For the first thirty-two years of his life, Jacob had no idea what things cost.
His father had been a stamp designer for the postal system. There were very few stamp designers left, of course; mostly images were now lifted from the internet. But a few had lasted as long as Jacob Sr., only to be laid off when the postal system was privatized, thanks to a need for “tax-payer cost reductions” (read: company profit).
His father, however, had spent years taking home first his allotted weekly stamps, then sneaking home more and more when they discontinued the allowance. On his last day, Jacob Sr. had taken home a carload of stamps, and Jacob Jr., when he first started paying for things, did so only in stamps.
Jacob Sr. died soon after being laid off. His life was a shambles, as he had no real skills beyond stamp design, a career with little calling in modern society. His wife scoffed at his inability to find a job, and left him for one of the more masculine, financially stable mail sorters. He withered, quickly, into nothing, and passed away quietly, leaving a house full of stamps to his only heir.
So Jacob paid in stamps. Some stores refused to take them; Jacob refused to shop there. Most did, though, and Jacob was able to fund his life until he paid his last roll for a meal at a nice restaurant.
Jacob returned home and stared at the void where his wealth had once sat, now only a few flattened boxes with the postal logo on them.
Then he started planning the Great Stamp Heist, and the rest, as they say, is history.