Smokers: How to Save Money

Smokers catch a lot of flak. If they’re not being kicked out of public places they’re being denigrated for their choices and told how they are killing themselves and everyone around them. The government has stepped in as well, raising taxes on cigarettes until some are forced to choose between smoking and food in extreme cases – and this upward trend of taxing looks to continue.

I have no issues with smokers. Both of my parents smoked as do a great number of my relatives. When I was a child my father would pay me for chores with cigarettes on occasion so I will not play the hypocrite upon this page.

Instead I would like to demonstrate to smokers that you can have your fix and save money too by trying the tips listed below.


“Is that Prince Albert in a can?”

“Why, yes it is!”

“You’d better let him out before he suffocates!”

When I think of my grandfather I always remember Prince Albert in a can. He kept a tin in his pocket that held his tobacco and rolling papers. He would sit down on the porch, remove the tin from his pocket and select a paper from his packet. One hand held the paper and the open tin while the other selected a pinch of tobacco to arrange just so on the rolling paper. A twist, a lick and a light would have him puffing away! As a child I remember watching him; he moved so slow yet that cigarette seemed to materialize from nothing if you weren’t paying close attention.

Roll your own cigarettes to save money.

Roll your own cigarettes to save money.

Nowadays as the price of packaged cigarettes climbs higher and higher Grandfather’s method makes dollars and sense. You can purchase devices now that will allow you to roll both filtered and unfiltered cigarettes a lot easier (and cheaper) than you can purchase them ready-made.

According to my RYO (roll your own) friends, you can purchase the supplies to create a carton of filtered cigarettes (minus the machine to make them) for $8-$10. However you want to slice it, this is a significant savings over ready-made.

I took a walk to the local gas station to verify the price my friends told me. It costs $7 (after tax) for a bag of tobacco and $4 for a box of cigarette tubes (these are paper cigarette tubes with the filter already attached). A device that will create two filtered cigarettes at a time was $15.99 plus tax. This means that you can purchase everything you need to start rolling your own filtered cigarettes for less than what a carton of ready-made will cost you.

If you decide to forego the filter you won’t need to purchase either the tubes or the special maker. Instead you can spend a couple of dollars on some papers and either roll them by hand or use one of the little cigarette rollers that are designed to create non-filtered cigarettes. I have seen them on eBay for less than $5 apiece, depending upon model and shipping.


If you want to save even more money you may want to consider using a pipe to smoke your tobacco in. While pipes may seem old-fashioned you can find any number of non-traditional ones at flea markets and online retailers. Unfortunately, the non-traditional ones are generally associated with marajuana use but as long as you exclusively smoke tobacco (and none of the other stuff) in it you should be safe. Since some of these pipes are quite attractive you may be able to find one that suits your personality much better than a standard corncob pipe.

Some pipes are quite attractive.

Some pipes are quite attractive.

They even have some pipes that actually look like a cigarette. These are called either one-hitters, cigarette tasters or smoking cessation devices – depending on who you’re talking to. These little devices would be an excellent choice for the person who only wants an occasional puff – they don’t hold enough for anything else.

one hitter photo: one hitter do2_sm.jpg
One Hitter image courtesy of Photobucket.

One of the interesting things about pipes is that you won’t use near as much tobacco in it as you would with a cigarette so your money will go much farther. You can smoke on a bowl of tobacco for an hour or longer, setting it aside and re-lighting it as desired, which will stretch your tobacco supply an enormous amount.

I have tried both cigarettes and pipes in the past; in my opinion the pipes give the most bang per puff if you are in search of a good nicotine fix. Since most pipe smokers don’t actually inhale there are some who believe that smoking out of a pipe may be safer somehow – but since I’m not a doctor I can’t say one way or another.


I’m only partially kidding with this one! If you stop smoking you won’t have to spend money on cigarettes at all, which can add up to a huge savings if you can do it. However, this is easier said than done according to my smoking friends. My mother spent the last few years of her life living from cigarette to cigarette; every day she would tell me how long she managed to go before lighting up but she was never able to get under two a day. I’ve had other friends spend a fortune in nicotine patches, drugs and whatnot only to go back to the cigarette when they hit a rough patch in their lives. In cases like these it may just be better to continue the habit rather than live in misery like my mother did – or spend a fortune for nothing.

If you can quit you will save money but if you can’t – you can’t. Stop beating yourself up over it, accept the fact that you are a smoker and move on. Even better, figure out a way to save money on it that I’ve not mentioned here and share it in the comments.

Take care!

Thank you so much for your help during my current challenge. You are awesome!

8 thoughts on “Smokers: How to Save Money

  1. Marcy

    I was a smoker for 21 years. The very thought of quitting filled me with icy cold terror. However, I was also the stereotypical broke single mother much of this time. I wish I could get back those years of never having enough- I was only slightly frugal then, so that’s another reason to wish those years back- but I can’t. I raised a smoker, she struggles to this day to quit. I finally found Chantix ( my daughter is afraid to use it- night terrors). It took me 3 tries to quit. The first two times I couldn’t quite understand that I can never have ‘just one’ again. I have now been smoke -free for two years. I sometimes have a ‘twinge’, which suprises me out of wanting one. While I was a smoker, I tried to save money by rolling my own. Frankly, the pre-made tubes and machine becomes a hassle, IMO_ much better to learn to roll by hand- I ALWAYS felt like a cowboy when I rolled my own!!! Best of luck to all smokers out there- they’re treated terribly these days!

  2. Joyce

    What a refreshing post! When my dear Aunt Kat was diagnosed with lung cancer she looked at me and in utter despair said “What am I going to do about smoking?” I told her to “smoke on”. She was so relieved. She did and she died.

    1. Annie Post author

      Joyce, I think it is so wonderful how you told her to keep smoking! I have seen several of my friends and family made miserable in the twilight of their lives by family insisting that they give up something they love, be it smoking, drinking, dietary habits or whatever!

      My father died of cancer and Mother may have as well if an auto accident had not taken her life because she had severe emphysema. Even with that I say kudos to those with the courage to allow family to live life by their own rules, even if those choices are different than the ones we would make.

      Thank you for sharing!

  3. Edgewalker

    HDD crashed. Been mostly offline 2 wks. Hope to be up and functional by Sunday. 916-333-1257 if you want to call. KThxBai 😉

  4. Christopher Davis

    With recent tobacco taxes instituted and a sharp rise in the price of tobacco over the past few years, smokers everywhere are looking for cheaper alternatives to get their fix. Some simply switch to buying cheaper packs of cigarettes; others try and cut costs by buying their cigarettes in bulk or from other countries. Many have quit smoking all together due to the oppressive cost of tobacco. For those of us with no intentions of quitting or for those who just aren’t ready, there is one other method of cutting cigarette costs: roll them yourself.

  5. Cathleen Potts

    The difference is menthol cigarettes have a major non-tobacco additive that make them minty tasting. Menthol stimulates receptors in the throat that create a cool sensation. As a result, persons may not find cigarette smoke as irritating and thus inhale larger amounts with each puff. Menthol cigarettes contain little pieces of fiber glass. Menthol may lead to faster absorption of cigarette smoke and increased exposure to the many components of cigarette smoke.

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