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The Cost of a Babysitter and What You Should Pay

Paying babysitter moneyWe all know that raising a child is very expensive, but do you just how costly it is? The average cost to raise a child born in 2012 is $241,080 (excluding the cost of college) compared to just $192,497 (adjusted for inflation) in 1960. As costs have increased, more than 8 million Americans are working second jobs to make ends meet when it comes to daily expenses such as food, housing, utilities and to pay off credit card debt. As a result, many people rely on babysitters and daycare facilities to look after their children while they are at work, but it is no surprise that the cost of child care has also soared.

Whether you are looking for a babysitter to watch your children on a daily basis, on occasion when you are at a second job, or simply for a couple of hours here and there, there is no standard rate for how much you should pay a babysitter. There are many factors including location, number of children, and years of experience to consider. You want to be sure you are offering a competitive rate, but you also don’t want to overpay – a night out is expensive enough and you don’t want to spend money you could be putting toward getting out of debt.

Use this guide to help you determine how much to pay a babysitter for any situation.

  • First consider your location and research the going rate in your area. For example, a babysitter in Columbus, OH makes an average of $10.25 per hour compared to a babysitter in San Francisco who makes an average of $15.75 per hour. Sitter City’s list of average rates for major American cities is a great place to start your research and don’t forget to consult other families in the neighborhood.
  • Consider how many kids you have. Care.com suggests that you should expect to pay $2 to $5 more per hour for each additional child. However, other sites and friends who babysit suggest that it may only cost $1 more per additional child.
  • You should also take into account how old the babysitter is and how many years of experience they have. The more experience (or certifications) a babysitter has, the more they can charge.
  •  Don’t forget to factor in the types of activities the babysitter will be responsible for. Will the babysitter need to drive the kids to and from school or lessons and practices? Does the babysitter double as a tutor? Will they need to cook meals or do any housekeeping? If so, they should be paid more.
  •  What time of day or year will you need a babysitter? If the kids will already be asleep when the sitter arrives, you may be able to pay less than the sitter’s usual rate. If you plan to hire a sitter for Valentine’s Day or New Year’s Eve, you may need to pay more than the sitter’s usual rate.

Care.com has a great tool that will help you factor in your location, the number of children, the sitter’s experience, and the amount of time you will need a sitter for to determine exactly how much you should pay a sitter.

For help budgeting for a child, try the Budgeting for a Baby calculator.

ABOUT AUTHOR / Madison

Madison is a Marketing Communications & Programs Associate at ACCC. She is excited to share her tips on saving money and being financially responsible here on the Talking Cents blog!

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