If you have kids, then you know summer involve less time relaxing and more figuring out how to keep your kids entertained. Child care can be expensive, especially since it skyrockets during the summertime, and working parents need to ensure their kids are watched after.
Summer camps can be a great solution to entertain the kids. For many families, summer camps can be a tradition. However, summer camps can be expensive. Budgeting for summer camp is the key to keeping it affordable.
Find free activities first
Check with your local school or library to see if they plan to offer a free day camp at their school. Often these are funded by grants.
You can even throw your own day camp for your kids and their friends. Ask your kids what kind of games or activities they would like to play for a day. This is also a great way to help out your friends and other parents. Maybe they can even plan their own day camp too and take your kids for the day!
Envision your summer
Think about how you want your summer to go. Ask your kids what kind of activities they would like to do. Some families like a full packed summer with activities or a more flexible summer.
If you are moderately restricted on a budget, consider these questions
- How much can you afford to budget?
- What are the available options?
- What are your child’s interest?
- How much time can you afford to spend on these activities?
- Are there transport costs?
Budget for the summer
Once you decide what camps or activities you are going to do, it’s time to plan how to pay for it.
Many summer camps provider scholarships to families who need some extra financial help. Check the champs in your area and start sending in those applications.
Camps sometimes will let you save some money by offering sibling discounts. This is a win-win!
Some cities even sponsor camps that cost far less than private camps. Organizations, such as Boy Scouts, Girl scouts, the Jewish Federation, 4H, and the Salvation Army offer camps that are more affordable. Some of these camps even offer financial aid based on your household income.
There are some summer camps that offer discounts if you pay the entire fee early. This can be a terrific money saver, but be sure this is scheduled into your family’s summer schedule when you register. Some pre-early discounts for summer camp may involve you agreeing to a no-refund policy.
Ask for a financial gift. Your child’s grandparents might be willing to contribute to their grandchildren’s lives and may help pay for the summer camp.
Ask your children to dip into their own piggy banks or allowance money. If they are really interested in going to camp this summer, they may be willing to pitch in and help.
Quick budgeting tips you might consider
- Ask if the summer camp offers referral discounts for referring to other kids to the camp
- Find if transporting your child to camp yourself can save money over sending them on the camp bus
- Ask if the camp will match fees with competing camps
- If you are transporting your child to camp, find out if you know any other parents with kids in the camp and consider carpooling
- Invest in labels for your child’s gear to increase your chance of getting them back if misplaced
Budgeting for summer camp can help you keep the costs of summer vacation under control. If you are unable to afford sending your children off to summer camp, there are plenty of fun activities you can do during the summer with your kids that can be just as fun. Whether they go summer camp or spend it outside in their own backyard or with their friends, your children will have endless fun that will create unforgettable memories.