Where the cost of living is concerned, the New Year will have its ups and downs.
If you like to eat, you’re gonna pay more.
According to the Canada Food Price Report 2018, co-published by Dalhousie and Guelph universities, the annual grocery bill for a family of four is predicted to be $348 more in 2018, rising to a total $11,948.
And, if you like vegetables, look out. The report predicts a four- to six-per-cent increase in vegetable prices because of “unaccommodating” climate conditions.
And, if you like eating out at restaurants, prepare to spend more. The average family will spend $208 more, the report predicts.
“The average home is expected to spend almost 30 per cent of its food budget in food service, the highest level in history,” the report’s executive summary states.
If you own an “average” Surrey home, you can expect a $154.07 increase in taxes in 2018, with new city and Metro rates combined, based on an assessed value of $1,030,922 for an average single-family dwelling in this city.
There is some good news, though.
Commuters will continue to enjoy not paying tolls on the Port Mann and Golden Ears bridges. Moreover, effective Jan. 1, Medical Services Premiums will be cut by 50 per cent, dropping rates for couples to $75 from $150.
FortisBC announced in early December it will drop the price of natural gas as of Jan. 1. The average household should expect a decrease of about $45 this year, or six per cent.
There will be a BC Hydro rate freeze effective April 2018, and if you like riding the ferry, fees on B.C.’s major routes are destined to freeze on April 1. (Hopefully that’s no joke).
Up in the air still are transit fee changes.
Oh yeah, and if you rent, your landlord can increase your housing charge by up to four per cent in 2018.