why the hell do people waste so much money on booze and fags

(67 Posts)
whiteandyelloworchid Mon 10-Dec-12 23:29:58

I just do not get it.

Thinking about my childhood, we never had money for days out, or toys only toys I had were box of lego and dinosaur models
We never had money for food or clothes
We were often hungry after tiny meals.

Yet my parents both used to spend loads on smoking
And drinking

And I just don't get it.

MrsKeithRichards Mon 10-Dec-12 23:32:46

Separate issues. People prioritise differently. Some people can easily afford it, some might be better off spending the money elsewhere but are already addicted to legitimate substances.

Who knows?

SminkoPinko Mon 10-Dec-12 23:33:33

cos they is addicted innit

bootsycollins Mon 10-Dec-12 23:34:41

That's really shitty selfish parenting, they put their "needs" before yours. Are the folks still around for you to ask them about it?

MissCellania Mon 10-Dec-12 23:35:12

Because they don't see it as a waste. But yes, you are conflating separate issues, neglecting your children has nothing to do with others spending their own money on whatever they want.

Mollydoggerson Mon 10-Dec-12 23:36:33

I'ld say their minds may have been altered from years of substance abuse. Sorry you went through this.

bootsycollins Mon 10-Dec-12 23:38:41

Fags and booze are fab but feeding and clothing your children aren't optional extras

WitchCrafter Mon 10-Dec-12 23:42:46

The way I look at it is- the taxes they pay on them are used towards our ctc, cb etc

PigletJohn Mon 10-Dec-12 23:43:24

addiction, and they convince themselves it's not an addiction and it's not wrong and they deserve it and it's their only pleasure and it's someone else's fault that haven't got any money left.

Have you ever tried to reason with a drunk?

whiteandyelloworchid Mon 10-Dec-12 23:49:16

Oh don't get them started on taxing, the think the goverment want people to drink and smoke ti collect all the tax

WorraLorraTurkey Mon 10-Dec-12 23:49:37

Unless you're very young, they wouldn't have spent loads of money on it.

I'm 43 and when I was 15yrs old, 10 fags were about 31 pence.

squeakytoy Mon 10-Dec-12 23:50:55

My dad smoked, I never went short of presents or love.

Health risks aside, there is nothing wrong with smoking and drinking IF your kids are not going without because of it.

worra when I was 15 ten Richmond were £2.50

squeakytoy Mon 10-Dec-12 23:57:38

hmm when I was 12, 20 bensons were 38 PENCE!!!!!

scarlettsmummy2 Tue 11-Dec-12 00:02:07

Because they are addicted and their love of cigarettes comes before their love of anything else.

peaceandlovebunny Tue 11-Dec-12 00:03:14

they don't have access to heroin and cocaine?

WorraLorraTurkey Tue 11-Dec-12 00:04:04

Oh do one will you SP!! hmm grin

fatlazymummy Tue 11-Dec-12 00:09:52

OP your parents were probably addicted.
My parents neither smoked or drank but we had very few clothes , even less toys than you did and the only days out we ever had were extremely boring ones that fitted in with my Dad's interests [looking round churches, usually]. When I was a kid family life wasn't so much child orientated, it was more centred around what the adults wanted, usually the Dad. That may also have been a factor for your parents, combined with their physical addictions.

WorraLorraTurkey Tue 11-Dec-12 00:21:10

I've just had a Google to put it into perspective.

In 1976 a loaf of bread cost on average 19p

A pint of milk 8 1/2p

A pint of beer around 32p

10 cigarettes around 22p

So not a massive difference really.

squeakytoy Tue 11-Dec-12 00:26:44

I suppose bread and milk are slightly different. If you multiply the others by 10 the price is about right..

WorraLorraTurkey Tue 11-Dec-12 00:28:52

That's the thing squeaky

Back then, there wasn't shit loads of tax heaped upon fags and booze so even being heavily addicted, didn't mean you were spending shit loads of money on them.

