Thursday, June 02, 2011

This is why I need to keep my head in the sand as long as possible and... an ethical matter

Remember the pre-school thing?

And how I'd decided that they could wait til they're 3?

Well, I took that pre-school guide and started phoning around.

There are 6 schools in my area. I'm sure there are more but I tend to start with the ones I'm more likely to send my kids to.

And now that I've phoned around, three things have happened:
  1. I'm scared more than I ever was of the costs. My friend with the twins, C, phoned one place and said she's too scared to phone anymore places so she stopped. LOL. Also, it's not only the monthly cost, it's the registration fee, apron & cap fee, summer & winter uniform fee, extra-murals fee (okay, this one is voluntary), etc, etc. By the time you finish, you could have sent your child to university and included residence fees :)
  2. But.... I'm also getting excited by the possibility of all the fun things they get to do. And the thought of them messing in other people's houses and not my own :)
  3. I honestly don't know how on earth we will get all of us ready, fed, out the door and at school/ work by 8.30-ish.
If your kids go to daycare/ pre-school, how on earth do you do it? Especially if you're not a morning person!

I mentioned to D last night that I may just be sending them in January.... if we can.

I still think a full day is a bit much for 2.5 years old (here is where I show my soft side - aaaawww) but the fact of the matter is I can't justify spending 2 X half-day pre-school PLUS a nanny. I'm looking at about R7 000.

Whereas if they go full day plus a cleaning lady (domestic worker) we can get away with about R5 500, I think! Or rather, I hope.

South Africans, am I being realistic with prices?

So that's where we are.

I'm going to take a half day in the next month or so and go look at them all (hopefully).

Also, I made a spreadsheet with all the details - prices, etc. If anyone lives in my area and wants my list, just email me. Happy to share.


Now on another matter...

I went on my "work errands" the other day to pay for my printing, drop things off in another dept, etc, all the walking around stuff I had to do.

I went to the one guy and we were chatting so he saw my printing slip in my hand and asked me about it.

Maybe I should back-track.

When I want to do printing at work for my personal use (cute printables, cards, the Mothers Day cards I did for my friends, etc.) I send it to our central printing area, the guy does it (at his leisure since it is not high priority), I collect it and my slip and then go to pay for my stuff at our shop and return the slip.

He is not supposed to release my prints without the proof of payment but he trusts me so I do it the reverse way around to save time.

Back to the guy. When I explained, he was horrified that I pay for my printing.

Apparently no-one in the company pays for their personal stuff.


He said, "you must be the only person at the Company who pays for your stuff. Everyone else just uses the printers for anything, even colour printing, etc"

Granted, I won't send my credit card statement or Jhb City invoice for special printing - I just do them here.

But special printing and of course, all postage on my personal stuff, I pay for.

I seriously thought everyone does the same thing but apparently not.

Now some people will say, "go for it. stop paying" but I'm very fussy in that I want to be squeaky clean and NEVER want anybody to be able to say anything about my "ethical" practices.

Also I do believe that just because everyone does it doesn't mean I should. I like to hold myself to high standards and we all know standards have been slipping in many areas the world over.

But am I weird?

Would you pay for your postage and printing?


  1. Why do you think I don't have a domestic help or don't let my children do outdoor activities? Because of how all my money need to go to primary school, nursery school and aftercare centers.
    And I get up at 04h10 to exercise, by 05h30 I have all of us in the shower or bath and at 06h00 we are ready for breakfast. By 06h30 we are out on the road to school and work.

  2. oh my gosh M, you're scaring me. 6.30 out the house? I'm normally still sleeping by then LOL

  3. The boys will be at day care next week, as Niki will be out of town. So I can talk about getting everyone out of the house in the mornings next week.

    On the ethical thing, pay for your personal printing. We have a strict code of conduct at my work and one of the things we need to agree to is to not use work resources for personal needs. I don't.

  4. Love it, Heather, and please remember to tell me after next week how crazy it was and what you did to cope!

  5. I felt the same way about a "full day of school" - especially to have someone else taking care of my child the whole time.

