Money-Saving Childcare Ideas

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Without a good support network, motherhood can be overwhelming. I rely on a super-competent husband, a great sitter wonderful grandparents and a cleaning lady that rocks. Some of the help can't be vetting (like the relatives--I'm just lucky). Others can. But how does one find good help?

Sheila Lirio Marcelo'??s, CEO of has two sons and two dogs. In 2006 she had a nanny crisis. Through sheer chance and persistence, Sheila found a terrific nanny. It got her thinking about a consumer Internet business that could help families avoid the suffering and frustration she went through...and was born. provides a simple and safe way for families and individuals to manage their care options for children, pets and elderly parents.

I asked Sheila to share some money-saving kid-care tips for those of use feeling the pinch.

'?¢ Babysitter Sharing: Team up with neighboring parents and share a sitter! Families sharing a child care provider can save on the cost as most providers pro-rate their fees according to the number of children they are watching

'?¢ Readjust Schedule/Work from Home: Employers are sometimes willing to adjust work schedules; which may allow you and your spouse to work opposite shifts. Or you might offer to telecommute part-time.

'?¢ School Programs: Many school districts now offer pre-kindergarten courses for four-year-olds that are free or have a small charge.

'?¢ County/State Child Care Help: Many states provide child care assistance for low-income families. Check to see if you qualify.

'?¢ Relatives as Babysitters: Enlist the help of a mom, aunt, sister to help with child care duties. Parents should still plan to pay a fee, but it can be much less when a family member is willing and able to help out.

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