I know a family like this, dd had no birthday cake as things were tight, even though the Mum makes fancy cupcakes all the time for fun, yet we saw them ON the dds birthday buying £40 worth of tailor cigarettes. Also saying there christmas budget was tight yet buying £15+ bottles of spirits.

Dp likes beer/larger every now and again, but dc3 arriving means we are tightening our belt, I don't drink anyway. Our family doesn't get how we can have a sober christmas, and dp doesn't mind driving to visit people. Maybe we are odd.

MyNutcrackerSuiteAudrina Tue 11-Dec-12 00:47:21

It takes much more out of a family budget now I think, but horrible for you in any case OP. If things were so tight that you had no basics let alone treats then they were addicted and had their priorities all wrong.

I started smoking when a packet of 20 was less than £2 and when I was a child a packet of crisps was either 5 or 10 p. They were full though. You didn't open the bag to find half of it empty.

Snazzyfeelingfestive Tue 11-Dec-12 00:57:38

Sorry your parents were like that OP. I know times were different in many ways then but it's still not inevitable that buying fags (however cheaply) should have come first. My dad smoked though he gave up when I was quite young; however I can be certain that he would never have prioritised buying fags over buying food for his family if they were hungry. Anyone doing that, now or then, is just being incredibly selfish. Look at it this way: at least it has taught you about priorities and you won't do it yourself.

JoanByers Tue 11-Dec-12 01:51:58

Money spent on booze is not wasted.

bradyismyfavouritewiseman Tue 11-Dec-12 07:58:46

Your parents were awful.

It had nothing to do with drinking or smoking. They were/ selfish. If smoking or drinking didn't exist they still would have been the same way.

I used to smoke, if times were tough, it was the first thing to go. I have an occasional glass of wine on a night. If we were struggling, I wouldn't buy it.
you problem isn't smoking or alcohol. It that you parents prioritised their wants over your needs.

KittyFane1 Tue 11-Dec-12 08:06:00

Addiction. Some people put booze and cigarettes before everything in the same way a heroin addict does. Can't live without it.

TrillsCarolsOutOfTune Tue 11-Dec-12 08:36:44

Are you being unreasonable... what?

To be upset with your parents? No, not unreasonable.

My paternal grandparents spent all their money on booze and fags, while their kids didn't have enough to eat, the house was colds and they didn't have enough blankets for everyone to have one in their bed (they used coats instead). They were shitty parents with the wrong priorities. Just like your parents. Interestingly, my grampa gave up smoking and drinking overnight when he was diagnosed with diabetes. He wouldn't even cut down to feed his kids, but had no trouble when the issue was his own. My dad went on (like all his siblings) to smoke heavily and become addicted to alcohol too - and to make shitty, selfish choices.

This doesn't generalise to all smokers or people who drink alcohol, but some people are just really crappy parents. They'd probably be crappy parents if they'd never smoked or drank at all (in different ways) but the addiction almost certainly makes things worse,,

Wearegoingtobedlehem Tue 11-Dec-12 08:46:45

PIL were like this with DH. They then persist to whinge about how much I spend on books and clothes for my dcs.
Also rather shockingly MIL suggested I smoke though pg to keep baby small angry

My aunt smoked extra through her pregnancies so her babies would be small (and drank heavily too). My cousins were both very sick when they were born, and neither of them is quite right. Their youngest died in her sleep as a baby because my aunt was sleeping on the couch drunk with her baby, rolled on top of her and suffocated her. The whole family always say it was SIDS, but it wasn't. My aunt and uncle are shockingly bad parents. Both their parents were exactly the same.

Count yourself (and your children) lucky that you recognise that your parents priorities were all wrong, and aren't repeating the same scenario with your kids.

Convert Tue 11-Dec-12 08:55:37

I'm really sorry that your parents were such selfish shitsl but like many other posts its about them as people and parents. DH and I both smoke and drink, as did my parents but my children would never go without something. We are lucky enough to be comfortable money wise so it's never a question of a bottle of wine and a pack of fags or food for the kids but if it was it would never enter my head to let my kids go hungry.

