For a lot of new moms and dads, one of the reasons why they don’t go out on date nights anymore is because they find some babysitting rates to be way too much. And when you look at it, yes, it pays to be a babysitter more than to be a Starbucks barista or Trader Joe’s cashier. A lot of child care providers will tell you that their rates are what they are simply because watching someone else’s baby or child is perhaps one of the most stressful jobs in the world. They have the task of watching someone else’s most precious commodity in the world.
But that doesn’t mean you should skip out on your date night. Here are 10 ways you can save on babysitting costs.
10 Playdates With Other Friends
One of the easiest ways of saving money on babysitting costs if is you work out a deal with another family to do playdates with your kids. This way you can save money on a babysitter while your child is playing with a friend. And when it’s time for the other couple to go out on a date night, you can return the favor by taking care of their tot while they are out, too. Of course, this will only work if you trust the other family and that your child feels comfortable in their care. You’d be surprised how many couples do this!
9 Invite The Babysitter To Dinner With You
If the babysitter’s rates are too high for you, try to negotiate a pay rate that works for both parties. That, or simply invite the babysitter to go out to dinner or a movie with you and your partner for less than the desired rate. This way you are keeping an eye on your child but you don’t have to worry about doing all of the dirty work (like changing a diaper or dealing with a temper tantrum) because the sitter will be there to hopefully entertain your child. Of course, offer to pay for the sitter’s meal or movie ticket if it works out for you, too.
8 Ask A Trusted Teen
Not everyone has the qualifications to be a babysitter, but you’d be surprised to find out how many responsible teens there are who will not only offer to watch your child, but watch them like a hawk. You might want to look into hiring a teen that you already know from your circle of friends or someone that you might know from your local church, work or community organization. Needless to say, take a look at the babysitter’s level of maturity. If he or she has professional babysitting or safety courses completed (with a certificate), that of course, is a plus, too.
7 Start A Co-Op
If you are having a difficult time finding a trusted source to watch your children, think about starting a co-op on your own. And while this certainly sounds like a good idea on paper, make sure that you communicate your expectations with your fellow mom and dad friends.
Also, set boundaries and limits from the get-go before things get too big. If you find that you’ve got several friends wanting to join your co-op, the downside of it might be having to reject some tots from your group. You don’t want to end up babysitting eight or nine kids at once!
6 Ask For A Group Rate
Look into co-op babysitting opportunities or see if your babysitter does group rates. If possible, gather up some of your other dad and mom friends to see if everyone can pool in money for the babysitter. Remember, most babysitters charge by the hour and not per child. But if there are more than several children in the group, negotiate a rate that works out for everyone but most importantly, benefits your budget, too. Keep in mind, though, that you might not want to do this with younger babies as children under the age of one are going to need more one-on-one attention than a toddler.
5 Ask The Grandparents To Babysit
More often than not a grandparent will babysit your children free of charge. In fact, many grandmothers and grandfathers will feel downright insulted if you offer to pay them cash to watch your children. For them, simply being with their grandchild is a blessing in itself. Plus, they also enjoy making special memories with the kids. Of course, not every grandparent will feel this way so definitely talk to them about your expectation and their own. Remember, communication is always important. With that said though, there’s no better bond in this world than that of a grandchild with their grandparent.
4 Check Out Parents' Night Out Programs
Believe it or not, there are also plenty of places even around your own community that offers parent night out programs. Whether it’s an indoor playground, art class, or even a fun movie night, many businesses love hosting kids so mom and dad can go out!
Not only do you get to go out and socialize, but so does your child! Sure, having a babysitter at home is incredibly convenient. But if your son or daughter knows that he or she will get to play with a group of kids their age for the night, it’s a win-win situation for all!
3 Check Out Church-Based Options
In addition to parent night out programs, there are also many church-based babysitting services that allow you to drop off your child while you enjoy a much-needed night off with your babe - assuming that you are Christian or comfortable with the Church, of course. There’s also a very good chance that you might end up running into someone you know or someone your child is familiar with. That makes the night a whole lot more exciting for both the parents and the tot. Money Crashers points out, “Licensing requirements also limit the child-to-student ratio allowed. So even though it may be possible to simply drop off your kids, always call ahead to make sure there’s availability; most centers will allow you to make a reservation.”
2 Hire A Babysitter And A Tutor In One
If you have a child that is already in school, consider hiring a babysitter and a tutor in one. More often than not, many babysitters use their time after a child goes to sleep to sit on the couch and catch up on their favorite series or better yet, surf on social media.
With that said, you might as well get the most bang for your buck by having the babysitter tutor your child or in some cases teach them a new skill. You can preoccupy your tot my having them learn and have fun with their babysitter at the same time.
1 Have a Date Night At Home
If all else fails, remember that you always have the option to have a date night at home. Not only is it a cheaper option but in some cases, the most comfortable one, too. Plus, who doesn’t like enjoying a glass of wine and popcorn with their babe at home and on the couch? It’s the ideal date night if you ask us! Plus, there are so many different ways that you can enjoy quality time with your loved one at home. Not only are you saving money on babysitting costs, but you are also saving by eating at home, too!