Saving on Sitters: Creative Child Care Solutions for a Tough Economy

At the first sight of a weakening economy, families start tightening their purse strings, spending less on luxury items for the kids, and less on vacations, extracurricular activites, toys—even child care. The peace of mind that comes with a quality caregiver may be priceless, but it can cost you a pretty penny. Is there a way to save on child care without sacrificing the quality of the caregiver or the peace of mind that comes with it?

Yes! In fact, there are several, whether you're looking for ways to keep your current caregiver or you're in need of tips to hire a more affordable one. By incorporating a few creative child care solutions, you'll be able to save money and find a balance between quality and affordability.

Keeping Your Current Caregiver

Children often develop an emotional bond with their caregivers, so it's understandable if you'd like to keep your current one. You've got three money-saving options:

  • Option 1: Use your current sitter less but keep paying her standard rate.
  • Option 2: Enter into a share care with another family and share the sitter.
  • Option 3: Use your current sitter the same amount but for less pay.

Let's explore these options to see which one may be right for you:

Option 1: Using the Sitter Less

How it works
Give your sitter one extra day off each week or an extra hour off each day. If you can't adjust your schedule, perhaps a family member could step in for the last hour. By cutting back one hour each day, you could save quite a bit of money—if you pay your sitter $10 per hour, for example, this could save you $50 each week.

What to do
If you're going to reduce your caregiver's hours, you must have a talk with her so she knows what to expect. Be honest, and be prepared for her to seek out other work to supplement the new reduction in her take-home pay.

Whether you know of a friend looking for the occasional sitter or a manager looking for part-time workers, let her know of extra ways she could supplement her income. The sincere efforts you demonstrate toward your sitter can also help foster additional loyalty.

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