Image: jcjgphotography (Shutterstock)
Carrie Kirby at Wise Bread suggests organising a group of fellow parents into a babysitting exchange. Families can earn points or credits for babysitting others’ kids, then redeem them later to have their own kids looked after. The credits system is egalitarian and fair, and would be easy to organise with Google Docs or a dedicated service like sit4sit. If you recruit enough families to your group, you probably won’t have much trouble finding a sitter for a specific time, and as long as you put in a little work beforehand, you won’t have to pay a cent for it either.
While I imagine this is something that many parents do informally with friends, recruiting more members and establishing a points system can avoid hurt feelings and even expand your social circle.