Recession Mama: In these times of cutting back and tightening the belt, one of the first things to go is babysitting. But what if you could have free childcare for your errands, or just whenever you need a break?
For those of us that don't have family nearby, that often means dragging one or more kids to the bank, the grocery store, or your doctor's appointments, where they're doing who knows what in the waiting room. What if you could have free childcare for all those times, or just whenever you need a break? We have a neighborhood babysitting co-op and it is fantastic.
Twenty families, all living within the boundaries of our local elementary school, swap babysitting services. We operate on a points system: 4 points per hour to watch one child, 6 per hour for two, 7 per hour for three. There is a rotating bookkeeper to keep the books in order and arrange the sits.
We all give up a few points per month for that service. Only agree to a sit if you want to, and bring your kids, so it's a playdate. Spend your points on school pickups or time for short errands, or a leisurely evening out. Be creative -- use points for an airport drop-off or taking care of your fish while on vacation. We all need all the help we can get, and if we can get it for free, all the better!
A former state deputy attorney general and current stay-at-home mom, Recession Mama Michele Ashamalla has three kids and ten years of experience stretching one salary to cover the necessities and more. She's all about saving money whenever you can, so you have it to spend on whatever you want!