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Tips for Saving on Babysitters!

Childcare may be one of the last areas in which parents are willing to make major changes in order to save money. But costs can be reduced without sacrificing the quality of the caregiver or the peace of mind that comes with knowing your loved ones are well cared for.

Here, courtesy of Sittercity.com, are creative childcare solutions to help in this difficult economy:

Hire a hybrid caregiver A hybrid caregiver costs less than hiring two separate employees. This multi-tasking caregiver could be a babysitter that also does some housekeeping or tutors your child in a certain subject. Never assume a current caregiver can become a hybrid. Instead, create a detailed job description for this new hybrid position that emphasizes caring for children as well as the other skills you are seeking with specifics on what will be required. Make sure to fairly compensate the caregiver for the additional workload.

Enter into a "Share Care" Find a family with similar parenting styles who is interested in sharing a sitter while both sets of parents are away. Since the parents are sharing the sitter, each family pays around 20-35 percent less than an individual rate, and the caregiver gets a little more from the combined families. So, if you typically pay $12 an hour for a sitter to watch your children, and your Share Care family pays $10 to watch their child; you could each cut back 30 percent and end up paying the sitter a total of about $15 per hour which, split evenly, cuts each family's hourly expenditure to $7.50.

Offer starter pay Use a reduced rate offer as "starter pay" to a new sitter and create a schedule through which the rate will increase after certain points. This type of incremental raise helps you absorb the cost of childcare while still getting the sitter to where she needs to be financially.

To find out the average hourly rate for babysitters in your area, use Sittercity.com's Rate Calculator. Simply fill in four fields your ZIP code, number of children, age of the sitter, and her years of experience and the Sittercity Rate Calculator will provide you with the going rate based on the hourly wages offered through current jobs posted on the site.

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