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, 8 and 5), articulate their very different approaches to personal finance.
This round, she ticks off plans for Halloween while he says, you make me want to scream and run from the room.
Mrs. Fuchs: Only a few weeks until Halloween and do you know what that means around here (besides you and the children on sugar highs)?
Mr. Fuchs: Surprise me.
Mrs. Fuchs: You on the roof hanging up ghosts. I’ve decided to go all out this year and decorate the house like I a Martha Stewart magazine spread. (Stock Quote: MSO) Do you have any black paint lying around?
Mr. Fuchs: Hold your headless horses. Turns out, Halloween is the holiday where Americans spend the second-largest sum of money.
According to the National Retail Federation’s 2009 Halloween Consumer Intentions and Actions Survey, conducted by BIGresearch, consumers are expected to spend nearly $5 billion this year. That’s any awful lot of candy corn. Here’s the problem, though. With Christmas, we all know it’s coming. Look how we’ve been planning since we were still sweltering in the heat of July. But Halloween sneaks up on you. And financial planners far and wide say that any surprise when it comes to family budgeting is no good. Our budget is enough of a horror show without a Jack-In-The-Box in the equation.
Mrs. Fuchs: Halloween is certainly being pushed, that’s for sure. The kids were poring over a Halloween catalog the other day, circling the costumes like I used to circle toys in the Christmas catalog. If we got each kid a store-bought costume...
Mr. Fuchs: Go no farther! I’m already horrified. What can we do to keep Halloween spending under control this year?
Mrs. Fuchs: Certainly not dole out that year-old candy you got at the dollar store last year – I’m still scrubbing eggs off the windows.
Mr. Fuchs: Hey, going hundreds over budget is no laughing matter. Can you stay on message here?