First Day of Kindergarten

back to schoolWoohoo! The first day of kindergarten is finally here (Thursday). I took RB40Jr in for an assessment on Tuesday and he did very well. The teacher kept me busy by having a bunch of forms to fill out. She sat with Junior and they had a good 20 minute conversation. She asked about letters, numbers, and all sorts of stuff. I was very impressed that he was able carry on a conversation with an adult for 20 minutes. When we’re around, he only lasts a few minutes. I guess the teachers are the experts on talking with children. Junior has come a long way since he got kicked out of his first preschool because he was crying too much. Time flies when you have a kid.

We also got the supply list, check it out. Is it just me or is this list very extensive?

Kindergarten Supply List

  • 2 Pink Pearl erasers
  • 3 boxes 12 count Crayola colored pencils
  • 2 boxes 24 count Crayola crayons
  • 2 tablets watercolor paper
  • 3 2-pocket folders pocket on bottom
  • 8 large Elmer’s glue sticks
  • 1 boxes 8 count Crayola thick—tipped markers
  • 1 box beginner Ticonderoga #2 pencils
  • 1 pair of scissors, blunt nose, metal banded (Fiskars)
  • 1 set 8 color Crayola watercolors
  • 1 set oil pastels
  • 1 set of dry erase markers
  • 2 ream of white copy paper
  • 1 container hand wipes
  • 1 package of PlayDough
  • 1 box gallon size Ziploc bags
  • 5 boxes baby wipes
  • 2 boxes Kleenex
  • 1 full sized backpack (must fit coat, large book, folders, etc.)

We went to Walmart and picked up about half of the listed items. I’m surprised that Walmart didn’t have a lot of the items on this list. They have off brand stuff and this list is very specific. The class will pool everything so I guess they want some uniformity. I’ll have to go to Office Depot this weekend and get the rest. Everything on this list will probably cost around $200*. That’s not cheap, but it is a bargain compared to paying for preschool or daycare.

  • Actually, it’s closer to $100. I over estimate the cost the first time.

School Bus

The school bus schedule is out and the bus will stop in front of our building at 7:12 am. That’s super early! We could leave 30 minutes later if I drive him. It only takes about 10 minutes to get to school. The bus will be taking a scenic route to pick up other kids.

I’m not sure if Jr can get ready that early, but we will try. Preschool started at 9 am so this is a big change. A few kids from our building are taking the school bus so at least he will have some friends on the bus. I’ll drop him off on the first day of school, though. I need to bring some of these supplies to class.

I’m a little sick

I have been sneezing all day since Tuesday. It feels like bad seasonal allergy, but the pollen count is very low. I have no idea why I’m sneezing like this. Maybe it’s an early cold. That’s why I’m taking it easy with blogging today and keeping it light.

Sriracha Ketchup

Have you seen these Sriracha ketchup at the grocery store?

sriracha ketchup

I know I’m cheap, but my first reaction was – this is expensive! Two bottles of 14 oz. Sriracha ketchup for $5? I could buy a 28 oz. bottle of Sriracha sauce and 24 oz. ketchup for about the same price. It’s much cheaper per ounce and you can blend it up any way you like. I guess you pay for the convenience of not having to squeeze 2 bottles. Or perhaps you can’t buy Sriracha sauce in some locations?

Did you know that Sriracha is a city in Thailand? My grandparents lived near there for many years. The Sriracha sauce is used widely in Thailand and I’ve had it since I was a kid. Personally, I like the Thai version better. The Thai version is tangier, less spicy, and less salty. Try it if you see it in an Asian grocery store.

sriracha sauceThe Sriracha sauce is made famous in the US by Huy Fong Foods Inc. David Tran, the founder, was a Vietnamese refugee who developed his own recipes with local ingredients. He started off selling his hot sauces to restaurants in the LA Chinatown and the company grew organically from there. Now, the company is worth more than $60 million and sells over 20 million bottles of hot sauce every year. The factory is in Southern California and you can even take a tour. That’s inspiring stuff. You can buy Sriracha sauce on amazon for around $3 if you’re an Amazon Primes member.

I need Pho

Anyway, I’m planning to take a long nap after I drop Junior off at school. Maybe I’ll head to a Vietnamese restaurant and have a big bowl of Pho noodle soup with extra Sriracha sauce for lunch. That’ll put me on the road to recovery.

