Cheap vape tips – from a vaping miser!
As a long-term vaper (and miser), I’m always on the look out for cheap vape tips and new ways to save money vaping. I spend no more than £200 total per year on hardware and e liquid, and I vape pretty much all the time.
Ever since I began vaping, I’ve been trying to see just how much I can cut the (already) low cost of my vape habit. I buy from bargain clearance sections, mix my own vape juice and almost never buy any gear that’s just come out. I’ve even tried making my own budget vape juice from tobacco. And all this, just for a cheap vape. It’s sad, I know.
The good news is that you too can vape on the cheap, even if you don’t take things quite as far I as have!
Some people seem to spend nearly everything they earn on vaping, while others seem to get by managing to vape on the cheap. Often for just a few pounds a week.
If you follow my advice, you should be able to get by on spending no more than £200 a year – or less – on vaping hardware and vape juice combined. Just bear in mind that vapers who ignore budget vape advice often end up spending a LOT more than that.
Click on each of my vape budget tips here to get estimated savings:
- Avoid pre-mixed 10ml vape juices – go for shortfills instead
- Mix your own homemade vape juice
- Swap your disposable coils for RDA/RTAs
- Buy budget gear from vape clearance sections
- Avoid pod vapes like the plague
- Order brand-new vape hardware direct from China
How cheap is YOUR vape?
One of the best ways to vape on a budget is to do a quick audit of your vaping outgoings. In other words, simply look at what you spend over a month or year on vaping, and write it down. Can you spot any gaping “black holes” (e.g. branded deluxe vape juice) in your vape spend that could be wasting your money right now?
Once you’ve audited – and identified these spending traps, then you can start looking for cheap ways to vape.
You may be surprised at where all that cash is going. But you’ll learn something – and this will save you a lot money in the long term.
DIY mixing has always been the one of the most cost-saving ways to vape in the UK. But some vapers are often not aware of just how much they can save by mixing their own low cost homemade vape liquid at home.
DIY e-liquid mixing means buying and mixing your own less expensive vape juice ingredients yourself. This is instead of buying pre-mixed vape juice and shortfills.
Nowadays, ready-made DIY vape kits are available for just a few pounds. Kits like these make it easy to get started and take a lot of the pain out of the DIY mixing process.
Low cost of DIY mixing vape supplies
To say DIY mixing ingredients and vape supplies are cheap is an understatement.
Costing only around £12.50 per month, ultra low-cost vape ingredients make DIY mixing a surefire way to vape on a shoestring in the UK.
Want to make a year’s supply of your own cheap vape juice from your own ingredients? At current (2020) UK prices you shouldn’t have to spend more than about £150 in total on all your basic supplies.
That’s £12.50 per month, and less than 50p per day (see comparison chart below):
DIY “homemade” vape juice vs bottles and shortfills – monthly and yearly cost
Beginner vapers like using disposable coils because they’re a doddle. You just screw on your coil. Then you chuck it away after a few days when it gets too clogged up.
But then again, they’re a bit of a waste of money.
New users are often aware that disposables are expensive. But they don’t like the idea of having to learn how to set up a rebuildable coil themselves.
If you’re happy with the simplicity of buying disposable vape coils and you can bear the cost of doing this, please carry on.
On the other hand, you might prefer to reduce your vaping costs. You could do this by switching to a cheaper-to-run reusable / rebuildable coil and tank combo.
Cost of disposable coils
Prices and types of disposable vape coils vary hugely. However, in the UK, you can expect to pay from £8 up to £12 for a pack of five single-use vape coils.
This works out on average at about £2 per coil.
You can expect coils to last from around 5 to 10 days before you need to screw on a new one. This cost can vary according to coil quality, how often you vape, voltage, the kind of e-liquid you use, etc.
However, let’s assume you get through one throwaway coil per week (typical usage). This way, you’d end up spending around £100 per year in total – just on coils.
Cheaper option of pre-made coils, cotton and unit
£100 on coils a year doesn’t seem like a huge price to pay. But it is nonetheless unnecessary when you could just buy your own much cheaper RTA/RDA tank, pre-wound coils and cotton. Why not save a little cash?
To break this cost down, a single 20-pack (easily a year’s supply) of pre-wound coils would cost you no more than £5. A bag of high-grade vape cotton (6 months’ supply) would cost you around the same.
