Here’s this mom’s genius trick for finding affordable childcare


When freelance writer Jessica Graham moved to a new city recently, she had a hard time finding a reliable, affordable babysitter for her kids.

Though her schedule is flexible, she was looking for a few kid-free hours a week so she could really buckle down and get some work done, according to a recent essay she wrote for The Penny Hoarder.

Then, she stumbled across what is possibly the best kept secret ever. A friend told Graham that instead of looking for a part-time babysitter, she should join a local gym.

Fitness And Childcare

Wait, what?

Graham looked into it and found that you don’t have to work out to use the gym’s daycare facility—you just need to be somewhere in the building. When your gym has WiFi, a cafe and plenty of tables for workspace, it’s like a mini-coworking space.

“I was skeptical, but both a tour and the membership paperwork confirmed that membership includes childcare for each child under 12 years old for 2.5 hours a day, so long as the member (me) remains on the premises,” she wrote.

Workout Or Work

Now, Graham visits the gym three days a week for about two hours at a time. She also visits with her husband on the weekends so they can workout or get some work done.

The key is to avoid visiting the gym during high traffic times, Graham advises.

Here’s how the budget breaks down for Graham’s family: She pays roughly $84 per week for a membership for two adults and three kids. Compared to the 2015 national average of $214 per week for after-school babysitting, that’s a steal. Plus, the membership allows Graham and her husband to stay fit.

She’s also saving money because her kids can take three recreational classes per semester. In the past, Graham was forking over hundreds for her daughter’s gymnastics class.

What do you think? Would you join a gym to use the childcare?

About the Author

Sarah Kuta

Sarah Kuta is an award-winning writer and editor based in Colorado. She writes regularly about how to find deals, save money and find side gigs. Reach her at sarah@dontwasteyourmoney.com. More.

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