April 05, 2011

Cost of Living vs Actual Costs

Just when you think you are getting ahead of the game, they blindside you. Starting immediately, the skipper will pay 28% more as a pensioner for the Public Service Health Care Plan (PSHCP) family level 2 ($46.36 to $59.32). The basic level coverage goes up an astonishing 43%. No notice, unless you count a news item 5 years ago about cost sharing that no one understood.

In the last year, fuel oil has gone up 31% and gas for the car has gone up 23%. (fuel prices) Hydro rates have shot up. The base cost per kWh increased 14% (5.7¢ to 6.5¢) in the year before September 2010, when TOI pricing began. This was offset somewhat by Ontario deducting 10% from the bill -- it's an election year. (sigh) Comparing groceries is harder, since it varies so much as we cook from scratch. We rarely eat out any more.

The City of Ottawa was busy congratulating themselves on keeping our tax increases to 2.5% this year. Huh? It would be nice if our income was going up that much! Meanwhile, our biggest expenses for fuel, food, utilities, and taxes are increasing above the "Consumer Price Index" (CPI), currently 2.2%.

This year's indexed pension checks went up 1.7%. The Public Service pension, Canada Pension Plan (CPP and Old Age Security (OAS) are supposed to be increased every January based on the CPI but it doesn't seem to match our cost increases at all. Fuel, food, utilities, and taxes have all gone up more than 1.7%. They are our largest costs and all difficult to reduce without starving, freezing, not using hot water, or selling our house and car!