How to Save Money On Cigarettes

The CDC reports that as of 2010, taxes on cigarettes were $4.35 in New York.
The CDC reports that as of 2010, taxes on cigarettes were $4.35 in New York. (Image: Hemera Technologies/ Images)

As of early 2010, the average cost of a pack of cigarettes in the United States was around $4.80, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. This price varies widely across the country because state taxes vary. Even at the average price, a pack-a-day smoker spends nearly $150 per month on cigarettes. To save money on cigarettes, smokers have a few options.

Shop Around

Use a phone book to locate phone numbers for convenience stores, grocery stores and liquor stores in your area.

Call each store and inquire about cigarette prices. Ask about the price of a carton and a pack of your preferred brand and one substitute brand that you can tolerate smoking.

Find the cheapest seller for your preferred brand and for a substitute brand. Generic brands are usually cheaper, so consider smoking a generic substitute.

Buy your cigarettes by the carton. If you purchase by the pack, you'll have to go out to the store more often, which requires you to spend more money on gasoline. You'll also be inclined to make other purchases while you are in the store.

Cut Down

Save half cigarettes in your ash tray and smoke the rest of the cigarette on your next smoke. If you smoke about one cigarette every hour, smoking half cigarettes on half of your smoke breaks cuts your cigarette consumption down from 18 to about 14 cigarettes per day.

Time your cigarettes. Smoke every hour instead of every half hour or every 90 minutes instead of every hour. If you smoke every 90 minutes instead of every hour, you are only smoking 12 times per day instead of around 18. If you time your cigarettes along with smoking half cigarettes, you have now reduced your daily cigarette consumption to around 12 cigarettes per day -- nine scheduled smoke breaks and three extra smokes for car rides or after a meals.

Do not smoke within 30 minutes before meals because you know you are going to smoke right after your meal. This will help you stay on your schedule.

Smoke only one cigarette on car rides.

Wait one hour to smoke after you wake up in the morning. Eat breakfast in the morning before you smoke.

Continue on a 12 cigarette per day schedule to save money. On this schedule, you are smoking less than two cartons per month. At the national average price per pack, you are spending less than $90 per month on cigarettes. rates cutting down on smoking No. 9 on its list of the top 101 ways to save money daily.


Research smoking cessation products and cut down on smoking. Examples of smoking cessation products are nicotine gum, patches and medications prescribed by a physician.

Find a smoking cessation product that works for you.

Begin on your cessation regiment.

Follow through with quitting. According to, the average savings is $300 for those who quit smoking, for most, the savings are far higher than that. That cost only accounts for the cost of the actual cigarettes. Additional health and life insurance premiums, dental expenses and other costs associated with smoking are not included in those savings. Consider the CDC national average price of $4.80 for a pack-a-day smoker. If that smoker quits, he is saving $1,752 per year on cigarettes alone.

Tips & Warnings

  • Quitting smoking is the best option for your health and well-being.
  • Do not smoke while you are using smoking cessation products.
  • Seek the advice of a medical professional regarding smoking cessation mechanisms.
  • Consider the cost of gas when finding a cheap cigarette seller. If you drive three hours for cheap cigarettes, you are spending more money on gasoline than you are saving.

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