Monday, April 19, 2010

Don't Smoke Yourself Broke

Okay, it’s true. Your smoking habit is detrimental to your health. And ever since Middle School ended, it hasn’t been making you look cool. But you’re still not going to stop, are you? Didn’t think so. In that case, you’re probably a little bit upset about the ever-increasing “sin” taxes in Massachusetts. Even the cheapest brand-name smokes are seven dollars a pack, and they taste terrible, so you pay close to nine for Camels or Marlboros. At a pack a day, that’s $270 a month (more than you pay for the utilities at your apartment) and $3,240 a year (more than you paid for that Macbook you’re reading this article on). Well, if you just have to keep smoking cigarettes, here are some ways to save money.

First of all, you’re going to have to abandon your brand. I know. It’s hard. That familiar, comforting box art has been part of your life for years. It will be like losing a friend. Then again, friends don’t usually take half of your paycheck. Or give you lung cancer.

Next, you’ll have to resign yourself to spending fifteen minutes a day making your cigarettes. If you’re that jerk in the circle who can never roll the joint, don’t worry, there are machines for that which will save you time and effort. And if you can’t stand unfiltered cigarettes, there are plenty of options for you as well.

These are filter tubes. They come in boxes of 200 for around two dollars and fifty cents. Typically, you can find them in regular, light or menthol. With a machine that costs about five dollars, you can inject these tubes with your choice of rolling tobacco to create nearly factory-quality cigarettes. You can buy this stuff, as well as brand-name tins of rolling tobacco, at Sugar Daddy’s in Kenmore Square or Palace Spa in Brighton Center, as well as a few other places around the city. Once in a while, Cumberland Farms, Tedeschi, or 7-11 will carry these as well, due to customers complaining about their absence.

So, let’s recap. A carton’s worth of filter-tubes for $2.50. Brand-name rolling tobacco comes in tins of five to six ounces for $30-$40, depending on the quality of tobacco and the store. Now you’re spending about half what you would on 10 packs of cigarettes. But that’s still too much. So here’s the cheapest place to get cancer in Boston.

A staple of Harvard Square, Leavitt and Pierce is the kind of places that exudes class. As a window-shopper, you probably ignored this place because at first glance you assumed any item in the store would cut your checking account balance in half. Appearances can be deceiving.

In addition to filter tubes, rolling papers, cigarette cases and all of the accessories you could possibly want, Leavitt and Pierce sells rolling tobacco for a fraction of the price you’ll spend elsewhere, and its quality is unparalleled. As if $3.95 per ounce weren’t cheap enough, they’ll give you a discount at half a pound. So, for around $30, you’ll get eight ounces of tobacco that actually tastes good. That should last you a solid two or three weeks (or, around $150 in Marlboro terms).

If you can commit yourself to actually going through with all of this, you’ll start noticing that your bank statement’s steady decline has been staggered. With all that money you’re saving, you’ll be able to afford an appointment with your psychiatrist. And the subsequent prescription to Chantix.

Leavitt and Pierce - 1316 Massachusetts Avenue, Cambridge, MA‎ - (617) 547-0576‎
Palace Spa - 419 Washington Street, Brighton, MA‎ - (617) 787-1665
Sugar Daddy's - 472 Commonwealth Avenue, Boston, MA‎ - (617) 536-6922‎

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