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Helper's monthly budget

  1. #1
    parch is offline Registered User
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    Helper's monthly budget

    We are a family of two adults and a toddler and I am trying to work out how much to budget for food etc. How much do people give their helper each week/month for food and supplies. She will also eat with us so need to include that.

    Cheers

  2. #2
    jane01 is offline Registered User
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    We don't really have a budget, more a system.

    We have a HK$1,000 'float' in a jar for our helper. When it is getting low or she has run out, she asks for more. She keeps the receipts in there and I can check if I want to.

    The float is used for anything from re-charging her octopus (and my daughters) to taxis for littles ones activities to food shopping to house supplies.

    I buy most of our meat (frozen) and fish (fresh) from South Stream Seafoods which is home delivered and I pay via paypal. I do a monthly supplies shop from PnS online - saves my helper trying to battle the long lines at PnS with my unco-operative 2 year old. Their online site and delivery service is excellent. I also do a bit of fruit and vege shopping in town at Olivers, City Super or Great, as I find the quality at PnS quite poor.

    So my helper really only has to buy basic additions to the meals, milk, bread, juice and other basic supplies.

    We already have a 'no treats' rule with the helper - ie she is not allowed to buy my daughters Mcdonalds or chocolate. This is not so much for budgeting, more for health. She is too kind and she'd buy them whatever they asked for if I let her. She is allowed to buy them a banana smoothie or juice or something along those lines on a hot day, or when they have to wait a long time for a bus, etc.

  3. #3
    parch is offline Registered User
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    Thanks Jane

    I like the idea of a float - makes life easy. In fact all your system sounds good so thanks for advise.

    Do you pay for her octopus card? I hadn't thought of that. We live in DB so have bought her a ferry card, I guess she won't need an octopus as much.

    Cheers

  4. #4
    peainpod is offline Registered User
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    I think the Octopus card is for grocery shopping, not just transportation. A word of caution though. We were thinking of giving one to our helper as well but then I learned from a friend that her helper was using their Octopus card to help other DHs pay for groceries. (Since some employers will give their DH cash for groceries instead, they would split the cash between them, and put the grocery bill on my friend's Octopus accnt instead.) I guess if you're vigilent about checking grocery bills, then it's not a problem but most ppl I know (including me!) are kinda lazy and will let the accounting slide. I know my friend did - and she only found out months down the road that this was happening.

  5. #5
    jane01 is offline Registered User
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    We live in DB too. Yes, we do refill her octopus card for transport. Whilst we have a golf cart, she doesn't drive so can't use it. We live in Crestmont, so it would be unreasonable of us to expect her to carry groceries and my unco-operative 2 year old up the hill. She also does school drop-off and pick-ups for my 5 year old, activities like ballet, multisport panda junction, and first friends for both girls, playdates, etc. She uses the buses and hire car a lot. I have never bought her a ferry ticket. She only goes into town for us for Panda Junction once a week and she can use cash or her octopus.

    I've never heard of the rorts re octopuses. Overall, if you trust helpers with your precious children, they have to be the sort of person you'd trust with other things. Having said that, I'm an accountant and hopefully not too foolish with money. I have a reasonable idea how much things cost and I'd notice if the float was empty too quickly. No, I wouldn't notice HK$50 here and there, but I think I would notice if I was paying other people's grocery bills ! I never check the receipts to the nearest cent but I do give them a quick reasonableness check before replacing the float - ie just quickly add them up in my head, takes 2 seconds.

  6. #6
    parch is offline Registered User
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    I am a bit green on everything having only arrived ehre recently- havent worked out what the octopus can be used for really. My son is 21 months old so not at school.

    We agreed on the ferry ticket as part of the contract as she wanted to go to central every sunday for her church and stuff.

  7. #7
    carang's Avatar
    carang is offline Registered User
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    it also would depend on what you expect your helper to cook... western, organic, imported foods are MUCH more expensive than local food.

    we used to do a BIG shop about once every 2 weeks or so and she would go daily to the supermarket to top up for meals.

    i didn't mind her going daily as one of my rules was that the kids had to leave the house at least once per day, rain or shine. it meant that my boy was used to going to the supermarket and behaves VERY well in them now.

    the octopus card....

    we gave our helper one that we top up or give her $ to top up, but she has her own that she uses on her day off. we told her that if she wanted to go to town on her day off, that was up to her to pay for, but if we asked her to come or meet us there, then obviously we'd pay for it. it was never a problem and she made many friends in db and even found a church in db that she liked.

    now, we've moved out of db and some of our rules have changed slightly with the new living situation, but we are all still happy with each other.

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