They say women marry men who are like their fathers. As Husband and my father get on very well, I can definitely appreciate some similarities. I did not realise, apparently women also marry men who are like their grandfathers. My mother's father was born in 1920 and grew up during the Great Depression. When he was 18, he joined the army and later fought in World War II. Both events had a profound influence on the rest of his life. He refused to waste anything. Many people turn bottles upside down to get out an extra serving or two, he would cut open a plastic bottle of ketchup to spoon out the accumulation in the corners. He would cut into a near empty tube of toothpaste and insert his toothbrush to scrape our every last bit. He would check the change bin every time he passed a pay phone or vending machine trying to find any unclaimed coins. He always insisted on getting value for his money. When I was 8 years old, we went to an all-you-can-eat buffet. He itemised the food on my plate and sent me back to get more so that he'd come out ahead of what he paid. This didn't include the dinner rolls and packages of crackers that he had my grandmother stuff in her purse. I actually still cut up bottles of shampoo or lotion in order to stretch out as much as I can, not out of necessity, but as a way to honour the memory of my grandfather and his greatest generation. It appears Husband does his part to give tribute by refusing to pay for anything that he doesn't have to.
He recently went on his own to pay our taxes. I was quite grateful that I didn't have to give up any precious time on a weekend to listen to the accountant at H&R Block coo over Husband's accent and comment how he sounds like the Geico Gecko. We actualy ended up getting money back from the state of California, which is almost unheard of, but ended up owing the Feds $34.00. He had the option to pay with a credit card at that time, which carries a 2% surcharge. Not wanting to pay one penny more, he took the return home, wrote out a cheque and placed it in our postbox. Long story short: someone stole the return from the box and we became victims of identity theft.
Epilogue: Thanks to attentive personal at XYZ bank who worked with the post office, the thief was apprehended and an arrest was made. He did however manage to change all the contact information in Husband's online bank account and set up new bill pays and he ordered a set of cheques with his name and mine. We had to change all our accounts and order all new credit cards and signed up for Lifelock. Huge inconvenience and hassle, but it could have been much worse.
Once we figured out how the breech of security occurred, I was infuriated with Husband's thriftiness. It's a family joke that I don't like to do maths before 9 AM, but I could have easily figured out that 2% of 34 dollars is 68 cents. Seriously, you can't even get a pack of gum for 68 cents. For 68 cents, we could have been done and dusted with our 2012 tax return. Honesty, they could have charged me 6 dollars and I would have paid it just for the privilege of not having to think about the tax return anymore.
So what, if anything did we learn from all of this? Firstly, pay everything online and if we are sending anything out containing a cheque (reminder to self to send little Myrtle's christening gift) take it directly to the post office. This was the most expensive 68 cents we ever saved.