One great way to save money, and still allow you and your spouse some time together is to form a babysitting co-op. The way this would work is that you find several families with children, and then you rotate through babysitting each other’s children so that the other couples can go out, and not worry about
Paying for a babysitter. For a co-op to work successfully, you should set up some ground rules.
1) You should agree on a time that you drop off and pick up children. It can be hard on the family who is babysitting to have some children dropped off at 5:00 p.m. and others that are not picked up until 11:00 p.m. It may also be difficult if you have a large co-op to have that many children for longer than three or four hours.
2) You should set up a schedule. If you have four families in your group, assign one family the first week of the month, another family the second week of the month and so on. This works well, because you can plan activities around when you will have the children. Of course if you need to trade one week for the next it is good to be flexible.
3) You should have expectations made about whether or not to have the children fed before you drop them off. You might also want to decide if you want the parents to try and put the children to bed, before you come and pick them up. This might be difficult to do if you have a group with children of various ages.
As you set up the rules, and then begin having the co-op you will be able to spend time together as a couple without the added expense of a babysitter. Your kids will also begin to look forward to the chance that they have to spend with their friends every Friday night.