I've found out one of the most difficult tasks as a parent can be finding someone you trust to watch your children. Whether it's for a night out with your partner or a full-time sitter while you work, you have to be careful and thoroughly research the people you leave your children with. There's just no real way to be frugal or cheap when it comes to paying for child care. This is one time when money can't get in the way of quality. Cheap just won't cut it when your child's safety, emotional and educational needs are involved.
How can you assure your child will get quality care without going bankrupt?
You'll have to learn to scrimp in other areas to afford care for your child. Being frugal in all other areas could afford you to pay for childcare. It's a sacrifice of course, but well worth it.
See if a trusted family member can watch them. While you probably wouldn't want them to keep your child every day, a family member works out nicely for special occasions. Perhaps one of them would like additional income and if need be, watch them while you work. It would most likely be more affordable than hiring someone outside the family.
If you have a job that is flexible and allows you to stay home, then you can do most of your work while your child is sleeping. Maybe hire someone to come in one day a week to care for the kids so you can get a huge chunk done and meet deadlines.
Trade child care with a friend. Setting up a child care exchange system can work out well if you have kids around the same age. Take turns watching each others children and it won't cost you a dime.
Work opposite shifts than your partner so one of you will always be around to watch the kids. In tough times, this can be a great solution but be sure to find time to spend alone with your partner.
Universities will sometimes have a daycare affiliated with it. They usually offer open spots to faculty and students but if there are any left over, you may be able to have your child placed there. Typically, child development students are caring for the children and it's very affordable.
Don't be too proud to seek financial assistance for childcare if you qualify. The US Government has state listings for child care information available. It's definitely an option to explore if you've exhausted all others.
Remember, the care of your child is the best investment you'll ever make so you never want to opt for the cheapest care just because it's cheap. Ask family and friends for referrals, check with your church, search classifieds and online for local babysitter listings, do background checks and ask for references. You can never be too careful.
How do you afford childcare? What sacrifices do you make?