Apparently, DH and I are NOT paying attention to our financial matters. This can be a problem as you will soon find out when you hear about all the stupid tax fees we got hit with this week!
At the start of every work week, DH is given $60 in cash (his calculations, not mine). This is supposed to cover his gas and any little emergencies that might come up. Unfortunately, DH considers a little emergency buying himself a bottle of flavored seltzer each and every afternoon ($2) and an occasional candy bar (despite packing both candy & bottled water in his lunch box). DH says he works hard and he deserves these treats. Throw in a banana every once in a while at a buck a-piece for good luck.
On Friday, DH’s car ran out of gas. He just barely made it to the gas station only to find out their network was down and he couldn’t use his credit card. Why did DH want to use his credit card to buy gas after he had his allotted weekly sixty bucks to supposedly cover this expenditure? Because he had no cash! How could he when he’s spending about 33% of his alloted allowance on soda, candy bars and bananas? The gas station attendant told him their ATM machine was working if he needed cash to buy gas. DH called me first before using the ATM where I promptly scolded him for mishandling his money so improperly. DH’s solution was for me to give him more cash for the week. Really? I don’t think so.
Anyway, DH was stuck at that gas station because he let his gas tank go so low he couldn’t drive to another gas station or find one of our bank’s ATM machines. DH used the gas station’s ATM machine where he was immediately charged a $3 fee and our bank also charged another $3. SIX DOLLARS TO TAKE OUR OWN MONEY OUT OF THE BANK! I called our bank the next day to request a refund and they told me they eliminated that benefit a year ago. This was the first time in 16 years, since we first started banking with this bank, that I ever had to pay any ATM fees. The bank didn’t care about my loyalty or good behavior. DH and I were now out $6.00 because of his inability to manage his own life. Yes, things happen BUT when you are on a fixed income, things like this should be easy to avoid.
This wasn’t the end to bank fees, however. I needed a bank check this week as the down payment on our new RV. The bank charged me $10 for this privilege. WHAT? I usually got this service free because of all the total funds we have deposited in this bank. No more, said the clerk. “We stopped that two years ago“. That shows you how long it has been since I have used any of the bank services.
The next two faux pas are my fault. I usually pay all of the bills near the end of the month when I get my SS check. This month the check came in super late and I was NOT paying attention to all the due dates. I paid two bills one day late AND got charged $27 and $5 for these two stupid tax errors respectively. The first was on DH’s credit card, which he promptly called and got the money refunded (as it was his first offense) with no bad mark on his credit file. The second was to a utility company and no, they weren’t waving the fee. Too bad.
The total amount for this week of Stupid Tax came to $48! When you are on a fixed income, as DH and I try to be on, we can not be making mistakes like this. Forty-eight dollars is an awful lot of money. Almost half of a weekly grocery shopping spree. That would have meant buying less groceries for a week if we didn’t have a back up savings account. It was just pure carelessness on both of our parts. Now that I am aware of our joint stupidity, it’ll probably never happen again.
Except that DH called me late yesterday, after work as he still was in the company parking lot. He needed gas again and he ran out of cash. (if I give him more cash he’ll just buy more stuff, so more cash is NOT the answer). This time I was better prepared and technically, so was he. He had enough gas in his car to shop around if need be. I had more money in our debit card account and I told him to fill up to $25.
Starting next week, his cash allowance will be reduced and he will use the debit card for gas.
I hope he enjoys his seltzer treats.
Live well and prosper, my friend.
Live well and prosper.