    In reality, though, they have breakfast at 8am, play - craft-educate until 11:30am, lunch, and nap from12-2:30. The rest of the day is spent on the playground. And I appreciate every minute that he can spend releasing all of his extra energy!

    I am not a morning person, either. But since breakfast is served at the center, I get up and get ready, pull him out of bed, and maybe grab a baggie of Cheerios for the car. He is probably awake less than 20 minutes before we leave the house, and this is super helpful :). Less time for havoc.

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  7. ORM, that is true! The schools have said that afternoons are really for play, and if you've paid for the extra-mural activities :) Structured educational-type stuff happens in the morning.

    I love the thought of you pulling him out of bed, handing him a snack and off to school :) Definitely less time for havoc.

    This morning we found Connor ON the kitchen table TOSSING apples all over my kitchen floor. And my apples, at that. The kids and D eat golden delicious, I eat Granny Smith. LOL

  8. Well, with twins, I wanted them in group care earlier so they would be used to being around other kids. I think having the kids in full time group care has really been good for MY kids because Nate would be dominant of Alex but Alex gets a chance to dominate other kids. And Nate gets to be dominated. The socialization is amazing, and it has been the right choice for our family.

    As for how we do it,we just power through. You get better with time. It was SO MUCH work to get them out of the house when they were newborns (along with 8 bottles and clothes and all the stuff) but now it's easy to drop them off.

    I don't know the conversions but in the infant room, we paid $2400 a month. Now we pay $1900 a month. ONE MORE PAYMENT then they go to free kindergarten!!!

  9. Having been doing some more research on preschools recently I have noticed that there is quite a big differences in what they charge (and of course in what you get). I also realised that people's expectations of what it costs are so varied! Recently spoke to a mom who has enrolled her kid to start next year (he will turn 2 I think) and she mentioned that someone told her the fees charged by the place they had settled on is ridiculously expensive. I was curious, but when she told me it was actually cheaper than my current daycare, and way cheaper than any of the other places I have been considering! In Cape Town the prices also seem to vary quite considerably by suburb.

    And the mornings... Oh dear - like you I am not a morning person. So now everything gets done the night before - packing (his and mine), everything gets set out etc, so that I can stay in bed up to the last possible moment.

    Oh, and the rain boots you mentioned in a previous post.... I really must get myself a pair of those!

  10. First of all...I'm gasping at LauraC's daycare cost! If we had to pay $1900 per month, I would just suck it up and stay home. But I totally agree with her that it has been wonderful for my girls.

    I'm curious...what are the extra-mural fees for? We don't have any of those costs; just the monthly fee (which is cheap, even considering the girls just go part time) and some supplies, etc.

    As far as getting out of the house on time, I am extremely blessed that my mom can come stay with the girls and get their breakfast, etc. I have to be at work at 8, but they don't go to school until 9. Mom comes just before I leave the house, since the girls now sleep until 8 or so (praise the Lord!). So it's really just a matter of feeding them a quick breakfast, getting dressed, and out the door. You can make it work! : )

    Re: printing stuff at work...we are a fairly small office and the boss doesn't care that we might occasionally use resources for things like that, as long as it's not out of control. Though with budget cuts coming, it will likely be a different story. You're definitely doing the right thing, no matter what "everyone else" is doing!

  11. We leave the house at 6 every morning we head to my cousins. I'm far from a morning person so I have everything ready to go the night before. Clothes pulled, bags packed and by the door. It really does help that they don't eat untill we arrive. If I had to feed them that would easily take an hour!

    If those are monthly prices they aren't too bad by US standards if it truly is a decent place. My last inquiry was going to cost us 12190R a month which is why I decided against it. My problem with centers here is you really have to investigate. Some just don't cover anything educational as they claim to. Sure they might sing songs or do stories but that's the end of it. Things like uniforms bother me too. I'm willing to pay for activities and food, but kids ruin clothes I've recently found out! I can't imagine a unifrom lasting on a toddler!

    I prefer a more structured approach. Don't just give them crayons, have them draw shapes and identify colors-ya know?!

