Since the smoking ban started, smokers may be feeling a little put-upon. Unfortunately, it doesn't stop with the icy-cold outside smoking area in pubs, as many products and services come at a premium when you smoke.
Here is a guide to some of the ways you could save thousands each year, which will hopefully kick-start your resolutions if you are planning to quit in the New Year!
Cheaper Private Health Insurance
You might have heard the odd rumour that that smoking isn't so good for your health. Since smoking kills around 114,000 people a year, the obvious place you're going to notice the financial burden of smoking is on your health insurance premiums.
Tempting as it is to not tell your insurer that you smoke, you would lose out if you ever had to claim for a smoking-related illness because of course your claim would be invalidated. Even if you have recently quit, in insurance terms you're not considered to be a non-smoker until you have been smoke-free for 12 months or longer, so if you are asked when you last smoked, you'd need to be 100% honest.
When you've passed the year benchmark however, shop around for private health insurance and you'll notice the price difference immediately. Make sure to ask your current provider for a new quote, and if you find a more competitive deal elsewhere as a non-smoker, ask them to match it. They are likely to agree in order to keep you as a customer.
Get a free, no-obligation Private Health Insurance quote here >>
Cheaper Term Life Insurance
Term Life insurance gives your family financial protection if you should die within a certain period (say, 20 years). Statistically, smokers have a lower life expectancy than non-smokers. Therefore, any term life insurance policy you take out will be more expensive if you smoke.
Insurers don't want to lose money by paying out a large lump sum to your family when you have only been paying your premiums for a few years, so they make your premiums much more expensive. The insurance company is then covered if you should die earlier than you expect through a smoking related illness.
We're not talking a couple of pounds of difference, but thousands and thousands over the life of your policy so you could be paying off your mortgage early or living much more comfortably if you didn't smoke.
You need to be smoke-free for a year to qualify for the 'non-smoker' rates, so when you quit, be sure to tell your insurer. Then notify them when you have reached a year without smoking, and ask them to recalculate their premiums. At that point, you should also shop around to find the best non-smoking life insurance deals in the market.
Get a free, no-obligation Life Insurance quote here >>
Add Thousands to the Value of your House
If you're planning to move home in 2010, it's likely that you'll be showing potential buyers around your place. If you've smoked in your house for years, you probably will not notice the pervading smell of cigarettes. However, the moment someone new steps over the threshold, they will notice and this could be extremely off-putting when they are trying to visualise themselves in a new home.
If you are planning to quit smoking, make sure that you also thoroughly clean the carpets, walls and furnishings before putting your property on the market because the smell of smoke will linger. If you are a committed smoker, also do the above, and make sure that you smoke in the garden from now on.
Read other top tips on selling your home by property expert Sarah Beeny >>
You may already know that health and life insurance will cost you more as a smoker, but were you aware that home insurance companies also charge higher premiums to smokers? Households containing a smoker are up to 40% more likely to suffer a fire than those where nobody smokes, and as a result, insurers view smokers' houses as being in a higher-risk category of cover.
If you are not planning to quit smoking, you need to at least make sure that you have a working smoke alarm installed in the house, because the combined risk of smoking and no smoke alarm will cause your home insurance premiums to skyrocket.
Get a free, no-obligation Home Insurance quote here >>
Perform Better at Work
Research by stop-smokingforever.co.uk shows that the average smoker takes two "unofficial" cigarette breaks a day, lasting around 15 minutes each. This means that if you smoke, you're taking half an hour more than your non-smoking colleagues each day, and the company is paying for it. Statistically, smokers take 1.8 more sick days a year than non-smokers, which again, costs the company money.
If you're hoping for a promotion in the New Year, now might be the time to increase your work productivity by kicking the habit and those extra, unpaid breaks. By being healthier, you'll not only feel much better but you'll reduce your sick days (and those lunchtime doctor and dentist trips that can eat into your afternoon), and therefore come across as a more reliable employee and therefore a better candidate for that top job.
More spare cash
If you smoke a pack a day, this amounts to several thousand pounds a year. Whether you cut down significantly or quit completely, you'll have as much as a few hundred pounds extra to play with each month when you're not spending your hard-earned cash on cigarettes.
You needn't worry that quitting is going to cost you a fortune either, as the NHS offers free help and support to smokers who are trying to quit, via their website. We're sure you don't need any help working out what you would do with £2,000 extra to spend a year!