Lori and Marek Fuchs have never fought in their 16 years of marriage—except over money. In this column, Mr. and Mrs. Fuchs, a real-life married couple with three kids (ages 12, 7 and 5), articulate their very different approaches to personal finance.
This round, they implement the idea of a day spent without spending.
Mr. Fuchs: I cheated on you.
Mrs. Fuchs: Come again?
Mr. Fuchs: I cheated on you—with a donut and cup of coffee, not to mention a tank of gas, which might not count.
Mrs. Fuchs: Ah, phew. You are talking about our contest.
Mr. Fuchs: Contest puts it in such secular terms. I’m talking about our religious experiment, or experience. And don’t give me that look like I’m being too high-falutin’. It’s Ramadan right now and Yom Kippur is coming down the pike, two holidays that revolve around fasting, or forgoing food. What I want to start is a holiday of forgoing spending.
Mrs. Fuchs: Oh God. Festivus, as interpreted by the cheapskate Mr. Fuchs.
Mr. Fuchs: Once a year, from sundown one day to sundown the next, you can’t spend one thin dime. The goal is to appreciate how much money you waste on little mundane purchases. Once you raise your awareness, you can cut down on spending the other 364 days of the year.
Mrs. Fuchs: That is a bizarre holiday, I’ve got to say. Like anything else, you’ve got to have moderation. Too much spending is obviously not a good thing but so is too little! Even so, as I told you – you’re on! I bet you I could can spend no money easier than you – for one day. I’m banking on your little vices, of which I have none, to trip you up.
Mr. Fuchs: Hey, I resemble that accusation! But you cheated! You went out to sea!
Mrs. Fuchs: What? So what if you can’t spend money while you are on a sailboat? Not my fault you picked yesterday. That said, it certainly is easier to not spend when you keep busy and stay away from the kids, not to mention land. That, and packing your own lunch.
Mr. Fuchs: Well, I did OK on lunch. I ate it at your parents when I dropped our kids off their for an overnight. But driving back from the Jersey Shore on a Sunday is tiring. I stopped for a coffee at Dunkin’ Donuts, right after filling the car up at the Exxon nearby (Stock Quote: XOM), even though it didn’t need it (because the gas in Jersey near your folks is about 50 cents a gallon cheaper than in New York by us).