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The New Year can be a time for a fresh start. Smokers who need some motivation to kick the habit might be interested in research by the Money Advice Service, whose 'cut-back calculator' can work out how much those bad habits are costing every year.

According to MAS, a 20-a-day habit sets a smoker back between £2,300 and £2,900 in a single year, depending on whether they buy a 'premium' or 'value' brand.

What would you do with £2,900?

Repay debts, like credit cards, overdrafts?

According to Credit Action, the average unsecured household debt (which doesn't include a mortgage) in the UK at the end of October 2012 was £5,934. A smoker could save enough to clear that debt after just over two years without smoking!

Home improvements?

Making home improvements can add value to your home as well as improving your quality of life.

Magnet, for example, has an impressive range of kitchens for £3,000 or less, and that's just one idea. Double glazing, better radiators, garden enhancements, efficient boilers - the list goes on.

Or for fun...

A holiday?

Just two tempting holidays available through Thomas Cook:

  • 7 nights, five-star, all-inclusive holiday in the Cancun Area of Mexico for two adults, flying from Manchester
  • 7 nights all-inclusive, Gatwick to Tenerife in Spain, luxury 5-star for two adults and two children under 5.

What about you? How would you spend the money you saved on smoking? A car? State-of-the-art technology? A flight to visit friends on the other side of the world?

If you're a smoker and an extra £2,900 a year would really help you out, check out the NHS Smokefree service on

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