smart spending

Quit smoking, save money

Quit smoking
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Quit smoking

Cigarette prices vary by state, running from $10.06 (New York), to $4.50 (Missouri), according to a 2010 survey by Orzechowski and Walker, an Arlington, Va., consulting firm.

The average pack costs $5.95, according to the survey. Your savings on a pack-a-day habit amount to about $180 each month or more than $2,100 annually.

Quit smoking, and that money could buy an eight-day luxury Caribbean cruise or a 60-inch LED flat-screen TV.

The savings don't end there. Nonsmokers pay 14 percent less for health insurance, according to eHealthInsurance.com estimates. The only financial downside is you'll likely have to be smoke-free for 12 months before your premiums decrease, says Carrie McLean, consumer specialist for the company.

Women can save $45 a month or $540 annually, according to eHealthInsurance.com estimates. Men can save $21 a month or $252 annually.

For women, that could buy five half-day packages at a spa; a pair of Manolo Blahnik suede heel pumps (with enough left over for a first-class pair of running shoes), or an iPhone 4 with three months of unlimited service.

For men, that money could buy a pair of box seats at a Major League Baseball game or a Wii console plus three games.


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