MILLIONS of families face an eye-watering squeeze on budgets as a wave of household costs jump today.
Council tax, water, dentist bills and air fares are among the prices rising with the beginning of the tax year, which some have dubbed 'national price hike day'.
It comes after stamp prices already increased earlier this week, with a first-class now costing 64p and a second-class costing 55p.
NHS dental charges are surging by an inflation-busting five per cent, meaning the cost of a check-up will be just shy of & pound; 20 - at & pound; 1970.
The price of a filling and other procedures will rise up to & pound; 5390.
At the same time, council tax will see the biggest jumps in eight years, hitting families with an extra & pound; 54 a year on average.
The price of water is also rising by one per cent to an average & pound; 389 a year.
And prescription costs are leaping from & pound; 820 to & pound; 840.
Even wigs for cancer patients on the NHS will face will be more expensive, increasing by 1.7 per cent.
An extra three per cent stamp duty charge for landlord and second home buyers also takes effect today, adding thousands of pound to the cost of buying a property.
Air passenger duty on long-haul flights is also increasing by three per cent, adding & pound; 2 in tax to the cost of economy fares and & pound; 4 to others.
To make matters worst, EE, O2 and Three are also using up prices for customers from April.
Hannah Maundrell, editor in chief of money.co.uk, said "Whilst we normally associate the 1st April with the impending start of the new tax year, it seems to have become national price hike day.
" The majority of the price hikes seem pretty small, many as low as 1%. However, all these small hikes add up and lead to fewer pounds in your pocket.
"It feels as though all the media hype about low mortgage rates and low inflation is leading people into a false sense of security. Whilst we can not avoid things like the increase in the cost of postage and NHS charges, we can control the cost of many other things we spend money on - like our phone or digital TV contracts.
"We really should not forget the good lessons we learnt about budgeting from the tough times we had in the last recession. This really is time to make hay while the sun shines, not splash more cash than you need to. "
Jonathan Isaby, chief executive of the TaxPayers' Alliance, added: "Most families have faced a creeping Council tax rise over the last 20 years so attempts to blame today's tax rise on recent central government spending reductions ring hollow in many cases .
"The sad truth remains that some local authorities have failed to find necessary savings and cut out waste, instead being too quick to plug any holes in their budgets through tax hikes.
" Families already struggling with sky-high bills will be hit hard again by today's significant tax hike. "