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 week, the Fuchs talk about doing charity for the holidays instead of giving gifts. He claims it’ll teach a lesson and save a buck. She thinks he is letting his cheapness show and going overboard. Who will win?
Mr. Fuchs: I have a great plan for holiday gift-giving for the kids.
Mrs. Fuchs: Uh-oh.
Mr. Fuchs: Seriously, it’ll merge money and morals. No gifts this year. Instead, we’ll perform good deeds with the kids. Go work at a soup kitchen. Wrap presents for the poor. Dig a well for a village with our own hands. The upshot is we’ll help others out while teaching our kids that you can have a good, more meaningful holiday without busting your own budget. Plus, we’ll save money. Talk about a gift that keeps on giving...Mrs. Fuchs: Are you trying to make our kids hate us?
Mr. Fuchs: I’m just trying to teach them to value the dollar. And to think of the holidays as more than a bender of gifts.
Mrs. Fuchs: While there is value in the idea — if a bit of self-interest, Mr. Cheapo, don’t you think that a no-gift-at-all edict is a bit over-the-top and, well, how should I put it, MEAN?
Mr. Fuchs: But how do you combat the over-the-top consumerism of the holiday season and teach financial responsibility without going a bit over-the-top?
Mrs. Fuchs: Why do I always have to remind you about moderation? If we get them a few items that they really want —