Look carefully at those strangers passing you by. Their wallets and purses are actually getting lighter! Or maybe it just seems that way. Christmas is over and the real "season of giving" is just getting started. Fees, taxes and tolls are all inching upward to the consternation of those paying the bills.
"That's been the general erosion of my dollar, over a period of years," said one man we met near Philadelphia City Hall Monday.
Let's start with the city's sugary drink tax.
READ MORE: Dig deeper: Philadelphia soda tax in effect
It's a penny-and-a-half per ounce, charged to distributors and almost certainly passed along-- in its entirety-- to consumers.
Like the man we met who described himself as a Mountain Dew junkie: "So I need my Mountain Dew," he told our Bruce Gordon. "It's like my coffee."
He told us he'd pay whatever he had to for his favorite soft drink.
He told us he gulps down three, one-liter bottles a day. We did the math for him: an extra 50-cents a bottle, a buck-fifty a day...that's more than $500 extra each year!
Is that Mountain Dew worth it? "No," he told us. "Time to quit."
Then there's your Comcast cable bill. It rose by 3.8% on January first.That works out to about $6 extra per month, based on the average customer's bill DirectTV will reportedly bump its rates by a similar amount later this month.
Do much driving?
Then you've probably noticed the 8-cents a gallon increase in Pennsylvania's already highest-in-the-nation gasoline tax.
This jump also took effect on the first day of the new year.
The driver who does 15,000 miles a year and gets 25 miles to the gallon, will pay an extra $4 a month.
And if you do that driving on the PA turnpike, get ready for January 8th.
That's when tolls are bumped up.
If you have EZ-Pass and commute between, say, the Mid-County exchange and the Bensalem exit, the hike is going to cost you nearly $6 extra, each month.
Most of the people we talked to, have just about given up fighting these nickel and dime increases.
"I really don't have a choice, do I?" one woman asked us. "No, I don't, so I'll go along with it. I won't argue with it, you know?"
While all the increases are small--literally pennies a day--they add up.
A person who buys one 12-ounce can of soda per day will spend an extra $66 a year in 2017.
That cable TV bill will rise by $72 annually, for the average customer.
The gasoline tax--based on our example--will lighten your wallet by $48 this year.
And the turnpike toll increase--again, based on our example--will cost you an additional $70 a year.
The grand total: an extra $256 spent in 2017 for the same goods and services you bought in 2016.
Happy New Year, indeed.