Tuesday, May 12, 2015

How much do we spend on a year of preschool in Berkeley, California

We have loved Star's preschool.  She has been treated with respect, learned how to treat others respectfully and has learned useful skills (listening, writing and monkey bars among them.)  Star attended preschool from 8:30am - 5:30pm (I actually usually pick her up around 4:45pm, but we pay until 5:30pm) 5 days a week.  I don't resent the money that we spent, but I wish I had a bit of a more realistic sense ahead of time.

Without further ado, below is what we spent for a year of preschool.  Some of these numbers are estimates, and it's possible that I missed something major, but I think this is pretty accurate.  Also note that these are the numbers for her last year of preschool.  The prior 2 years were more expensive because at the preschool Star went to, tuition is higher for the younger kids.

Tuition - $1595 per month x 11 months = $17,545
Winter Camps - $450 x 2 weeks = $900. The $450 number is an estimate. I usually seem to spend around $450 for a week of camp. Sometimes it's a bit more and sometimes it's a bit less. (When she starts 2nd grade, she might go to sleepaway camp which will triple the $450 per week estimate, but we can wait a few years until we get to that.)

Summer Camps - $450 per week x 4 weeks = $1,800. See note above.

Random field trips, various days off, auction, gifts for teachers... - $500
Morning Helpers - $2,000. We have a Cal student come to our house most mornings at 7:30am to finish getting Star ready and to push her in the stroller to school. Scott and I leave for work at 7:30am, and this is the system we've found that works for us.

Total Annual Cost = $22,745

Star is about to start public Kindergarten, and when she does, I plan to start posting about how much public Kindergarten in Berkeley actually costs.  I know that it's not really free, but it's some mystery as to what we will actually be asked to pay for.  

Monday, May 4, 2015

10 Things I Would Tell My 22 Year-Old Self

  1. You will find love.  Don't worry about that.  For the next 10 years, approximately, figure yourself out.  Dance, travel, work, spend time in coffee houses, make art, make love, volunteer, play soccer, meditate, sky dive, knit, do yoga, host women's dinners, go to museums, cultivate friendships.  Date, definitely.  But, don't obsess over finding the right partner.  If you find the right partner before 10 years pass, that's totally fine.  But, don't make that the goal.  
  2. Once you figure out who you are, don't apologize for it.  You can't be someone else.  
  3. Deal with your health issues.  Get mentally and physically healthy.
  4. Learn healthy eating habits.  You might be able to gorge on pasta, bread and alcohol right now, but that will catch up to you.    
  5. Money is important.  If you want to make a difference in the world, that's fine, but, it is crucial that you also figure out how to earn a living.
  6. Don't settle on a career.  If you've effectively done item 1 above, then you are probably on your way to knowing who you are.  With that knowledge, and if you trust item 5, you should be well on your way to choosing a career which you will enjoy, and which will generate a sufficient livelihood.  
  7. Don't settle on a partner.  Evaluate any future life partner intently and compassionately.  Do they treat you well?  Are they kind?  Are they interesting?  Have they figured out how to make a living?  Do you share values?  Are they supportive of you?  Do they have longtime friends?  When you disagree with one another, as you inevitably will, do you do it in a constructive and kind way?  Choosing your life partner is likely the most important decision you will make.  
  8. Cultivate gratitude.  You are a lucky person.  Appreciate and acknowledge that.  
  9. Treat people with respect.  The world works in interesting ways.  The person you meet on Super Shuttle might have a cousin who is hiring in a field that you want to be in.  An ex-boyfriend of yours might end up being a doctor who treats a member of your family.  People might forget what you said, but they will not forget how they felt when they were with you.  
  10. Your family of origin might be bizarre.  Most are.  But, they are who you have.  Keep your connections strong with those in your family.  Call your mom and dad and tell them that you love them.  Spend time with them once a month or so.