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A day in the life of HST

That morning bagel and cup of java you grabbed this morning cost $4.20, but a year from now breakfast will cost 28 cents more.

A quarter and a few pennies may not seem like much, but over the course of a day, a month or a year, dollars lost to the harmonized sales tax are going to add up.

Just picture it: Ted and Suzy have two boys, Timmy and Sally, aged seven and 12 respectively.

Ted works as a forklift driver and his wife Suzy is a receptionist at a chiropractor's office.

Suzy took the car to work today so Ted, pressed for time, had to take a taxi. Cost for the ride today: $12.80 cents. Cost with the HST this time next year: $14.34.

Suzy gets out of work early and picks up the boys to get their haircut. As the barber dusts the hair from Timmy's forehead, mom picks the $40 tab. Next year: $42.80.

When the couple comes home tonight they have a pile of bills to go through.

Sitting on the dining room table are bills for hydro, cable and Internet, telephone and newspapers totalling $250. Next year: $267.50.

And the couple still hasn't considered a mechanic's bill, fees for the kids to go to karate classes, back-to-school supplies, and four super-saver plane tickets on sale now for a flight before Christmas to go see family in Winnipeg.

Tomorrow it's grocery shopping for the week and family night out at the International House of Pancakes - a Saturday night tradition.

Obviously, there's a theme developing.

The harmonized sales tax is going to hit families every day.

Donna Francis, a financial life coach, said families need to keep track of spending now so they can prepare for the seven per cent.

"Once you take a look at your personal economy then you have to look at conscious mindful spending," she said. "We have to get back to some of the basics and record keeping is big. It's not only going to tell you where you've been, it's going to tell you where you're going."

Dharm Makwana reports for Vancouver 24 hours.

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