In January, my fiancee and I were lucky enough to go on a cruise to the Caribbean with the band “The Barenaked Ladies.”  It was actually my Christmas gift to her because it’s her favorite band.  Strangely, I received a great gift on that cruise that I wasn’t expecting.

One night we were up in the jacuzzi on deck and this older couple came and joined us.  We were all talking about how much fun the cruise was and how great the band was when the older man, probably in his late 60’s, singled me out and started talking to me.

He said, “You know, my friends always ask me how I can afford to leave my home in Canada every Winter.  I don’t have a great job.  I have a good job, but I’m not rich.  I always turn to them and say the exact same thing…”  And then the 3 small words came that were a real eye opener:  “I don’t smoke.”

He can afford these trips by not smoking.  Now, I don’t smoke and I never have, but I was in shock to hear this.  I asked him what he meant.  He said most people smoke a pack a day.  That’s $5-6 a day.  If a married couple both smoke that’s $10-12 a day.  Over the course of the year that’s $3650 to $4380.  About 5 times what the cruise cost us.

In looking at friends I’ve had in my life, I can see this.  People who smoke tend to be friends who are either so rich they don’t care or so poor that all they do is smoke (and complain about the lack of money they have.)

We won’t even go into the medical bills related to smoking or the need to purchase new clothes and furniture that don’t stink or replacing items that have browned from the smoke or having to repaint the house on a much more often basis than a non-smoker.  There are even hotels who give discounts to non-smokers.

“I don’t smoke” is probably the greatest answer I’ve heard in years.  That one little piece of advice earns this couple an extra $4000 a year to spend on anything they like, including a cruise to the Caribbean with the Barenaked Ladies.

I hope that those of you who do smoke read this little article and realize what you’re missing by doing so and maybe it’ll motivate you to stop before your chance for fun sails away.

Invest in peace…

P.S. – A massive amount of thanks goes out to the Geeks for donating to my bike ride for the Arthritis Foundation!  Extra thanks to Jason for keeping this going and Christian for pulling massive extra duty here while some of us geeks have been lazy, busy, bored, burned out, uninterested, ranting about other things.  Great job Christian, thanks.

P.P.S. – Mutual Funds still suck.

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