I Use the Babysitter Pay Calculator
- Just so I know what the "going rate" is in my area, I use the Babysitting Pay Calculator from Care.com (http://www.care.com/child-care-babysitter-pay-calculator-p1140.html) . It gives me a point of reference. But babysitters who are at the home while the kids are sleeping can go a cheaper rate. I also find college students have really flexible schedules and don't tend to charge as much!
- —Guest Stephanie
Trade Off with Friends
- One of the best ways to save money on childcare is by trading off with other parents who are your friends. That way, the kids get to have playdates (ideally, your friends' kids and your children will be pals as well), and you get to work or go out--or do whatever you need to do--while saving money on childcare.
- —Guest SaKat
Consider Mom's Day Out
- We started our older boy in Mom's Day Out when he was 2. They take babies as young as 6 weeks old, depending on the program in your city. Basically, it's about 4 hours a day of child care. Kids don't have to go 5 days a week and it's so much less expensive than day care. The Mom's Day Out program my son was at even had "after hours" care. By after hours, they meant you could leave your child until 3. Even the "after hours" care was much cheaper than day care and the child to adult ratio was better too!
- —Guest MomOfBoys
- My fiance and I have managed to put our 6 month old in daycare 1 1/2 days a week. Monday, we both go to work all day, Tuesday, I have him until 12:30, work at 3:30, dad gets him about 5:30. Wed, I work 5-11, so I have him all day, Thur, I'm off and have him all day, Fri, dad (an IT guy) works from home, and I work Sat. I work retail and would never have believed I could have a set schedule but my manager has been more flexible and understanding than I could have hope for. Neither of us have family that's local (closest are 5 hours away), but I do have a couple girls at work who are willing to come over and keep an eye on him for a few hours if I really need to get something done when I have him. If I really wanted to, I could work both Sat and Sun and only send him one day a week, but it's nice to have us all home together on Sunday.
- —Guest Retail Mommy
Group hours together for more value
- I used to pay for 5 days of child care per week, but only use about 6 hours per day. I realized I could pay for 3 days and keep the kids there for 8 hours. I save 2 days of tuition but only lose 1 day of coverage (in terms of # of hours). Of course this only works if your child care center offers part-time schedules/rates.
- —Guest katy
Take Advantage of Relatives
- Well, OK, not "take advantage," but there are always relatives and friends who want to see the baby. I invite them over for playdates. Even if they just come over and play with him for a few hours, I can get something done in the next room. My son gets closer to his relatives, and everyone feels like they've gotten their time with him.
- —Guest Violet
Work on Saturdays
- Scheduling one day of work on Saturdays allows my husband to watch the kids, so I only have to pay a sitter on two days during the week.
- —Guest laurie
Have a date at home
- We sometimes put the kids to bed early and have a glass of wine together. With some candles and cheese and crackers, it's almost as romantic as dinner out. And a lot cheaper!