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The tighter your budget is, the more important date nights are. But when you have kids it may seem impossible due to the costs of babysitters. Here are some ways to save on babysitting to enable you to make your marriage a priority.
While looking for ways to save, we know our children are irreplaceable. The goal is to find trust worthy babysitters while never sacrificing the quality of care.
Rotate With Other Couples
This is one of the easiest ways to save. Find another couple or two that you trust to take care of your children who also have children. You can then rotate with them watching the kids so everyone gets to go out.
When it is your turn to babysit, it often works best for one spouse to stay home and watch your children while the other spouse goes to the other family’s house to watch their children. This allows the children to be at home in bed when the parents get back from date night.
Another option to trading off on babysitting, is to trade babysitting for other services. This could mean that your husband cuts your neighbor’s grass in exchange for 4 hours of babysitting. You can get creative to figure out what skills you can offer to others. I know one mom who prepares a batch of freezer meals in exchange for another mom babysitting.
Be sure to be clear of everyone’s expectations before making any agreements. If they want you to do something that will take 10 hours in exchange for 2 hours of babysitting, it’s not worth it.
If you only have one or two children you can join together with other families. Gather all the children at a central location and hire one babysitter for everyone. This works out really well if the children are older and do not require as much from the sitter. If you have five children that are all three and under, this wouldn’t be a good idea.
Pay in Gift Cards
As couponers, we often find great deals on gift cards. You can ask your sitter if it is okay to pay them in gift cards and which gift cards they would want. One great option for this is Raise. You can buy discounted gift cards and even get a $5 credit when you sign-up.
You’ll want to be sure and check with your sitter before planning on doing this. If your vegetarian babysitter needs gas to get home and you hand them a $25 McDonald’s, they won’t be happy. Also, you still want to pay them the same value you would have in cash, we aren’t trying to skimp the baby sitter… but this way you can save on the gift cards. So you pay the babysitter $25 but only pay $18 for the card!
Go Out On Non-Traditional Nights/Times
Not only do restaurants have better specials during the week, but it is also easier to find a babysitter. Demand is higher on the weekends so they may be willing to charge less during the week.
Another option is to consider short dates to have a picnic in a nearby park or somewhere close by. Having shorter dates makes me feel better about having a younger sitter stay with our girls. While I wouldn’t want to put a 13-14 year old in charge of getting everyone in bed, she can handle feeding them lunch and playing for maybe 2 hours. Younger sitters are generally cheaper.
Embrace the Television
If all else fails, have date night at home. Feed the children dinner and get them ready for bed. If they are young enough you can put them to bed early. If not, put on a movie and enjoy some adult time. You can see some fun at home date night ideas here.
See more date ideas.