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Cigarettes vs. Coffee – Which Is Financially Worse For You?

by J. Money on Wednesday, September 9, 2009

Cigarettes vs. CoffeeI’m so glad I don’t smoke cigarettes. In my 29 years I have yet to puff a single cigarette, and my wallet thanks me for it :) Coffee, on the other hand, is a whole other topic.

So today I figured I’d compare the two and see which is FINANCIALLY worse for you, as we all know that smoking beats coffee in the health department any day.

And interestingly enough, I came across this awesome Top 10 Money Drains post Bankrate put together a couple years ago which lists both coffee and cigarettes in the top 2 slots! So this is truly a battle of the most expensive vices we consume, beating out even alcohol (at #3) if you can imagine that.

The Cost of Cigarettes:

According to some averages around the net, it looks like an average pack of cigarettes cost about $5 and an average smoker goes through a full pack a day (20 cigarettes). Some quick math tells us that’s a good $35 a week, or $140 a month, totaling a whopping $1680 a year! That blows, but just reaffirms my non-smoking happiness.

I actually thought I was one of the only cigarette virgins left on the planet too until I tweeted about it and found out a lot of you guys don’t smoke either! How wonderful :) I took a snapshot of the tweets & facebook comments if you wanna check it out, I thought it was pretty cool to see. (you may need to click to zoom in on the image, it’s pretty big.)

The Cost of Coffee:

It looks like the average cost for coffee runs you about $1.30ish (non Starbucks I’d imagine). So if you drink just a cup a day, let’s say, you’re looking at around $440 a year. If you ARE drinking Starbucks though, and some crazy concoction taking a good $3.00 from you each time, you’re now looking at $1,000 per year – if anyone could seriously stomach that much coffee! I’d probably knock it down to about $800 a year factoring in a skipped day or two every week.

The Cost of Cigarettes and Coffee!

ERROR. ERROR. CAN’T COMPUTE. haha…I don’t actually know too many people with this particular problem, but just for curiosity’s sake let’s give this a shot. If we add in the cost of cigs above, along with the cost of coffee we already calculated (non-Starbucks), they’d be looking at a $2100 yearly pricetag! That’s one bad mother of a money suck.

Needless to say, cigarettes are financially worst by far. Even if you cut them out by half you’re still spending more than on coffee. Plus, there’s the whole addiction factor. While you might *think* you’re addicted to coffee, smokers have it much much worse for sure (or so I’m told). Not only are they shelling out gobs of money to sustain this habit, but they are physically addicted and have a way harder time quitting than 99% of us coffee drinkers.

If you’re one of these puffers, does the $1680 a year average sound about right? I’d be interested to see how much you really spend on them. If you’ve never calculated it, try out Cancer.org’s cost of smoking calculator (fitting, huh?) to get a better idea. And if you’re trying to quit, our prayers are with you!


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{ 2 comments… read them below or add one }

1 Nick April 8, 2010 at 5:23 am

This is totally bias! You are comparing the annual cost of a pack a day smoker who is obviously in the throws of a full on addiction, to a person who buys 1 cup of coffee a day.
Addiction wise, there is no way a person who has 1 coffee a day (occasionally skipping a day or two) like you said, is on par with a person who sucks down 20 cigarettes in a day.

When the comparisons are even, you’ll find that monetarily speaking, there’s no real difference.

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2 J. Money April 10, 2010 at 10:21 pm

I actually got that “1 pack a day” average from researching around a bit. It could be wrong of course, but I’m still not convinced coffee costs the same as cigarettes. All my comments here from last year were erased from my Wordpress conversion, but what I failed to mention was the health-risks involved too. More times than not a smoker will also pay higher health bills over the course of their lives than those who just drink coffee. Regardless though, doing either costs a lot of money over time…not saying people should stop or anything, just pointing it out as it seemed interesting to me.

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