The only other extra expense you’d need to bear would be a rebuildable coil unit. This would be either a drip tank (RDA), a regular tank (RTA), or a combination of the two (RDTA).
Rebuildable coil units vary massively in quality, style and price. However, for just £20 or so (plus £10 for your pre-wound coils and cotton), you’d still make a saving of £70 per year. Why not go for the cheaper option?
Have you ever bought vape gear from a clearance section of a vape website? Or do you instead find yourself always looking to buy the very latest vape gear, without even considering the price?
For many Brits these days, vaping has become very different from what it used to be. Brand new vape gear is what vapers have to have, while end-of-line stuff is just not worth bothering about.
What was once an inexpensive and less harmful alternative to smoking has now become a lifestyle for many vapers. And it’s a lifestyle that requires regular big spends on the latest vape hardware.
That is unless you decide to start buying end-of-line clearance vape gear.
UK vape shops and online stores have responded to the constant demand for new stuff. And they do this by clearing out old products as soon as the next big thing comes along.
Devices that were fine to vape on this time last year suddenly appear in the bargain clearance vape section of their websites. And this is within just a few months of those products launching.
Bargain clearance opportunities for budget vapes
This of course creates an opportunity for thriftier UK customers. You know, cheapskates (like me) on the constant look out for budget vapes.
You can fly with this by either “skimming” or “scanning” for cheaper clearance items you want online. If you’re lucky, you’ll end up with a spanking brand new mod (from last year) at a fraction of the price.
On the other hand, if you haven’t a clue exactly what you’re after, you can just “skim” for cut-price unwanted items. Do this by running a web search for something like “clearance+mods”. It’s also a good idea to specify a recent time span and location (e.g. in last month / UK).
Failing that, you can also try going through the clearance sections of your favourite web stores and see what they have there. It’s always worth a shot!
Check before you buy budget clearance vape gear!
Clearance vape bargains are always a bit of a lucky dip. So, it’s a good idea to do a little research (on vape forums) before you buy the reduced-price item you want. This is just to see if it’s any good in the first place.
On the other hand, you may already have a specific end-of line device in mind (e.g. a tank or mod). If so, you can “scan” for it by running an online search for the discounted device.Simply run a search with the device name followed by the term: “clearance”, e.g. “Smok X123 Mod + clearance”.
The bad news is that some web stores are finding ways to exploit this increased demand for cheaper end-of-line gear. These rogues are now starting to fill their clearance sections with old items, but at full price. Be quick!
Pod vapes are simple to use and seem like a cheap way to vape at first.
Basic pod bundles start at only around £15 nowadays, which is pretty good value for a starter kit. Thanks to such low kit prices, leading pod vape brands are now outselling standard e-cig models the world over. And new vapers buy them in the millions.
However, people often underestimate the potential cost of constantly stocking up on disposable pre-filled juice cartridges. And pretty soon they find their pod vape is draining all of their cash.
Avoiding pod e-cigs is another wise way to save literally hundreds of pounds and vape on the cheap!
Pod vapes are cheap to buy.. at first!
Pod e-cigs are a cheap enough way to vape in the short-term. This is especially true if you need a backup device.Pods are also great if you want to vape without having to buy refill juice or top up tanks all the time. After all, they do all that for you.
Pod vapes are also designed with satisfaction in mind. You can rely on them to give you that quick nicotine fix in a couple of puffs without any fuss. However, there is a catch..
Though some UK-designed pod vape systems are refillable, most have a “closed system” design. This means that you can’t refill them with your own vape juice (at least officially). Sooner or later, costs build up – and especially if pods are your only full-time vape.
Pod refills from leading brands cost in the region of £2.50 each. They typically contain around 2 ml of nicotine per capsule. This gives you just under 300 puffs before you need to dispose of the pod and attach a new one.
Cost of pods vs refilling
Compare pod refill costs with the average price of branded vape juice (around £4 per 10 ml bottle) and you can see how little value for money for you get with non-refillable pod vape devices.
A fresh cartridge might last you a day or so if you only have the odd puff – but it’s more likely you’ll get through two, three, or more pods in any given a day if this is your only vape device. Even if you use only two pods per day (£5), you’ll be looking at a total cost of £1,825 on pods over a year.
If you must own a pod vape, use it as a back-up only – otherwise avoid or suffer the damage to your bank balance. This is definitely not a cheap way to vape in the UK!
