Beating cigar price & tax increases: A how-to

I count myself pathologically optimistic: While others bemoan winter's arctic freeze, I'm bundling up to try a new Petite Corona. Stuck in a traffic jam? Perfect - think I'll pop in this CD I've been meaning to check out. When life throws me lemons, I make Long Island Iced Tea. You get the point.

Unfortunately for cigar smokers, the good news has slowed to a trickle. Between our tattered economy, absurd anti-smoking legislation, manufacturers raising prices, and newly-minted cigar taxes, it's getting tough to maintain a positive outlook. Here's a guide for putting the pep back in your step.

1. House Brands
You're already familiar with superstar cigar manufacturers like CAO, Rocky Patel, Jesus Fuego, and Nick Perdomo. In addition to nationally branded lines, they also create budget-friendlier cigars exclusively for retailers. Some good examples that come to mind are the CAO CX2, Conuco (Rocky Patel), Royal Nicaraguan bundles (J. Fuego), or the Private Selection 70th Anniversary Edition Nick Perdomo created for Famous Smoke Shop.

2. Sign up for weekly email sales
These email-only cigar specials offer tons of bang-for-the-buck. While you won't want to pull the trigger on every one, you'll certainly have more options for saving money on top-quality smokes, plus freebies like matching boxes, free samplers, and free shipping.

3. Cigar AuctionsCigar auction websites are like "the eBays of cigars" and one of the best ways to get a great deal. You have to do a little extra work, but it's usually well worth it. Many bids often start at $1, but the key is to check back early and often on whatever you're bidding on.

4. One-Deal-A-Day cigar sitesThese sites are like "Woot" for cigars and often offer the biggest savings of all. The key here is you have to check the cigar deal-a-day websites every day, so it pays to bookmark them. You may not always find your "ideal" cigar there, but patience pays off in spades once you hit that hot item you'll been waiting for.

How do YOU plan on "beating the man?"

- Hayward Tenney


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