Child Care on a Budget -- Savings Experiment
According to a recent study, the average American family spends over $7,000 a year on child care. That's a major expense. So, is it possible to lower your costs without compromising on care and quality? Let's take a look.
One great way to lower your child-care costs is by joining or starting a babysitting co-op. These co-ops consist of parents who exchange free babysitting services with one another. That's right -- there's no money involved! Instead, a system of points, hours or tokens is used to measure how much work each family has put in.
To find more information on how to join a local co-op, check out BabySitterExchange.com. On the homepage, simply click "Find a Community," enter a zip code, and you'll see a list of all the groups in your area
If your schedule isn't flexible enough for a co-op, try Care.com. This site will connect you with a whole network of sitters and nannies in your vicinity. Each provider has a profile, complete with ratings, reviews, skills and experience.
Basic membership is free, and it allows you to view and post jobs. A Premium Membership will cost you $39 a month, but it also gives you the ability to request background checks, access references and contact an unlimited amount of caregivers.
No matter what, always remember to be safe and thorough when choosing a sitter. Always acquire references, background checks and conduct an interview beforehand. Give these tips a try, and you'll be on your way to finding childcare that's not only dependable, but affordable as well.