This post may contain affiliate links. Read our disclosure here.
This week for Frugal Date Friday we are going to talk about the thing that makes frugal dates hard: babysitting. Babysitters, especially good ones, can be very expensive. So, we are going to figure out some ways to still have a real one-on-one date night and keep it frugal.
As moms, we can feel guilty for leaving the kids at home. It is also painful to spend $50 on babysitting, but we know how important one-on-one quality time with your spouse is. It is vital to a marriage. You need a chance to connect and grow as adults, without worrying about what your two year old is getting into. Thankfully, there are ways to save.
Ask Family & Close Friends
People who love your kids will usually gladly babysit for free or at a low rate. They love the chance to bond with them and are excited to babysit. If they live out of town, you can even send older kids to stay with family for a couple of days. It makes everyone happy.
Trade Off On Babysitting
One of the best ways to save is to trade off babysitting with another family. You will just need to find a family you trust and ask. You will keep each others kids so everyone gets a date night. You could even find a couple of families to do this with.
Have Dates At Home
If you have young kids and you can put them to bed early, then you can have great date nights at home. You can make a special meal, put the electronics away, and enjoy your time together. It’s a great, frugal way to still have special time while on a very limited budget.
Pick A Younger Sitter
I’m not suggesting you ask an 8 year old to babysit, but younger sitters charge less generally. You can typically pay high school students less than college students. Just make sure you hire a responsible person and you trust them fully. Sitters also charge less if they aren’t driving since they don’t have to pay for gas and insurance.
Go On A Mini-Date
If you have limited funds, you can just go on a shorter date. Half the time equals half the sitter bill. You can tell your sitter in advance you will only need them for an hour or two. You’ll still have plenty of time to go on a date while only spending $10-$20 on babysitting.
How Much To Pay Sitters
How much to pay a sitter varies greatly depending on where you live, how old your kids are, and what they are required to do. Sitters typically charge more to babysit younger kids. A great way to figure out the going rate in your area is to ask how much other parents are spending.
If you go out on a regular basis, like twice a month, the sitter may give you a better deal in exchange for consistent babysitting.
I asked moms in Columbia, SC and their most popular answers:
-Take minimum wage and then add $2/hour for each kid after the first one
-$10-$12 per hour (kids are already fed and ready for bed)
In my opinion, if the sitters do more with the kids and clean, it is worth it to pay them more.
I’ve had people ask about paying sitters with shampoo, body wash, etc. that they get for free at drug stores. In very rare cases a sitter may be okay with this, but in general, I don’t think this is the best way to pay sitters. You may be able to pay them a little less and make up for the difference with products. Just remember, they can’t pay for gas, clothes, or food with shampoo.
Be sure to ask your sitter how much they charge or tell them upfront what you pay. This gives them the option to decline the job if they aren’t content with the pay.
Please share additional tips for saving on babysitting in the comments below!
See more frugal living ideas.