How to Find a Babysitter on a Budget

Frugal Babysitting? Save Money on Your Next Sitter

Find a BabysitterWhile there is a lot of glamor and security that comes with hiring a nanny directly, sometimes you simply don't have the money to put into the hourly wage that accompanies. For those who need a babysitter on a shoe-string budget, this can become problematic. However, there are ways you can secure an individual to care for your children without the extravagant bill at the end of the night.

1. Teens – High school kids can make great sitters if you need someone available to watch the children. Usually, teenagers are quite inexpensive and are always looking for a way to make a few extra dollars. A screening for a teenager could merely require a phone call to his or her parents to ensure that the teen is up to the challenge of being a caregiver for your children. Some local programs may even help you find high school students who are eager to work and show interest in babysitting.

2. Family – Family members are usually ideal if you need a sitter for an afternoon or so. Some families don't charge for watching a member's children and could save you a great deal of money. However, you should never assume that your sister or mother is willing to become a permanent solution for your babysitting needs. While they may do it gladly, you don't want them to feel like you're taking advantage of them.

3. Advertise – Putting an ad in the paper may be a method that could land you a cheap babysitter. In order to spark interest, don't list how much you are willing to pay. Allow these individuals to call you directly. As you may be more flexible for adjusting what a babysitter's time is worth to you, some may be willing to accept your initial bid for the job. There could be a qualified individual out there who just needs a few extra dollars for his or her own projects. You can also look at sites online, like, to find a babysitter in your price range.

4. Friends – Don't be afraid to ask your friends or colleagues for help finding a babysitter. A friend may do it gladly or the colleague may know of a teen or someone else that needs the money and is qualified to babysit for you. A friend may be more inclined to accept a lower amount giving the situation more of a “favor” feel. A colleague at work could have his or her own teen that needs to pay for the insurance on their own automobile and could be looking for work.

5. Haggling – Don't be afraid to haggle over prices. Negotiation of wages is all part of any business opportunity. Some may be more willing to adjust their own budgets if they need the money bad enough. Of course, you don't want to hire someone that seems too eager for such a low pay. It could make you feel uneasy, especially if you don't know the individual.

The most ideal way to find a good babysitter is to check a person's background. While this may be expensive to some, it could provide a great deal of information that the individual may not be willing to share. Using a basic application can provide you with some information about an individual, and you should include a place for references so you can place a few phone calls. While you need a cheap babysitter, you should never assume that anyone applying for the job will have your best interests in mind.

Rachel is an ex-babysitting pro as well as a professional writer and blogger. She is a graduate from Iowa State University and currently writes for She welcomes questions/comments which can be sent to @

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12 Responses to How to Find a Babysitter on a Budget

  1. Daisy @ Prairie Eco Thrifter 08/04/2013 at 7:38 am #

    When I was a teenager, I babysat two children for only $5/hr. I was neighbors with the family so they didn’t even have to drive me to and from the gig. It was a great setup for them!

  2. Felix Lee 07/27/2013 at 11:49 pm #

    I am more comfortable to have a family member to babysit for me rather than someone I barely know. I just can’t risk my baby’s safety to someone I hardly even know.

  3. Marissa @ Thirty Six Months 07/27/2013 at 6:46 am #

    Family members are the best option I think. I have a friend whose mom lives a few blocks away from her place and she’s the one taking care of her kids.

  4. simon 07/16/2013 at 10:01 am #

    Awesome tips indeed. I would be a bit wary of advertising since am not sure I would entrust my kids to a complete stranger. I think when it comes to babysitters I would go with family, family friends or people highly recommended by them or take turns watching the kids with another couple!

  5. Derek @ 07/16/2013 at 9:57 am #

    One other group I would include is neighbors. You can work a trade system where you don’t even exchange money. You watch our kids on Monday and we’ll watch yours on Wednesday type of arrangement.

  6. Thomas | Your Daily Finance 07/15/2013 at 4:14 pm #

    I dont know if I will every be comfortable with a babysitter outside of the family members like GramGram and GranGran as the kids call them. We are lucky to have a girl in the neighborhood that is highly recommended by most of the neighbors but we haven’t used her. Teens are great and isn’t there a site that is set up for this type of thing. I think its like or something I cant remember.

  7. Little House 07/11/2013 at 7:11 am #

    When I was a teenager I made a pretty good living babysitting. It doesn’t seem like many parents today trust teens to watch their kids, but it was a great opportunity for me!

    • Rachel Thomas 07/12/2013 at 6:33 am #

      I did that too. I think it just depends on how well they know you and what references you have. I found it a lot easier to get jobs from friends of my family than from strangers. Thanks for commenting.

  8. Jimmy 07/11/2013 at 2:51 am #

    Good tips here, my wife usually swaps with a neighbour – we babysit for them one night, they do it for us another night. all without pay

  9. Gretchen 07/10/2013 at 7:59 pm #

    I agree with your tips, but I’d like to add a point from a babysitter’s perspective. I’m more likely to return to families who I feel compensate me well for my time. The more I get paid, the more likely I am to take the job before other priorities. I’m in my early twenties and have a full time job, so I don’t NEED the money, but it is hard to turn down! In addition, I don’t mind if they call me last minute because I know financially it will be worth it. Basically what I’m saying is that if a responsible, reliable babysitter is important to you, then you will likely have to pay them well.

  10. Michael 07/10/2013 at 8:32 am #

    We’ve finally reached a point where our older kids can watch the younger ones. We still pay them (a bit) for their time, but it’s cheaper and easier than finding an outside sitter.

    • Rachel Thomas 07/12/2013 at 6:31 am #

      Wow, I bet that is a lot cheaper. I am glad that your children are responsible enough for that. Thanks for commenting.

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