Here's a way for you to get some time away from the kiddies -- and save a bundle.
Recession Mama Michele Ashamalla: Since I have a preschooler in part-time preschool a few days a week, a friend invited me to join what I would describe as a rotating playgroup.
I think it's sheer brilliance. One morning each week, a parent hosts four children at his or her house from 9 a.m. to 12 p.m. The next week, the responsibility for hosting falls to another parent in the group. It's pretty structured: The hosting parent is responsible for a craft, a snack, a circle or story time and -- if weather permits -- a little backyard running-around time. Children are dropped off between 8:45 and 9 a.m. and picked up between 12 and 12:15 p.m., so the host must be at home and completely able to focus on watching children during those hours. Since the group is small, everyone knows each other fairly well, and new additions (such as myself) have to be pretty friendly with at least one member of the group.
When I consider how much I would spend for a once-a-week class, I think a free "rotating playgroup" sounds great. I get one morning off each week for three weeks, and the next week, I get to play preschool teacher for a few hours at my house. My turn to host hasn't come up yet, but my daughter's excited to have her friends over and is already planning the craft. (It looks like it'll either be pop-up cards or paper-bag puppets with a St. Patrick's Day theme.)
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 necessities and more. She's all about saving money whenever you can, so you'll have it to spend on whatever you want!