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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.

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.

ArbitraryUsername Tue 11-Dec-12 08:45:47

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

ArbitraryUsername Tue 11-Dec-12 08:51:26

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.

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