Are your kids back at school? If you don’t have kids, are you surprised by the extensive kindergarten supply list?

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Joe started Retire by 40 in 2010 to figure out how to retire early. After 16 years of investing and saving, he achieved financial independence and retired at 38.

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54 thoughts on “First Day of Kindergarten”

  1. I went to a restaurant once and it had two bottles of ketchup on it. I used the one closest to me for my plate. Then, for my daughter I used the one closest to her.

    She kept telling me the food was “biting” her tongue..her way of saying it’s spicy… I tried hers and it was fine. tried my ketchup it was fine..everything was fine.

    After a few minutes we finally realized her ketchup was different and she had the sriracha ketchup! Gotta be careful!

  2. The first time I saw sriracha ketchup, I did not take it well. After tasting it, I was able to confirm, even though I love sriracha and ketchup separately.

    That’s great to see your kids growing up and going to kindergarten 🙂 exciting times ahead for them!

  3. That list looks very familiar 🙂 I found all of it up to the reams of paper for $72 on Amazon. My son started kindergarten today and I think we’re at the same school (I assume you didn’t list it for privacy reasons, so let’s just say does it start with “A”?). I’ll look forward to perhaps meeting you sometime and discussing financial independence & early retirement topics!

  4. Our youngest starts Kindergarten on Tuesday, along with our oldest going to the same school in 2nd grade. The lists aren’t as expensive as I don’t think our school has quite as many specific brand requests. For those that do, it sort of makes sense because the higher quality stuff probably means having to replace it less or also might even factor into things like less time getting up and sharpening pencils for those that might not break as often.

    • Yeah, I can see why they would like good pencils. I think it’s a good idea in general. If everyone bring their own thing, then some kids will say – this is mine, etc…

  5. That’s awesome, you’ll end up getting quite a bit of free time now he’s in kindergarten. Baby T1.0 starts preschool next week. Only two days a week but I think Mrs. T is looking forward to have a small break.

    Take care of yourself. A bowl of hot Pho noodle soup will do you good.

    • Two days a week was a huge relief for me. Kindergarten is really nice so far. I’m taking it easy today, but I will try to work a bit tomorrow.

  6. I don’t remember having to provide anything beyond the most basic supplies when I was in school. As long as you had a pencil and paper you were good to go. Apparently budget cuts are taking their toll.

    I also enjoyed the completely random nature of this post. We went from back-to-school to hot sauce in a flash.

  7. Oh man, time does fly. Can’t believe your son is already going to kindergarten. And as for the Sriracha sauce…or any Asian ingredients…I only get them at Asian supermarkets. I guess they mark it up to unsuspecting customers at these stores. Plus it’s more convenient since some might not shop at Asian supermarkets.

    • Yeap, time really flies. He wasn’t even born when I started blogging. 🙂
      I think it’s just a specialty item. At least they should make it a bigger bottle. 14 oz is too small.

  8. Hey there Joe
    My kid’s school asks for a donation of $40 per kid at the end of the school year to buy supplies for the whole class. That way everyone has what they need whether their parents contribute or not. We have a diverse school with 40% of kids on the subsidized school lunch program and the rest living in one of the most expensive areas in the country to buy property. But somehow it seems to work. $200 is ridiculous and I recommend investigating getting more involved in the school/PTA so that you can implement suggested changes like this one. We also have a walkathon and silent auction that raises $100k for our school alone, in one day. Contact me if you want more ideas, I think the Silicon Valley school district we are in does a great job of overcoming financial hurdles with budget shortfalls and many parents who cannot afford to pay for many school related items.

    • Thank you for the ideas! I will talk to the other parents and the PTA. Our school has single digit% of kids on subsidized lunch. I guess $200 is peanut to most of the parents. I think we have a ton of fundraisers too.

  9. What a feeling! We’re 5 days away from the first day of school, and the first time both of our boys will be in all day every day. We’ve had one in part-time preschool each of the last 5 years, which is hard to believe. Not to mention expensive.

    The school shopping lists really get my goat. The school district should be able to buy these things in bulk, saving a whole lot of money and time for the parents. $200 for a kindergartener’s crayons, markers, and glue is highway robbery!

    I saw the Sriracha ketchup at Aldi, but I don’t like ketchup, so I’ll stick with the regular Sriracha rooster sauce. We watched a great documentary on the stuff. It’s free to watch for Amazon Prime members


    • Good luck with the first day of school. It will be great. The expensive items are the paper products. Crayons are pretty cheap. 🙂 Yeah, $200 isn’t bad, but it’s taking a lot of time to get that list together. I guess the teachers don’t have much time either.

