Once cigar smoking has changed from once-in-a-blue-moon into a legitimate hobby, the effect it has on your life can be extensive. Suddenly you’re not just popping into your local cigar shop looking for a quick, cheap buy, you’re asking about particular brands and know what you want. And names like Litto Gomez, Don Peppin and AJ Fernendez don’t make you say, “Who?” they’re actually the names of men you respect and, perhaps, are even fans of. Further, you’re probably researching upcoming releases, checking out review sites and are even reading monthly periodicals dedicated to cigars.
And because this is so, you’ve also noticed your wallet is substantially skinnier. You’re not just throwing down $20 a few times a year, you’re throwing down $50 a month easy! If this is you, you’re ready for a new phase in your hobby. You’re ready for discounted, online shopping!
As I’ve said before, in previous articles and in life, buying a good cigar doesn’t mean spending a lot of money. If you want status symbols, sure, go ahead and buy the most expensive box at your local B&M, or contact your inside man about those elusive Cubans. But if you’re looking for good flavor, all you need is smarts and the right places to buy.
1. Price Comparison Shopping
The easiest first step in the process is shopping around. Even locally, the difference between the price of the same cigar can change drastically. Maybe on the south side of town a La Flor Dominicana Coronado Corona Gorda costs $10, and on the north side it’s $9. The same holds true for online shopping. Check out places like Yahoo! Shopping, enter in your favorite cigar brand and then browse away. I recommend you try to find a comparative shopping site that allows you to display results by lowest to highest costs. It’ll make it easier to distinguish the deal, as the cheaper listings will tend to be singles and the costlier ones boxes.
2. Cigar auctions and Make Us An Offer
There are two sites online that allow you to pick your price. The first is Cigarbid.com and the other is Cigar International’s Make us An Offer.
Cigarbid is like your typical auction site. You sign up, search or browse their selection and put bids on various singles, 5 or 10-packs and boxes. If bidding goes too high for your blood, fine. Let it pass. If not, then you just scored a bargain! They also offer features like Free Fall, where a product continually drops over the course of several minutes. Simply accept the price that fits your budget and you’re good to go. At any time that price might reset back to max and you’ll have to wait until it comes back down, and it might not be a bad idea to let it happen. This will allow you to see where their bottom point is, which will maximize your savings.
Make Us An Offer is slightly different. They list the MSRP and allow you to name your price. Then you wait. Typically within a day they’ve reviewed your offer and have either accepted it or rejected it. If they accept it, they charge you the offer price plus shipping and that’s it. If they reject it you have the option to try again, although you must offer more than your previous price.
3. Major online discounters
Online cigar stores are a dime a dozen these days. The benefit from shopping from them is that you’re not charged the extra fees associated with B&M rent, location and, in some cases, local taxes, et cetera. Best of all they often offer special daily, weekly or even monthly discounts. Don’t forget to use your Yahoo! Search Engine to find the best ones! As a starting point, the following three are my favorites, in no particular order. (And, just for the record, I am neither affiliated with or am compensated by these companies. I’m just another bargain hunter, like you!)
Cigar.com – Their front page flash menu shows you the top six deals or special features available, sometimes with free shipping if you purchase a specified minimum. This was where I was introduced to Nica Libre, with their 20-cigar sampler for only $40 (as of 8/14/11). They also offer free shipping with $125 purchase, or a flat rate shipping cost of $5.95.
Cigarinternational.com – Like with cigar.com, they offer a front page flash menu with their top deals. Also check out their daily deals, weekend spotlight and weekly deals for more special offers, sometimes including free shipping when you purchase a specified minimum. Once in a while they’ll also offer free shipping or 10% off codes, but you’ll have to find these with a Yahoo! search. They expire too often to bother including here. They have reasonable shipping rates, as low as $5 for orders under $50 and $8.95 for orders over $100.
Cigarplace.biz – While this place doesn’t offer a lot of dazzling deals on the frontpage like the previous two sites, it does offer two equally awesome things. The first is fantastic prices on your favorite sticks and cheap or free shipping. When I’m shopping for singles this is my place to go. As for the shipping, they offer reasonable rates based on size, starting at $3, and several times monthly you can opt in for them to send you an email with free shipping instructions. Also, on the first of every month they have $1 shipping on any order.
That’s it! Now that you’re informed, go and save! Cigar smoking isn’t about spending money; it’s about a fun, leisurely hobby. And, if you ask me, it’s always more fun when it’s had at the cheapest price possible.