SpecialAgentKat Tue 11-Dec-12 08:59:41


Your experience is not the same as every bodies. My DH has a ciggie budget managed my moi, he acknowledges this is his 'treat' money as we're not that well off. If he chooses that disgusting habit, that can be his treat money. I'll use mine on more proactive things thanks. grin His treat money is a lot lower than mine cough cough

Our kids don't miss out.

YANBU to resent people who put addiction/themselves before DC.

Nancy66 Tue 11-Dec-12 09:12:55

People tend to copy what they know and see.

People who grow up surrounded by smokers and boozers are likely to be the same themselves.

I was with a friend at the weekend who was moaning about always being broke and how she really should quit smoking and cut down on drinking. Then we worked out how much she spent a month on both: £800

busyboysmum Tue 11-Dec-12 10:46:48

No YANBU, we have some friends who probably earn the same as we do which is not a lot however they both smoke and drink heavily, we do not. We spend the money instead on two foreign holidays a year and lots of weekend trips in UK as well. This year they had their first foreign holiday in years, there was loads of self pitying stuff posted on facebook about how they really deserved this family holiday, they were just so hard up the kids had never been on a plane etc etc. When you work out how much they both spend on the cigs and booze they would be able to have several a year like us.

Plus it is making them both ill, both look easily 6/7 years older than us and both have health issues caused by the fags and booze. You can't get away with it once you get into your 40's.

AfterEightMintyy Tue 11-Dec-12 10:52:40

I feel sorry for smokers, I really do, for all of them. They think they enjoy it and its their one little pleasure in life but subconsciously and underneath it all they feel dirty and disgusting and guilty. Even if they will never admit it to anyone else or even themselves, they have this little niggle constantly going on in their brains and making them feel like shit. Of course I feel more sorry for other family members who have to do without because of the smokers and their habits.

Alcohol is different ... it can be a genuine pleasure and a small treat.

bradyismyfavouritewiseman Tue 11-Dec-12 11:21:20


Sorry but I actually lol'd at that. You know the feelings of all smokers? That's like saying all over weight people are desperate to be thin. Some are some aren't.

I loved smoking. Loved it. Didn't feel guilty or dirty. I quit because of the health implications. regular drinkig also Has health implications.

Smoking was a treat for me.

PessaryPam Tue 11-Dec-12 11:33:08

JoanByers Tue 11-Dec-12 01:51:58 Money spent on booze is not wasted.

Amen sister!!!

FunnysFuckingFreezing Tue 11-Dec-12 11:38:29

because it's fun innit. Wine is the glue that keeps my marriage together. Me and DH decided that last night

Ephiny Tue 11-Dec-12 11:42:40

I agree there are two different issues here. One is people spending money on stuff that's enjoyable to them but not to you -- that's a question of different tastes, and it's their money to spend as they choose, even if you personally consider it a 'waste'.

The other is parents putting their own wants ahead of their children's basic needs, which I'm sure we can all agree is wrong. I'm sorry you had that experience as a child.

PigletJohn Tue 11-Dec-12 12:19:34

Money spent on booze is wasted if it is to the detriment of more important things like food, warmth, cleanliness and family life.

It is worse than wasted if it leads to lack of clear thought and sensible behavior, which it often does, carelessness leading to accidents, which it often does, or to drunkenness, alcoholism and abusive relationships, which it sometimes does.

Binge drinkers will damage their health and shorten their lives, which is OK if they have no dependents and aren't expecting sympathy.

Problem drinkers generally deny they have a problem.

