Sunday, February 27, 2011

Series of Significance: “Thing$ Going North $$”

[The following posts, about ten costs or debts growing simultaneously that affect Canadians, appeared in March, 2010. They are still relevant today, though some figures are updated and the list is now longer.]

Live Small and Prosper: “Thing$ Going North $$” PT 1

My mottoes ‘Live Small’, ‘live small and prosper,’ and ‘reduce spending, pay down debts and save money for the tough times ahead’ seem to be getting more important every day.

I wouldn’t be surprised if the federal Conservatives try to squeeze a bit of one of my mottoes into our national anthem - while they’re tinkering with it in order to distract people from the fact they don’t know how to solve Canada’s large financial, economic and environmental problems.

(Hint: Start off with 'O Canada, our home and mortgaged land...

Then, after the phrase ‘true patriot love,’ throw in ‘save dough 'cause times are tough.’)

To do my part, I’ll maintain a list of things that are going North ($$$), as far as our wallets are concerned.

First, our national debt will go over $600 billion in 2012, according to Canada’s Dept. of Finance.

(As of Feb. 27, 2011, this is still true, though it may happen earlier).

Second, our hydro bills will rise once we switch to the new ‘smart meter’ rates.

(They may rise more than anticipated).

Third, oil just past $80 US per barrel. That can’t be good (unless it’s burbling from your back yard. Is it? Call me).

(Feb. 27, 2011: Price per barrel is now $98.23 US).

Fourth, Canada’s average household debt to income ratio just went from 140 to 145 percent (predicted to be at 160 soon).

(It is now 150 percent).

Fifth, experts predict that higher interests are on the way, so mortgages and lines of credit will cost Canadians more.

Sixth, the HST (Hiked Sales Tax) will be starting in just a few months, and many shopping purchases and monthly bills will cost Canadians more.

Seventh, a copy of Batman’s debut in a 1939 comic book sold recently for $1.075 million US. So, if you’re into rare comics (and I say, why not), start saving up.

Okay, that’s enough good news for one day.


Canada, did I miss anything else going North ($$$)?

Have you bought a new piggy bank lately?


Live Small and Prosper: “Thing$ Going North $$” PT 2

I have the feeling that monthly expenses for North Americans will be going north for many years to come.

I suppose if I valiantly did research everyday into all the things that make us debtors in our own land I’d be one busy boy, so I won’t.

I’ll just keep a list for people of the province of Ontario and Canada as major bills come to my attention.

Please realize, of course, that I don’t always pay attention to any one thing for long.

8. Ontario’s provincial debt is approaching $200 billion. I’ll be out of town when it happens so someone please pop a balloon for me.


Is it too late to add the following? Reduce spending, pay down debt, save money for the tough times ahead.


Live Small and Prosper: “Thing$ Going North $$” PT 3

I may have missed something, but based on my limited knowledge, I don’t think anything has gone North ($$$) in Canada since Tuesday, March 9, 2010.

However, I just spotted news about another item that will soon cause monthly expenses for the citizens of Canada to rise, so I need to add it to the growing list.

9. This just in - Canadians are paying an average of 12 cents a liter more for gasoline at the pumps than a year ago ($1.04 average/liter at present), and they tend to move even higher in the spring, causing many drivers to wonder if they should drive fewer kilometres to save money.

Okay, that’s enough good news for one day.

(Average prices in London now appear to be between $1.15 and $1.21 per liter)


Live Small and Prosper: “Thing$ Going North $$” PT 4

Wasn’t it just yesterday I added something to this list?

Life seems to be getting more expensive here in Canada by the week, and now I wonder - is it all just long overdue?

Have we been living too high off the proverbial hog for decades?

My list, started in early March, now has a long-awaited number ten.

10. Core inflation increases: Our inflation rate, which includes the effect of volatile items such as fuel, fruit and vegetables, rose more than forecast in February and is now up to 2.1% for the last full year.

Higher car prices and a steep jump in accommodation costs during the Vancouver Olympics were the main factors driving the gain.

Raise your hand if you didn’t buy a new car or go to the Olympics.

Hey, me neither. We pay anyway.


Live Small and Prosper: “Thing$ Going North $$” PT 5

Recently, it came to my attention that two more very important items must be added to the list in 2011.

11. U.S. debt

It stands at about $14 trillion today and will likely hit $20 trillion in 4 - 5 years. Because it will be a BIG economic drag in the U.S., Canada and the London region for a long time I feel compelled to include it here.

12. Food costs

Prices will likely increase 5% to 10% over the next year or so.

Rising crop prices, e.g., related to corn, soy bean and wheat, will eventually cause food costs to go steadily North.

Especially affected will be thousands of items that contain corn syrup and other sugars, and meat stocks (chicken, beef, pork) that are fed on tonnes of locally produced grains.

More than the smoke from the BBQ will bring tears to our eyes this summer.



Please click here to read a series of related posts concerning US debt.


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