Two of my close friends are preschool shopping. In both cases, they submitted multiple applications shortly after the births of their children, because public schools are not an option (a topic for another post or a Whiny Wednesday) and getting into San Francisco’s private schools is very competitive. This is insane enough, in my mind, but here’s the kicker: Tuition for one child, for one year, is a whopping $25,000. “But it’s $35,000 in New York City,” one friend told me, as if that would make Californians seem frugal by comparison.
Twenty-five thousand dollars! That’s 250 $100 bills or 100,000 quarters! And that got me thinking…. If I had that amount of money to spare, how might I spend it? Here are a few options:
- With parking at $2 an hour here, I could feed meters (with my 100,000 quarters) while running 12,500 hours of errands. Let’s do some math: At 3 hours each week, I’d be set for 4,167 weeks, or 80 years!
- A new car! ConsumerReports.org compiled a list of the best cars under $25,000. I’m eyeing the Mini Cooper with a stick shift.
- Six friends and I could stay in “Premiere Inns” while on Backroads’ multisport adventure in Costa Rica—biking, hiking, and soaking in hot springs in a forest setting. Sweet!
- Since I could buy in bulk and get a discount, I’d order 468 12-packs of my favorite 82% cacao extra dark chocolate bars from Scharffenberger. At 210 calories per bar, that works out to….oh, screw that! I’ll…
- …hire a personal trainer! The going rate is $75 an hour, so I’d get 333 hours of crunching abs and burning fat, roughly 6 hours of training each week for one year. Hmmm…I could get in shape for the Boston Marathon…or American’s Next Top Model!
- 833 mani/pedis ($30) at the little spa down the street. If I visited once a week, I could indulge in 16 years of pampering!
With the exception of the car, all of the above seem extravagant—if not ludicrous—to me. But it is fun to think about. If you won $25,000 in the lottery today, how might you spend it?
Kathleen Guthrie Woods is a Northern California–based freelance writer. Right now, she’s thinking about running out to the store to buy a bar of chocolate.
I’d get 500 massages. My favorite place is only $50 for one hr, so I could get 500 of them, one a week for almost 10 years!
Kate B says
$25k would go a long way towards providing me with a second bathroom. If not that, then toher thoughts are a very nice vacation, lots of yummy yarn, new wardrobe, trainer, Super Bowl tickets (very timely as a NY Giants fan).
I could go to Bora Bora with my husband and stay in an over-water bungalow for two weeks … THREE TIMES! I’d feed the fish through my glass coffee table. I’d lay in my hammock over the ocean and read all day. I’d have my breakfast delivered to me by canoe. I’d not even pack luggage…I’d just take a swimsuit and a long summer dress and flip flops. And if I needed something else, I’d just purchase it from the locals. Oh yes, Bora Bora is how I’d happily spend $25,000!
I’d go with several nice vacations – $25k might take care of that trip to Europe and the cruise I’m wishing for.
I’d probably go for the chocolate.
I love this post. I remember a few years ago a friend assumed we had lots of money because we travel. I pointed out that our annual travel budget was probably less than her annual school budget for her kids (not including food, clothing, medical, dental, sports activities etc). I can’t believe it costs $25k per year for pre-school though!
$25 k – that would take me round the world first class. I could handle that. Or I’d go business class, and take my husband! Or you could all use your $25k and come visit me in NZ.
Gosh, what about helping people who never got the opportunity to go to a private school and are now struggling because of the economy? I guess I would find a charity that makes good use of donor dollars and write a check, or even better, write a check and get involved.