    I have to admit that I used to be much more strict with work supplies. I have personally purchased many things for work that were not available for me to use, so I would have no problem using them for myself. That being said, I work in a kitchen. I cook. I certainly don't cook dinner on their dime, but I can't say I don't sample! It's quality control!!

    I certainly wouldn't take postage or printing. I a.) wouldn't trust my things would be private and b.) I'm sure it would come back to haunt me later.

  12. Gotta say about paying for printing... When I used to work I would get so mad when folk just went to the stationary cupboard and grabbed stuff... MAD!!! I would fill in forms and get it cleared with the HOD... and folk would be stocking up on domestic stationary!!! Frankly it is stealing!!!

    Otherwise there are advantages to homeschooling!!! And early morning risers ... not an issue!!! But a couple of times a week my musician has to be at music school by 7:30... I have a morning routine that takes from sleep to car thirty minutes... (First put little people to sleep in tracksuits the night before) I get up get hubs a coffee... put breakfast on - porridge in the microwave. Turn all the lights on and start making a noise... and head for the shower. Other bodies surface and dress... one empties dishwasher, one packs away dishes, one sets the table, one puts any laundry in the washer and puts the washer on... I serve breakfast and they eat, put their dish in the dishwasher and clean their teeth and we go. Thirty minutes max!!! When we get home the laundry is ready to be hung and the table is ready for school.
    It can be done... anything we need for the books for kids to read while we wait and other errands stuff... packed the night before. I am not a morning person...

    I go to bed so late that I need to sleep as late as I can... I don't want to spend more than half an hour getting up and out!!!

  13. There you have just mentioned it! The exact reason why I love living in the little back water of PE. Here all three our little ones are in the same pre-school. It costs around R1000 each and includes monkeynastics. We could also see a marked change in the children when they started getting the right stimulation.

  14. I think that whatever you budget, add some more for extras because there are ALWAYS extras - things like outings etc. I have to send Joel with R55 tomorrow because they are going to the aquarium and for some or other puppet show. And they are having a pyjama day on Tuesday where we have to send the kid to school in PJ's and pay R10. Small amounts but they add up. You will be bond-free next year though so I totally think that you will wing it. I think that in CT it does depend which suburb the school is in that you send your kids to.

  15. I think you are being ethical and yeah to you. Very much my way of thinking too.

    We pay about R1800 per child for full day - that excludes extra murals which in general in by term. We get a 10% discount on the boys' account as they are 2 int he same school. It does include breakfast, a cooked lunch and an afternoon snack. The boys are in a school attached to a catholic church and the Princess in one attached to an old model C semi government school.

    The boys have Junisport at R265 a term each.

    The Princess have lots of extra murals, but that is age 6. Music and drama at R90 per month, Playball at R 260 a term and netball at R 400 per term. Ballet is hugely expensive but that is my mom's treat at R700 a term.

    Hope that helps.

  16. Some people don't pay their tax either - I choose not to be like them ;-)

  17. I'd keep paying...that's just how I roll.

    I get up at 6:00 and get myself showered and ready. I get the Crazies up by 7:30, breakfast by 8:00, out the driveway by 9:02 (I don't know why it's 9:02, but it always is). Then we get to school around 9:10 and inside by 9:15 which is the start time. We're very rarely late b/c I yell a lot...LOL.

    I work out while they're at school, but then again, I don't work. I have no idea how working Moms do it and how I'll do it when I return to work...especially with no help around!

  18. I see the benefits of a group setting for my 6 months old twins so I bleed a little less when I write the monthly check. In the mornings, I feed them at 5ish, take a shower and prepare their bags. Daddy gives them a sponge bath around 6ish and we make it out of the house anywhere between 7-8am. When I have to do it alone, it's pretty much the same deal

  19. I never print anything...well occasionally work related stuff for the manager, but I actually prefer my stuff on the laptop since some of it's quite sensitive.

    I don't have a big issue if other people print things, as long as it's withing reason. The odd page here and there I think it's okay - but printing recipe books, party invites, all the chain letters you've received since 1996...that kind of thing is just taking advantage. Our company doesn't actually have the facility for you to pay for those things, but if I needed to print something like that I'd rather do it at home.


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