/killjoy off/

MrsKeithRichards Tue 11-Dec-12 16:19:29

Smoking can be a pleasure and a treat.

fridgepants Tue 11-Dec-12 18:28:06

My dad had ten - yep, ten - heart bypasses during his lifetime. His doctor told him at one point that giving up would be more stressful (but then this was the same GP who thought women were a drain on the health service hmm)

He smoked heavily throughout my childhood, and when young relatives where in the house - I remember him sat next to DN's cot with a lit unfiltered in his hand. He wasn;t the kind of man you could even attempt to argue with - he was domineering to the point of abusive - but I was shock at the time - DB and his girlfriend smoked through the pregnancy and afterward, though, so maybe they weren't inclined to do a cat's bum face at the sight of smoke near a newborn.

When we were very short of money because he had no job and no benefits coming in - meaning we were living off my mum's part time wages - giving up was out of the question. Though there is the argument that it was one pleasure that was there when time was tight.

PigletJohn Tue 11-Dec-12 18:51:33

one of my former colleagues said "if smoking was my one pleasure, I'd top myself now"

Cozy9 Tue 11-Dec-12 18:56:21

Smoking is for idiots and drinking isn't much better.

KelleStarOfWonder Tue 11-Dec-12 19:21:24

My mum didn't realise how much was being spent on it until she had to give it up. She smoked and drank quite heavily all through me and DBro's early years, she did give up when pg with DSis, so she did have more available cash at that point. My DSis had a terrible accident when she was a toddler and pulled through fine, but mum smoked and drank to cope with the stress. She only recently gave up again and DSis is 25. She is again amazed at how much money they now have spare. She's so chuffed with the money saved she went and bought a new sofa.

I used to find it upsetting as a child, but once I started to have my own money from my part time jobs as a teen, I realised how to prioritise what was important and what was treat money, and then what I spent that treat money on. I do like the odd drink here and there, in moderation, but I wouldn't make it such a high priority in my life that my children thought their needs were only important after sherry and fags.

Alisvolatpropiis Tue 11-Dec-12 19:25:32

Because fags and booze are great! Well,as long as they're not above your children on your list of priorities anyway.

ComposHat Tue 11-Dec-12 20:23:10

Because if you were short of money and under pressure, it was probably a form of release and one of they few pleasures they had.

Okay in strict economic terms it doesn't make sense, but that underestimates the complexity of human needs and emotions.

Luckily I have only been really hungry once, stuck in a town miles away from home and benefit not paid into my account. When I finally got some cash, do you think I went out and ordered a balanced meal? Of course not I gorged on the largest bag of chips the chippie could furnish me with. Nutritional value of nil, but they were filling and comforting.

Floggingmolly Tue 11-Dec-12 21:34:02

AfterEightMintyy, I'm an ex smoker, and yes, I know exactly what you mean. Shame it took me 10 years to actually quit.

perplexedpirate Tue 11-Dec-12 21:43:09

I love booze, and fags.
But DH and I both work bloody hard so we can afford to give DS everything he needs and more, with a little left over for a dirty martini and silk cut once in a while, like wot I'm having now.
That said, YANBU to be pissed off with your parents. DC's needs should obviously come first, no question.
I hope you find some kind of closure with this OP.

seenbetterdays Tue 11-Dec-12 22:15:45

PigletJohn you seeem to have a similar way of thinking as me. Have you by any chance had first hand experiance of dealing with the very difficult promblems of drink addiction? I don't mean to pry. I have a partner who brings home under £300 a week and spends £80 on cigarretes. He also spends money on secret bottles of vodka. I have to live on whats left, including paying the mortgage.He even objected to my suggestion that he bought a cheaper brand as he didint like them as much!

pingu2209 Tue 11-Dec-12 22:23:16

I don't get it either. I have 2 friends that smoke 20 a day. Each would have around £50 extra a week if they gave up. One friend has twins age 8 who would love a DS but she 'can't afford' them - when I said to her that she could buy 1 for £50 second hand so if she didn't smoke for 2 weeks she could afford them, my friend wouldn't speak to me for ages. She was furious.

I'm fed up with people who smoke who cry poverty. Fuck off and stop smoking, then you will have loads more money.

