Join a Babysitting Co-op
Babysitters typically charge $10 or more an hour, making it tough to justify a date night when you're pinching pennies, but babysitting co-ops are free.
"You use [the co-op] as much as you want or as little as you want, but I would say you'll save easily $100 a month," says Gary Meyer, author of Smart Mom's Baby-Sitting Co-op. According to Gary, babysitting co-ops are usually an organized group of women from the same neighborhood, church or circle of friends who take turns watching each other's children free of charge.
When Gary's wife joined a local babysitting co-op in the late '90s, his family of five felt financial relief immediately. His wife, a full-time mom, also started to feel better emotionally and was able to make thriftier choices while running errands because she didn't always have three kids in tow. "It's one thing to have the convenience of babysitting co-ops, so that you can have dates and dine out and don't have to pay $50 bucks for the sitter, but it is another thing to have peace of mind and plan your errands out [so you can] shop wisely," Gary says. Here are some tips from Gary on starting a babysitting co-op:
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