It is so expensive to live in Nova Scotia.

The real estate is the only thing that is probably cheaper than Ontario. [Except that if you want to sell, expect it to be on the market for 1-3 years (at least around here).]

Everything else hurts.

We pay fists full… no make that wheelbarrows full… of cash to the provincial government (so they can waste it on nonsense like consulting; reports; convention centres and stadiums for Halifax; apartments, generators, cameras, laptops, art work, fancy office equipment for our MLA’s; bonuses for our provincial civil service workers; and industry handouts, and more industry handouts. It seems that every week there is news of another business closing its doors… after its government money train ran out).

Here are the bills we’re looking at right now.

License Plate Stickers (good for 2 years):
My car – $162.30
Jeff’s truck – $203.40 (more for a truck… because why? Sticker is the same size!)
This is a total tax grab – what value do we get for a license sticker? What are you paying in Ontario now?

Vehicle Safety Inspection:
In Ontario, when you want to sell a vehicle, you have to do a full safety inspection. We have to do that every 2 year here (was every year, but it just changed). We don’t have to do emissions tests, but everything else. And no one would give us any sort of guidelines/rules. You are completely in the hands of the mechanic, and how much he wants to replace.
Jeff’s truck is due for his inspection before the end of September. Right now it is looking like it will be $1500. He needs a ball joint, a new windshield, some rust holes fixed on his rocker panels, and new hinges for his tailgate. His truck is a 2001 and it seems like we’ve possibly been paying enough for it in the last couple of years that we could have been making payments on a newer used truck. When is it time to let it go?

We also have to have bi-annual inspections and vehicle stickers for the boat trailer and for the 4-wheeler. Luckily they aren’t all due at the same time.

Business License:
Here you have to pay to renew your business every year. I have a small business (web design, computer stuff) so I owe another $62.89 by the end of the month.

So far does any of this money give us any sort of value?

I’ve already mentioned many times how the food here is VERY expensive, far more than even Halifax, WAY more than even Northern Ontario.

Our HST is 15% so we pay 15% of everything we buy to our provincial government. FOR WHAT? Most roads around here are barely paved anymore. They might as well be gravel – they’d be smoother.

Property taxes – we pay $1600 a year. We live in an unorganized community with no bi-laws. That is a lot of money for a snow plow and garbage pick-up.

Gas is more expensive here, even more expensive than the other Maritime provinces. I was in PEI last weekend. Gas was 9 cents cheaper in PEI, and 4 cents cheaper in New Brunswick. All are regulated and set once a week by the government. (At least we don’t have ethanol in our gas.)

We pay a $0.05 tax on every pop can or bottle (and juice and bottled water). We pay a $0.10 deposit and only get $0.05 back when we bring it to the depot. Speaking of which, the only depot to drop off our cans and bottles here is a 5 minute drive out of town. Why are we paying for this recycling? The recycled product is SOLD isn’t it? If you buy a bottled water with your lunch at a place like Tim Horton’s, you are paying an extra ten cents, and then you likely leave the bottle behind in their recycling box. Bye bye extra ten cents. And do you think Tim Horton’s paid ten cents on every bottle when they came in a truck from an out-of-province warehouse? I don’t either. Oh, and speaking of Tim Horton’s – I’m not a coffee drinker, but Dad tells me our prices are higher here for coffee than in Ontario too.

So this is a bit of a rant. But we have two people living in our house who are both employed full time. How does everyone else around here survive? Jobs paying more than minimum wage are so scarce. Add in insurance (sounds like many people don’t have house insurance after their house is paid off), hydro (rates up 36% here in the last decade), extras like cable/satellite TV, internet, phone or cell phone bill. I work with people who work full time and make less than $30,000/yr. They must live on credit. Even Dad and I who both have an iPhone with Bell – he pays less in Ontario and has package twice as good as mine (he has twice the data, and has a fav 10 list, where I have only a fav 5).

It seems to me that Nova Scotia could charge extra tax on everything, because people here have been raised in a Catholic community where they traditionally do what they are told, and pay what they are told. I never see any sort of lash back, or protest, and most people around here have never lived anywhere else so they have nothing to compare it to.

There has never been a better time to grow your own food, barter with neighbours, and cut back!

(And by the way, WAY TO GO to British Columbia for telling their government to take their HST and SHOVE IT!)

Update August 2015: It is amusing that this post continues to get so many visitors. It was a spur of the moment rant on a personal blog that still resonates.

Good jobs can be hard to come by in Nova Scotia. Before you move, I urge you to line up a job FIRST.

Job postings:

As for us, we saw no future in Nova Scotia and left this year for the Yukon Territory.