PigletJohn Tue 11-Dec-12 22:29:50

Two of my close friends, known since school, drank themselves into an early grave. They wouldn't accept anyone else's views and wouldn't change. One took it as a matter of pride to refuse to accept advice or help. The other took himself away where he wouldn't have to put up with it. An ex used to drink in the evenings.

My commercial premises include a bar and I am the "licensee" (DPS).

glastocat Tue 11-Dec-12 22:31:37

I drink, and enjoy it. I have the odd sneaky fag, and enjoy that too. But my child is well fed and clothed and housed, we can afford treats and holidays too! Lucky us, eh? We have always worked, and are very grateful for all the little pleasures in life, life would be a lot duller with the odd bottle of lovely wine and the occasional holiday somewhere hot. If you think that's a waste, that's your choice. So long as no one is going short, I see no harm.

PixieHot Tue 11-Dec-12 22:33:23

We were very poor when I was a child, but my Mum and Dad still smoked 20 cigarettes a day, and my Dad still drank every day.

sad for everyone who has experienced this.

seenbetterdays Tue 11-Dec-12 22:37:11

I am so sorry about your friends. There is nothing that can be said is there. I ve known several people living a similar way.and now I find it very hard to see the light side of these problems. I live in hope that some day my partner will see sense and decide to change. Everybody tells me not to hold my breath.

TeentheBean Tue 11-Dec-12 22:40:12

Things were different years ago, when my rellies took me and my sibling out, we used to sit outside the pub in the car by ourselves with a bottle of coke and a bag of crisps. At a different pub, different rellies would be in the bar drinking and leave us in the 'outer room' (like a very large porch) and we'd talk to all and sundry passing. Certainly could not imagine having done that to my DCs when they were youngsters.

SantaIAmSoFuckingRock Tue 11-Dec-12 22:42:36

some people have really warped views on what are priorities. my children's father has this year cut their support payments by £100 a month to pay for his new house, his engagement ring and his new car. my children are essentially paying for these things for him. he still chooses to smoke and drink though which over a month adds up to over £100. priorities completely fucked up IMO.

amillionyears Tue 11-Dec-12 22:47:15

op, were they trying to block out mental pain from their own childhoods?

Beaverfeaver Tue 11-Dec-12 22:58:30

Spend plenty on it, but always make sure there is bough left over to eat, clothe and save.

Otherwise we would cut back. No biggy.

whois Wed 12-Dec-12 00:15:39

Well I spend some of my salary on booze, and nights out.

Why not? I can afford it and I alike having a nice bottle of pinot noir with a decent meal. And I like meeting up with groups of friends and having a dance.

As other posters have said the OP is confusing two issues with money on booze and neglect / crap parenting.

Floggingmolly Wed 12-Dec-12 09:21:13

No, she's not, whois, the two issues are linked when one is prioritised over another.
Huge difference between spending spare money on cigarettes/alcohol, and depriving your children of necessities to finance your habits when there isn't any spare money. The latter is fairly spectacularly crap parenting.

HaudYerWheeshtFannyBaws Wed 12-Dec-12 09:49:40

I have never smoked but I like wine and I know I spend far too much on it but I can afford it, I don't drink to excess and my son never goes without.

expatinscotland Wed 12-Dec-12 10:05:00

DH smokes rollies, but he gets the baccy cheap from E. European colleagues. We don't buy booze, though, never go out and would never dream of our kids going without essentials or treats.

Furoshika Wed 12-Dec-12 10:12:08

I don't know the answer but I feel the same about Sky tv and having 47 different games consoles. How do people afford this?

MyBaby1day Wed 12-Dec-12 11:09:35

No idea, I don't smoke or drink at all. I am happy to spend my money on other things!.

SpecialAgentKat Wed 12-Dec-12 13:11:40

expatinscotland - DH does his own rollies too!! He's such an expert at this point I've told him to start up pottery as a hobby to rake in a bit of cash at the market. grin

Join the discussion

Join the discussion

Registering is free, easy, and means you can join in the discussion, get discounts, win prizes and lots more.

Register now