Are you still buying tiny 10 ml bottles of vape liquid and paying (on average) £4 for each one on a near-daily basis? If so, you’d do well to consider the comparatively cheap option of shortfills, which generally cost a fraction of the price of bottled vape juice.
Daily e-liquid usage and cost if you don’t use shortfills
On average, vapers who don’t use shortfills probably get through around 5 – 7 ml of e-liquid every day, though others use considerably more. However much vape juice you get through, consider this:
If you bought just one 10 ml bottle of pre-mixed e-liquid every day, for one year, you would have spent around £120 a month – or just under £1,500 by the end of that year. That’s a lot of money you didn’t need to spend, and an unnecessarily expensive way to vape.
Cost of shortfills per month / year
Shortfills on the other hand, will cost you just £50 per month – or £600 per year for the same amount of e-liquid. Shortfills are nic-free, flavoured vape juice bases, which come in big bottles and give you the option of adding your own nicotine shots.
Regardless of the actual amount of bottled e-liquid you’re vape every day right now, shifting over to lower cost shortfill e-liquid is an easy way to slash your vape spending overnight by 70%. This means you can treat yourself to a potential saving of over £900 a year!
Unlike 10ml e-liquids, shortfills come in bigger bottles of 100 ml. UK shortfill prices average around £11 unmixed, or up to £16 with nicotine shots added onto your order.
Even with nic shots included, switching to shortfills costs less money over time. For those who want a simple, inexpensive, mess-free vape, shortfills are a great way to start saving money.
I know this sounds like an unlikely way to vape on the cheap in the UK given the distance, potential customer service issues etc, but ordering vape gear from China can nevertheless cut your vaping costs by a country mile.
It also means you can get the very latest stuff before anyone else does – and at a bargain price.
Is vape gear from China really any cheaper than buying in UK?
Yes. If you’re buying direct from China you can expect to pay from half to two-thirds of the UK retail price.
As you probably already know, the vast majority of electronic hardware we buy in the UK is made very cheaply in China, and vape gear is no exception.
If you’ve ever wondered how much extra you are paying for vapes bought in UK stores, have a quick glance at newest items in any of the big online Chinese vape outlets and see how much the same things sell for.
The price differences are usually huge.
Delivery times and costs from China to UK
You’ll probably have to wait for a week or more for your order to arrive (there are usually “express” and “economy” delivery options available).
You’ll also need to pay for the cost of overseas delivery from China to the UK – but this isn’t huge (currently from £9 to £18 if you order with Vapesourcing).
Do I need to buy vape gear from China in bulk?
Not usually, though this was the case in the past. However, buying budget vape gear from China is only cost-effective if you order a few bits of vape hardware at once.
In other words, you’ll need to offset your delivery costs by placing a big enough order to make a saving on the gear you want delivered. But it doesn’t have to be such a huge amount of stuff for this to work. For example:
Placing an order of £100 could bag you a bargain of up to 3 or 4 new mods, a couple of tanks and a few packs of vape coils. The postage cost wouldn’t be worth worrying about because after all, your total order would have cost 30% less than what you might have paid for the same gear in the UK.
So, if you don’t mind waiting a while – and you have enough funds to place a fairly big order, getting your vaping hardware from China to UK can potentially save you a fortune.
One final budget vaping tip: don’t ignore deals
These days almost all UK vape suppliers are competing fiercely for market share. To achieve this, they very regularly offer big discounts on their products to keep customers loyal.
Making sure to sniff around and make use of deals and offers on vaping products orders is a surefire way to vape cheaply in the UK.
Inflated vape prices
In many cases, the product retail prices you see on websites are already inflated by suppliers to allow for discounts, and this is why you should NEVER pay the full price for UK vape products without first searching hard for vape discount coupons or deals on them.
As a general rule, discount offers are usually bigger (often as high as 30%) on orders from new customers, though existing customers can also benefit from ongoing discounts of 10% – or even 20% – in some online vape stores.
Vape loyalty schemes help save money
Alongside running searches for discount coupons, you should also find out if your supplier or store has a points or loyalty scheme, which will credit you with points for every purchase you make.
Of course, though a few pennies here and there doesn’t seem like a lot of money you’re saving at the time, after a while, it will make a difference to the amount of money you spend.
Loyalty schemes are pretty common in physical stores in the UK (high street vape shops) so it’s always worth asking if they have one before you buy anything.