My friend Bob was proud of the fact that he had switched to smoking American Spirit cigarettes, which differed from other brands in that the smokes were additive-free, containing only pure, organic tobacco. He made the switch in late fall of 2015, and by mid January 2016 I remember he was boasting about how much better he was feeling. When questioned closely, though, he admitted he still experienced harrowing coughing fits now and then. To my horror as a non-smoker, he made light of the matter.
“Yeah,” Bob told me with a big smile, “My girlfriend continues to nag me about the coughing, which still hits me sometimes usually when I’m eating. She says I remind her of our cat Chewy when he coughs up fur balls, ha, ha ... But I’m telling you, Laurie, overall I feel a lot better. I mean, I read that regular cigarettes contain something like 600 weird chemical additives which when burned create thousands of chemical compounds, and many of those compounds cause cancer. My new smokes contain none of this stuff. I’m getting my health back!”
How about a New Year’s spending resolution that will not only improve your health, but save you lots of money?
I looked at Bob incredulously.
“Really?” I questioned. “I’ve read up on smoking, too. Did you also know that tobacco smoke, with or without additives, contains tons of carbon monoxide – you know, the same stuff that comes out of the tailpipes of cars, trucks, and buses? It’s a toxin that goes right to the blood, causing oxygen depletion. Not only that, there’s tar that comes with any kind of tobacco smoke, 90 per cent of which stays inside your lungs once you inhale. You are at risk of emphysema.”
“Oh,” Bob responded, his smile dropping.
I then added, “Can you try to visualize life without cigarettes, Bob? What if I were to give you real incentive to quit smoking altogether? How about a New Year’s spending resolution that will not only really improve your health, but save you lots of money?”
At $13.00 a day for 365 days, you can expect to spend $4,745.00 on smokes over the course of 2016.
“I’m open to suggestions,” he said.
“Okay, tell me how much you smoke and how much you spend on it.”
“I smoke about a pack a day, every day. They’re small packs of 20 cigarettes, but because they’re organic they cost more than regular smokes. I pay $13.00 a pack.”
“Let’s do the math,” I said as I pulled out my cell and tapped into my calculator app. “I see here that at $13.00 a day for 365 days, you can expect to spend $4,745.00 on smokes over the course of 2016. That’s a serious chunk of cash. Imagine what you could do with it.”
Bob thought about that for a moment, and with a straight face said, “That’s a lot of beer money.”
I laughed, knowing that Bob had given up booze years earlier. “No seriously, consider it. How would that amount affect your credit card debt? Or how would it affect your emergency savings fund, assuming you have one? What about stuff you most desire? I know you’re an avid hobbyist as a photographer. Didn’t you tell me you’re making money on the side snapping portraits and events for friends and associates? How would $4,745.00 help you grow the business?”
That point really got Bob thinking. “Geez,” he said. “I could move up from my Canon 70D to a Canon 5D Mark III, which costs around $3,800.00 with a good all-purpose zoom lens – my dream camera!”
“There you go,” I said. “And you’d have almost a thousand bucks left over on top of the purchase.”
“Yeah, but quitting smoking is easier said than done.”
“Hey,” I countered, “I think you can do it. Some studies show it takes only 20 days to completely overcome smoking physiologically and psychologically. That means just three weeks of self-discipline could net you close to five grand as 2016 rolls through.”
“Hmmm, it’s pretty tempting,’ Bob mused.
I’ll text you a link ... It offers strategies for overcoming bad spending habits involving smoking and other stuff.
“Tell you what,” I said. “I’ll text you a link to a blog we just posted on our Credit Canada website. It offers strategies for overcoming bad spending habits involving smoking and other stuff. Give it a read, then take a non-smoking New Year’s resolution for a test run. See what happens.”
“I’ll think about it,” Bob said, and we left it at that.
The upshot of the story is that for almost all of 2016 Bob and I were barely in touch since he was travelling far and wide. But we managed to connect again last week in Toronto for our annual Christmas lunch ritual at Terroni’s. He showed up at the restaurant with a surprise in store.
“Look what Santa just brought me,” he said, hoisting an item from his black shoulder bag and plopping it on the table. I observed what looked like a sophisticated piece of technology. I turned my gaze back to Bob.
“Dream camera?” I said.
“More than that,” he said, “that’s the Canon 5D Mark IV, hot off the line.”
I noticed he didn’t cough once as we ate.
Resources to Help You Achieve Your Money Resolutions for the New Year: