You won’t believe how much getting a babysitter on New Year’s Eve costs

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Parents are gonna have to drop a lot of cash to watch the ball drop without the kids on New Year’s Eve.

How much? Well, the average national rate for getting a babysitter this Dec. 31 is going to be around $30 per hour, according to estimates by UrbanSitter, a childcare search platform. And that’s for either one or two children. 

UrbanSitter surveyed more than 500 parents across the country, and also folded in transactional data from over 100,000 bookings on its site, to calculate its babysitting-rate averages. And this year, it puts the average sitter rate at $29.23 per hour to care for one child on New Year’s Eve, and $30.20 an hour for two. That’s a 12% increase from a year ago, when it was $25.99 per hour for one kid, and up from $23.96 in 2021. 

So that means that getting a sitter for four hours on New Year’s Eve can run over $120, and that’s not including the tip — let alone the food, drinks, cab fare and other expenses that can run up a New Year’s Eve tab. Parents tipped babysitters around 16% of the total fare in 2023, which was on par with tipping rates last year, UrbanSitter found. That tip adds another $20 or so onto a four-hour night out. And about 65% of parents said they would tip their babysitter, with the most common gratuity during a holiday shift like New Year’s Eve coming in between $15 to $25. 

To be sure, babysitting rates vary by location. A sitter is going to be much more expensive in a pricier metropolitan area like New York City or San Francisco, for example, compared to someplace smaller where the going rate may be well below $30 an hour for the holiday. But babysitting rates have been climbing, and not just on UrbanSitter. Caregiving site Care.com has also seen a spike in sitting rates; while it didn’t have data available yet for this New Year’s Eve, Care.com’s national average was $20.07 last year, which was up from $19.34 the year before. 

Related: Is New Year’s Eve in Times Square on your ‘bucket list’? These once-in-a-lifetime goals are financially irresponsible.

No wonder less than half of parents said they are planning a night out to celebrate “Auld Lang Syne” this year, according to UrbanSitter, which found 48% of parents on its platform said they plan to go out on New Year’s Eve. These parents are expecting to pay 1.5 times the usual hourly rate that they would the rest of the year to find a babysitter on New Year’s Eve, the platform added. And sometimes babysitters charge even double the amount of the normal rate for a New Year’s Eve gig, according to Care.com. 

There are other forces at play beyond the holiday surcharge, however. On top of the increasing demand for childcare led by parents returning to their pre-pandemic work and social routines, the market continues to see a labor shortage of babysitters, said Lynn Perkins, CEO of UrbanSitter. Some 1,019,400 childcare workers were employed in November 2023, about 30,000 workers short of the 1,049,800 working in the industry in February 2020, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics

UrbanSitter has also seen a “significant uptick” in the number of skilled professionals turning to childcare, including former teachers, nurses and other early childhood education specialists who left their jobs during the pandemic, Perkins told MarketWatch. The rise in hourly babysitting rates is also likely because those workers were able to charge more based on their skills and credentials, she said. 

“You don’t want to take a loan to go out.” 

Whether a night out is worth spending all that money is a personal call, but many parents usually wait to make the decision on the day of the event. The most popular day for families to post jobs and book their babysitters for New Year’s Eve is on the actual holiday, according to Care.com, followed by the day before on Dec 30.  

Still, the spiking cost of sitters — not to mention the price of going out, period — is keeping plenty of people at home; even those without kids. Some 63% of celebrators say they’ll spend New Year’s Eve at their own home, according to Numerator data, and 71% of New Year’s Eve celebrants are looking to spend under $100 on the holiday. 

“We don’t want to save the whole month just for one night out,” Kristin Randazzo, a mom of three tween girls aged 8 to 12 and a realtor assistant, told MarketWatch. She and her family plan to spend the night celebrating at home, serving breakfast pancakes and eggs for dinner.

Randazzo, from St Lucie County, Fla., has heard quotes of babysitting rates ranging from $25 to $35 per hour flying around for this upcoming New Year’s Eve. And the high cost of childcare has been the main reason she has chosen to stay home on Dec. 31 for the past few years.

In fact, these higher babysitter rates have sounded lucrative enough to tempt Randazzo to consider offering childcare services to other parents on New Year’s Eve as a side-hustle. But she just couldn’t bring herself to charge so much for moms and dads in the same position as her. “I don’t want to do that to another parent,” she said. “You don’t want to take a loan to go out.” 



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