We cigar smokers are very fortunate to have an abundance of great cigars on the market today. Even for those without legal access to Cubans, there is no shortage of choices out there for smokers of all levels and preferences. Simultaneously, there is an abundance of information about all the new, limited, highly anticipated, must-try cigars that never stop coming out. For those of us with budgets tighter than the draw of a plugged figurado, seeing all of these sought-after gems in everyone else’s hands can create a bad case of stash-envy.
So, what does one do when he wants to enjoy the best, but can’t afford it? The obvious answer is to make friends with someone who is wealthy and generous with their cigars or money. But if that is not an option (or you aren’t cool with being a mooch), then you need another way to work within the budget you have. But how?
Well, just as there are tons of great cigars and information about them, there are lots of ways to stretch your hard-earned cigar-buying dollar. First, it’s important to prioritize. What are your goals? Are you trying to acquire pricier rare or limited release cigars, or do you just want to amass large quantities of your favorites? Do you know what kind of cigars you like, or are you trying to discover your preferences? Do you want to smoke every day, less frequently, or only on special occasions? Last but not least, are you going to have a set budget each month, or will there be times of the year when money will be more or less abundant?
If your head is swimming already, then you can just tackle one decision at a time (preferably while smoking a nice cigar!).
Next, you need to consider which shopping option is best for you: the local B&M or online retailers. While you may pledge allegiance to one or the other depending on values or necessity, personally, I say both are deserving of my business. For me, I buy a few sticks every time I go to the local shop that I really want to try or just enjoy smoking. While they may offer the occasional deals on a bundle or box, I usually have to find those online. I buy 5- or 10-packs of a brand I know I like online in order to take advantage of better deals.
Beyond the usual retail sites, there are also several bargain sites and tools you can use to find the lowest prices. Some examples are Cigar Auctioneer or, my personal favorite, CigarMonster (I’m a sucker for a great deal AND free shipping!). Additionally, signing up for emails or joining clubs and private groups can grant you further access to deals or hard-to-find items.
To further assist you in deciding what you want to purchase, it is wise to utilize the resources you have available. There are countless review sites, magazines, and forums that can provide you with more information than you can imagine. Forums are great for more immediate feedback, review sites for identifying cigars that are in your wheelhouse, and magazines/e-zines/blogs for great information on new releases and where you might find those rare/hard to find cigars you’re dying to try.
Now that you know what you want, where to get it, and how much you can spend, it’s time to hit up that wealthy friend of yours and ask for help! Oh yeah, that’s the missing piece. Well, you’ll just have to settle for your regular friends for now. Pool your resources together and share a box of cigars! Make friends online (despite your Mother’s advice not to) and set up some trades. Make friends at your local shop and see if they can possibly cut you a deal. In other words, don’t be afraid to let others know your situation and ask for help. The cigar community is a very caring and generous one. Just don’t try to take advantage of it in a negative way, and you’ll find there are many who will help you on your quest.
Whatever you decide, there are more than enough great cigars out there that can fit in just about anyone’s budget. You just have to be willing to explore multiple options, exercise patience, be honest with yourself, and do a little planning and prioritizing. Just remember, while it would be really cool to go out and grab all the most sought after cigars possible, if doing so makes other areas of your life stressful and unmanageable, is it really worth it?