Creative Ways to Save Money on Sitters
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You and your spouse have finally agreed on a movie you want to see and found an open weekend night on your calendar. You call up your qualified, reliable, affordable babysitter. Wait. Qualified, reliable and affordable? If you’re anything like Lori Huffman, a mother of four, you know, “It’s hard to find a good, experienced babysitter who’s old enough to trust and not too expensive.” If the headache of finding a sitter keeps you from getting out more often, you might benefit from one of these four types of babysitting exchanges.
1. The one-on-one exchange
In this simplest type of exchange, you trade babysitting with another parent. Ask a neighbor if your kids can play at her house while you run to an appointment. Reciprocate when she’s in need.
Two stay-at-home moms might take turns watching each other’s kids one morning per week so each gets a morning to herself.
It gets easier to schedule date nights when you trade babysitting with another couple twice a month. Or two single moms could trade babysitting one week- end a month. One mom could keep the other mom’s kids from Friday evening to Saturday afternoon, and the next month they would switch.
2. The four-family date swap
In this swap, four families schedule one babysitting night a month in their calendars. The families rotate houses, and two couples stay with the children while the other two enjoy their night of free babysitting. The rules are straight- forward: the kids have to be fed before they are dropped off, and the parents have to be prompt in picking them up.
Everyone follows a simple schedule so the kids (and parents) know what to expect each time: free play, make a craft, have a snack and watch a movie.
This swap could easily be adapted for fewer families or for a group of stay-at- home moms who need babysitting but also want to benefit from time with friends.
See page 2 for more babysitting exchange ideas.