Buttoned Up Expert: How Parents Can Get More Free Time at Zero Cost

How Parents Can Get More Free Time at Zero Cost

By Buttoned Up’s Savings Expert, Amy Suardi of Frugal-Mama.com

Do you have a friend with kids of similar ages? Why not start a babysitting swap?

How it works: You watch her children one day; she watches yours another day.

Frequency: Twice a week, once a week, every other weekend — you decide.

Length of time: One, two, three hours at a time. A whole afternoon. Even overnight! Imagine being able to go out late and sleep in.

Location: Each other’s houses. A park, library or playroom.

Rules: As opposed to a babysitting co-op, a swap is beautifully informal. Nonetheless, to smooth the road ahead, try to agree ahead of time on points such as:

• What if someone is late in picking up or dropping off?
• What if an unexpected sibling or friend needs to come along?
• Is screen time allowed, and if so, what kind and how much?

The possibilities are endless with exchanges between friends. What about:

• Trading off every Saturday night with another couple?
• Taking turns walking kids to school?
• Exchanging houses for a week and calling it a staycation?

Amy Suardi writes about saving money & making life better at Frugal Mama!