or two every other day was just a big push to quit. I quit cold turkey and no patches. I'm using the "extra" money for clothes shopping and house remodeling. I have quit cold turkey and this has been the best quit yet from cigarettes. Don't beat yourself up if you don't succeed this time. I have only quit smoking about a dozen times before, but my reaction this time is so different that I'm fairly certain I will succeed.

  37. Stephen // February 1, 2009 at 3:27 PM  

    "In response to Stephen, who can't figure out why we use nicotine replacements, it's because the early withdrawl is terrible. You're light headed, you can't concentrate, and "Irritablity" is the understatement of the year."

    Yeah, I can understand the concept of withdrawal symptoms but what I can't understand is why you don't realise it feels better because you've not actually given anything up.

    So - to repeat my point, if you're not going to give up entirely why not smoke a carefully controlled smaller amount of cheaper-than-patches cigarettes. It's not giving up if all you do is change your supply.

  38. Anonymous // February 1, 2009 at 10:00 PM  

    Tomorrow is my quit day and Im so nervous even thinking about it. I cut back and then today bought a pack and have smoked all but a little kid Im gonna eat all the candy before someone else does. How stupid can I be. This is such a nasty habit and Im going in Tuesday to be told what procedure is going to be done to my heart for a blockage for the third time.^&^%$$%^&^%& im so mad at will power. I enjoy smoking...not really just an excuse. Nasty and I smell.

  39. Anonymous // April 2, 2009 at 1:39 AM  

    *checking in on ya*
    How goes it with the not smoking? Haven't seen an update in awhile.

  40. SingleGuyMoney // April 6, 2009 at 6:24 AM  

    Rebecca - Thanks for checking in. I've had a few moments of weakness but I'm still no longer a regular smoker. I'll have an updated post soon.