If you’re like me, you’re one of the ultra-high percentage of mental health diagnosees who smokes cigarettes. Clearly the obvious solution to this is to stop smoking entirely, but in being reasonable with ourselves we know this is going to be a long and arduous journey.

If you’re like me, you may also have been/currently are spending a stupidly ridiculous amount of money on cigarettes – the going rate in my current town is approaching ten dollars a pack, minus a few and some change even for the cheapest dirt squirrel garbage brands.

But sweet, sweet relief – there is a solution. Chances are you live within reasonable distance of a cigarette or tobacco outlet, which means you can roll your own cigarettes for a fraction of the price.

What you’ll need:

  1. “Pipe” tobacco
  2. Cigarette tubes
  3. A cigarette roller (hand, crank or electronic)
  4. A plastic carrying case (optional)

PIPE TOBACCO

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I’m one of those weirdos who has never stuck to a single brand. I do, however, like me some menthol. Pictured above is a one-pound bag of Gambler pipe tobacco, which goes for about $23 in my area. First – don’t be fooled by the label. No one in their right mind would put tobacco this dry in a pipe. It’s made for rolling cigarettes, and the label is to facilitate maintaining a lower price.

One pound of tobacco makes about 400 cigarettes, or two cartons. This means for every one-pound bag you’re going to need two packs of 200-count cigarette tubes.

TUBES

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I use Sago tubes because they are the cheapest – you can find higher priced tubes to problem, but you’re essentially paying for a fancier look. I happen to prefer the simple aesthetic, and switch between menthol (pictured above), light, and regular. They cost $2 per box, so in adding these to your one-pound bag of tobacco you’re now at $27 for 400 (or two cartons of) cigarettes.

ROLLER/CRANK

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I use a Zig Zag “injector,” which are made for tubes. They also make cranks that run $40-$100 dollars and electronic injectors that get into the $150s. It’s really just a question of how much time you want to spend rolling cigarettes – as I have oodles, I don’t mind the hand injector at all. It also limits my smoking so long as I don’t go nuts and roll them all at the same time.
This injector costs around $5 but is a one-time fee and lasts about a year.

MAKING A CIGARETTE

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First, get a pinch of tobacco and open up your injector.

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Place the tobacco evenly in the injector slot and tamp it down until it’s flush with the slot. This takes a little bit of practice, but if you do what I did and essentially eyeball the right amount, you’ll get it down in just a few tries.

It should look something like this:

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Next slide a tube onto the plastic spout:

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Close the injector (it is made to grip the tip of the tube):

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Slide the top half back, which will inject the tobacco into the tube:

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It’s that simple. You know have a hand “rolled” cigarette.

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COST

For those who hate math, 400 handmade cigarettes – two cartons, or twenty packs – costs under $30. The overall price per “pack?” Under $1.50.

The way to really appreciate how much money you save is to calculate what you pay now versus what you’d pay to roll the same amount. Let’s say you smoke a pack a day; that’s 30 packs per month. If that pack costs $10, you’re spending $300 a month on cigarettes. This was about where I was at.

A pack a day (or 30 “packs”) of handmade cigarettes would cost $45.

$300 minus $45 is $255 – the amount of money you (and I) are now saving every month. Multiply that times 12 and you’re saving over $3,000 every year.

Try it out.

CALCULATE YOUR SAVINGS

I SMOKE _______ PACKS PER DAY.

Multiply this “packs per day” times 30. This equals PACKS I SMOKE PER MONTH. Call this number = “P”.

I PAY ________ PER PACK.

Multiply this “per pack” amount times “P”. This equals the AMOUNT OF MONEY I SPEND ON CIGARETTES PER MONTH. Call this number “M”.

Divide “P” (PACKS I SMOKE PER MONTH) by 10 to get CARTONS I SMOKE PER MONTH. Call this number “C”.

Multiply “C” times $2 – this gives you the cost of your tubes.

Multiply “C” times $15 – this gives you the cost of your tobacco.

Add these two and subtract them from “M” (AMOUNT I SPEND ON CIGARETTES PER MONTH) – this is how much money you’d save every month by hand rolling cigarettes instead of buying packs or cartons. You can simply multiply this number by 12 (number of months per year) to calculate your yearly savings.

Again, mine is just over $3,000 – so give it some thought.

Hope this Mental Illness Life Hack from CBTN helps you save a little cash in 2017!

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