  10. Ah the back to school routine! It’s a big shift for us early retired folks. I’m used to sleeping in till 9 and now it’s up at 5:15 am for one of us. The oldest started middle school and rides the bus to school. It picks up at 6:07 am so we walk out the front door at 5:55 am to walk to the bus stop which is a couple blocks up the road. It’s still dark at that time! We considered driving but it’s either 45 minutes for us to drive (15 minutes waiting in carpool I assume) or an extra 45 minutes for our daughter. At least she could be productively using those extra 45 minutes on the bus sleeping or reading. Not sure if this early bus time will work, but it’ll be a thing for us for the next 8 years since it’s the same bus for middle and high, and daughter #2 moves up to middle next year.

    Our youngest is 4 so not quite ready for kindergarten, but he’s suddenly developed an obsession with us reading books to him in the last few days since his older sisters disappeared. Which is great because he might actually get a head start on reading this way!

    On a different note, I saw that spicy Sriracha at all the local grocery stores. Funny because I used to call Sriracha “Asian Ketchup”. Now it’s actually a thing. We use the regular Sriracha all the time and our oldest daughter loves it too now. And we have home cooked pho all the time too. 🙂

    • Holy Crap! 6:07 am? That’s insane. Our middle school starts at 9 am. At least our bus stops right in front of our garage. 🙂
      Wow, home cooked pho. That’s awesome. Maybe I need to do that instead of going out. It shouldn’t be that hard. I think we have most of the ingredients.
      Have fun with the youngest kid!

  11. We’ve been back in for about a month now, and the supply list was quite extensive. Then, there was a mix up with the kindergarten lists, so last week they sent home an additional list.

    I was really surprised – my kiddo goes to a Title I school, and about 60% of the kids qualify for a free lunch. I don’t mind contributing supplies, but I imagine it’s a burden for other families. Then again, teachers are buying so many supplies out-of-pocket already… It’s kind of a mess.

    That said, I hope your youngster enjoys kindergarten! My kiddo has settled in really well and made lots of new friends – I hope yours will do the same!

    • Wow, that was early. I think our school has single digit free lunch. Pretty crazy. I’m sure he’ll do just fine. I can’t wait to hear what he has to tell me.

  12. The list is similar to the one for my daughter’s Catholic school. As to why they don’t collect a fee and buy in bulk it is probably because they can’t force people to pay the fee and then it becomes an accounting nightmare. People who can afford it will send all the supplies on the list; those who can’t will probably send something, and they don’t have to do a lot of paperwork to account for pencils. If they had everyone pay $200 for supplies, then they’d have to fill out reams of paper to spend it.

    • That’s what I thought. Accounting would be a big problem. Poor families can bring in a bit of supplies every few weeks and spread it out a bit.

  13. Yes !!!! It’s party time for you cause you will have the whole day to yourself! We’ll be expecting a daily post – just kidding!!! Just think of 22 kids man handling those supplies 7 hours a day for 186 school days a year an do the math and you’ll understand the extensive list. Hopefully, educational technology geared to his needs will also be a big part of his day. I worry when I see such an extensive list of supplies that he is not coloring worksheets all day. Definitely a question to ask ! Felicidades!

    • Woohoo! Yes, I hope the teachers will do fine. It’s a big class for one teacher and a floating aid.
      He doesn’t like art&craft so I don’t know… I’m sure he’ll find something to do.

  14. I wonder why the school doesn’t buy them in bulk and sell them as bundles? If pay 210 to NOT have to source all that crap myself… the school should be able to get it for 10-20% less. It’s free money 🙂

    • Yeah, it took us 90 minutes to buy half of the stuff on that list. I guess they don’t want to collect cash. Some families might not be able to pay. This way, the poor families can bring in a bit of supplies at a time.

  15. Wow that’s a long list Joe. Why couldn’t the place just bulk buy it and everyone pays towards that amount?

    We don’t have kids yet, but I’d love to be getting the kids ready that early; more time for you 🙂 Haha.


    • I don’t know. They probably don’t want to collect cash. I’m sure some families will have more problem coming up with cash. We can bring in the supplies throughout the year. I think…

  16. The teacher is a fan of your blog and had been reading your portfolio and net worth posts recently. She seized the opportunity for a larger supply list. Teachers are very smart…..?

