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5 federal budget changes that will make your Friday nights more costly

From booze to cigarettes to cab rides, a night out is about to hit your wallet
Julie Cazzin
Bay street in Toronto (Shutterstock)

What can you say about the 2017 budget? While it was short on specifics for big-ticket items like helping homeowners afford to get into the housing market, it did have details on some changes that will affect your pocket book each and every week. Make no mistake, partying with your friends any night of the week has just gotten more expensive for you. Here’s five ways this budget will make your Friday night more expensive.

1. Get ready to pay more for your after-work booze dates as well as the beer you drink while watching those Game of Throne episodes with friends back at your condo. Excise duty rates on alcohol products are going up by 2 per cent effective well, right now. That means if you spend $3,000 a year on wine and booze, that will increase by $60 to $3,060.

2. With excise taxes increasing, your cigarettes will cost a bit more too. Look for a 2.5 per cent increase, or about 53 cents on every 200 cigarettes. Tobacco sticks, if you’re into them, are also going up.

3. And just as you’re getting ready to go home, and pulling out your cell phone to call for a lift, realize that Uber rides are also going up as ride-sharing services now have to charge GST/HST on your ride—13 per cent in Ontario.

4. Thinking of taking the bus home instead? That won’t be as cost-effective as it used to be either. The credit for transit bus passes will also be eliminated effective July 1st. (You can still buy the passes—you just won’t get a tax credit for it.)

5. And while you may have contributed to Canada Savings Bonds over the years, either at your bank or through your employer, and celebrated when you cashed them in—spending the interest on more partying with your friends—that’s over as of this fall. It’s no longer cost-effective for the federal government to sell them. The upside? Savvy investors know they have plenty of viable alternatives to CSBs, so not a huge loss, except perhaps for the nostalgic few who remember it as being their first investment when their dad walked them to the bank at age eight to buy one.

The good news? If there is any, it’s just that a lot of the taxes we thought were going to change didn’t. So no capital gains rate inclusion rate increase, no dividend tax credit change, no material increases in marginal tax rates, and no tax on cap gains on your principal residence. So hurray for the status quo—at least on these bigger items.