Boxing Week. Still have money left. Best spend it all. (Note that on Boxing Day, Burnaby RCMP had to ask the public to stop clogging 911 lines with complaints of traffic jams in shopping mall parking lots. Really.)
By next week, the holiday glow will be gone. So will the Christmas treats (you’ll be jonesing like a junkie, digging down the back of the couch for a stray piece of shortbread). No more money, either.
With that in mind, here are a few budget-planning considerations for 2013:
-- Medical Services Plan premiums are rising four per cent Jan. 1 to $66.50 for most individuals and $133 for a family of three or more. This might surprise the Tea Party types who vowed to “move to Canada” after the advent of Obamacare/communism.
-- Workers’ Employment Insurance premiums will rise Jan. 1 to a maximum of $891 a year, up $51. Canada Pension Plan contributions go up $49.50. Together, that’s the cost of a single Canucks ticket.
-- Canada’s Post’s letter rate rises two cents to 63 cents on Jan. 14. That’s only 15 cents a year to the average Canadian, but annoying when you don’t have one-cent stamps. You can beat the change by buying “permanent” stamps, which are always valued at the going letter rate.
-- It will be Back to the Future when the 12 per cent HST is replaced by the five per cent GST and seven per cent provincial sales tax on April 1, returning us to 2009: Prince William will be single, Tiger Woods married, Gordon Campbell premier again. Well, no, but most of the old PST exemptions — restaurant meals, books, bikes and so on — will return. No more exemptions for private car and boat sales, though. Low-income British Columbians will lose their HST rebates, with just the poorest getting a relatively meagre B.C. sales tax credit.
-- Some Victoria bus fares will actually drop April 1: Monthly passes for those aged six to 18, and over 65, will fall to $45 from $52. But the $1.65 discounted single fares for those groups will be eliminated, meaning everyone will pay $2.50 for a single trip.
Adult all-day passes will fall to $5 from $7.75. An adult with a day pass will be able to bring up to four children aged 12 or under for free. Personally, I would rather stick needles in my eyes.
-- Hydro rates go up 1.44 per cent — an average of $1.20 a month for the average household — on April 1. This will fund the installation of brain-scanning devices in your smart meters so that They can listen to you think about chemtrails.
-- Ferry fares jump 4.1 per cent on April 1. The current $64.10 Tsawwassen-Swartz Bay car-and-driver rate will rise to three ounces of gold, your first-born child and one kidney. Financing available on approved credit, low monthly payments.
-- The fee for a five-year passport jumps to $120 from $87 on (pause here to ponder Stephen Harper’s quirky sense of humour) Canada Day. A 10-year passport will cost $160. Don’t complain — if you have a passport, it means you can afford to travel.
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