Sit or Stand – Money Saving Solutions to Babysitting

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As a parent of multiples we routinely see that our finances work out a little differently than the parents of singletons.  Our children are both going to daycare at the same time, they outgrow clothes at the same time and they’ll likely go to college or university at the same time.  Since there is no staggering of the financial milestones the money belt can get squeezed a little tighter than we’d like.  This is why we’re always looking for new solutions and ways to stretch our dollars a little bit further, especially when it has to do with babysitting.  Here are some great ideas to get you thinking outside the box when it comes to child care and saving some dough.

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Neighbour Swap
I have a friend who has an agreement with a neighbour friend that once a month one parent walks down the street and looks after their children (I think one couple gets the second Friday and the other couple gets the fourth Friday) while the other couple goes out on a date.  Two weeks later they swap out.

Professional Services
I’ve never tried this, but there are sites designed to help people connect with other parents in order to trade babysitting. Essentially one family takes double duty hosting a play date at their house while adult(s) A goes out for lunch and a matinée (or whatever), when they return adult(s) B take over the play date while adult(s) B go out for dinner, dancing, etc.  Families can alternate who hosts, or split the shifts at their own houses and also swap out who goes out when.

The Barter
I find that my little brother will do just about anything for a Subway Sandwich and access to a “free laundry facility” to do a few loads while the minions sleep.  When negotiating with someone who doesn’t have kids you can pay them for their gas, a flat rate or offer a trade of services…You’ll wash their car, dog sit, be their personal shopper, chauffeur their drunk butt home from an upcoming wedding, defrag their computer, organize their records or help them move.  Get creative and know your audience.

Sitter Sharing
Go out on a lot of double dates?  Why not pay your sitter an extra dollar or two an hour while you and your friends go out to save some cash.  You can alternate who’s house it’s at and don’t really need to be going on a double date, just coordinate the timing and enjoy your time at around 60% of the cost.

How do you find ways to save money on sitting?

*This is an excerpt from a post on my blog.  Read the entire post here

SaraBeth is a Toronto based writer.  Her blog Multiple Momstrosity was named one on Toronto Mom Now’s 2012 Top 30 Mom Blogs.  She is a two-time veteran of the Three Day Novel Writing Contest.  She lives in The Junction with her husband and fraternal toddler twins (Molly & Jack).

 

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SaraBeth

Sara is a Toronto, Canada based writer and working mom of multiples. Her blog, Multiple Momstrosity was named one on Toronto Mom Now’s 2012 Top 30 Mom Blogs. She is a two time veteran of the Three Day Novel Writing Contest and has written an unpublished novel, This is You Without Me. She lives in “The Junction” with her husband Chris and spontaneous fraternal toddler twins (Molly& Jack).

4 thoughts on “Sit or Stand – Money Saving Solutions to Babysitting”

  1. For some reason, it took us a really long time to realize that we could go out for a late dinner after the girls went to bed. Our girls have always turned in early — by 7:30 — so it works great to have someone “monitor sit” for a couple of hours in the evening.

    When we had our first “date night”…when the girls were almost TWO…we went all out. We had dinner and drinks at the fanciest restaurant in town, and then dessert and coffee at another place. (Yes, we had to hurry to pack that in to two hours!)

    By the time we paid the sitter, that was a VERY expensive night, one I realized we couldn’t afford very often.

    I later realized that we didn’t have to have a big fancy meal for a nice date night. We can afford to go out more often if we share some fajitas at our favorite Mexican restaurant, followed up by hot tea at the coffee shop. Managing our expenditures that way helps us offset the cost of the sitter. And really, for us, it’s just about spending some time together. :)

  2. We do the neighbour swap. I used to find myself feeling really guilty for trading my two kids for one of my friends’ but I eventually got over it. We’re not super-formal about it, but we have an open offer and it’s always worked out to be a 1-to-1 exchange of time. I don’t use my “free” time for dates, though, now that I’m single. Instead, I’m all about the housework.

    I only once shared a sitter, again with a neighbour, and it worked out great. I tend to hire former daycare teachers of my daughters’ as sitters. They know my kids and have usually played a big role in raising them, plus they are trained in CPR and aren’t afraid to insist on the rules. Even though my kids aren’t in daycare any more, if I were in the market for a new babysitter, I’d probably ask around at local daycare centers (after checking such centers out to make sure they do appropriate training/background checks/etc).

    1. I would love to use some of our daycare workers, but most of them run at $15-$18 an hour with all of their training and we can’t afford it. Although we do keep their numbers on file in case of emergency…A sitter for house-work or a much needed hair cut or quiet cup of tea can be the best money ever spent!

  3. I do the neighbor swap a lot now. However, I didn’t do that for the first year and a half or so. I was sure no one really wanted to volunteer to watch baby twins plus toddler sister. And honestly, my hands were so full that I didn’t want to volunteer to babysit my neighbor’s kids either! So for that first 1.5 years I paid babysitters. Now we’re happy to have friends over (babysit the neighbors) and vice verso.

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