    Seriously, the list of stationery supplies are usual. This one is a tad longer than normal.

    The bus pick up schedule is merely training for later as he grows up towards middle school and high school. Our neighbor has kids at high school who are picked up by the bus at 6.40am.

    Congrats on a mini milestone on your kids educational journey.

    • Ha ha ha, that’s funny. I’m sure the teachers are too busy to read much.
      Thanks for your comment. I was just wondering.
      Our middle school starts at 9 am. That’s strange.

    • They probably built in a little leeway for poor families. I think this is better than collecting cash. Cash always cause some kind of problem…

      • I suppose, cash does make for a risky situation, but it would be nice if they bough in bulk. You figure 50 classrooms per school by x number of schools in the district they could get a great deal.

  17. Congrats on the first day of kindergarten! A big milestone for both child and parent 🙂

    That is an extensive list! I suppose having parents bring supplies is a creative solution to a lack of public funding. Probably a sign that we don’t put enough money into our public schools, though.

    I wouldn’t worry too much about Jr’s ability to get ready earlier. Kids seem to adapt pretty quickly to things like that. You could always try the bus for a few weeks and if it doesn’t get any easier by the end switch to driving.

    • Yes, he woke up at 6:30 am today and we went down to meet the bus for practice. Tomorrow he’ll be off by himself. Well, with friends from the building. The other kids seem to be doing okay.

  18. Wow, what a list! Yes, it seems exce$$ive. What’s the scoop there? Now is the time to start meeting w/the other parents, a few you can call, so you can get their opinion on this. It seems a bit over the top-2 big boxes of crayons? A 7am bus pick up? By high school, they are so tired of waiting for that bus. Just be forewarned! Oh, and good luck, enjoy your “me time”. You deserve it. Keep us posted!

    • I’ll check with the other parents, but it seems normal according to the comments.
      He might be able to walk to high school. We’ll see. Thanks! 🙂

  19. Hi Joe! I am getting ready to head out to our “Kindergarten Bus Run” right now. It’s the day that parents ride the bus in with kids to school for a practice run and to meet the teacher. (I’m a school administrator). Such an exciting time for you! The parents usually have a harder time than the kids is what we find! That list is extensive. It is common to ask for most of those things – but usually just one one each (colored pencils, etc.) The school should supply white copy paper in my opinion too… The reason for the brand names is that the off brands are just junk and kids really struggle with them. Many of cheap pencils never get sharp – and often just get ground up in the sharpener. And Fiskars scissors are the best – again, until you see little hands trying to work cheap scissors – you’d never know! Well – off to greet our 250+ little ones and some anxious moms and dads. I need another cup of coffee….

    • Have a great first day! It must be tough. There were so many kids and parents at school today. Thank you for the clarification. That makes sense. Good luck!

  20. Congrats on getting RB40jr off to school! My wife was so happy yesterday when my two high-school aged kids started up again. The summer is chaos with their activities and driving them all over the place at all times of day. Once school is in session, at least they are in one place for a solid 6-7 hours so she can get some other things done.

    Oh, and here is something you may find interesting, especially if there are older kids on the bus with the Kindergartners. We’ve seen that kids learn all kinds of things on the school bus that they hear older kids talking about. You may be surprised what RB40jr asks you about later!

    • Nice! Our summer was busy, but not that bad. We still have a lot of unstructured time.
      I’ll look forward to hearing what he learn from the older kids. 🙂

  21. Gees is that the school list for junior or the entire class! 8 glue sticks… That seems excessive. Are you subsidizing poor neighborhood schools? What do I know I guess?

    I’m sure kindergarten will be a game changer for you. My son’s two so we are a ways from kindergarten.

    Rest up and hope you feel better soon.

    • I think that’s for the whole year. At least, I hope so… The school is in a rich area and most families are pretty well off. I’m glad to help out. I don’t want the teachers to pay for a ton of stuff.

  22. Hi Joe! Congrats on the first day of kindergarten! You must be ecstatic!

    That day seems so far away for me! Some days I’m not sure I’ll ever make it. Being a stay at home dad is tough!

    $200 worth of supplies does seem like a lot. What’s next, student loans for kindergarten?

    • I’m very happy, but it also reminds me that time flies. You’ll get there soon. 🙂
      I was shocked when I saw the list, but it seems normal from the comments here.


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