NEW YORK (MainStreet) — Lent officially begins today, with Ash Wednesday kicking off 40 days of prayer, penance and self-sacrifice. It's common for Lent observers to give up a favorite treat or vice over the next six and a half weeks to show their devotion to God, but choosing just what to cut out of your life can be a challenge. Sure, there's always chocolate, soda and gum, but if you're looking to get a little more creative this year, why not give up something unnecessary in your life that's been a drain on your wallet? If you're in debt or just looking to save more for the future, you might be amazed at how much extra money you can pocket by giving up these sneaky "money wasters." Here's a list of six to consider swearing off.
You've been meaning to quit smoking for years, but you've been putting it off for a million different reasons. It's time to stop procrastinating and finally kick the habit for good this Lent season. Aside from greatly reducing your risk for disease and early death, cutting out those frequent cigarette runs will also save you a boatload of money.
According to the American Lung Association, the average retail price of a pack of cigarettes in the United States is $5.51, and the cost may be significantly higher depending on where you live. In New York City, for example, packs can cost between $12 to $14 due to a hefty $4.35 state excise tax per package and a $1.50 local excise tax per package.