The summer season and going to camp are synonymous for a lot of kids. Sending your kids to camp for the day, a week, or longer not only gives them the chance to meet new and different friends and experience life away from home, it also gives you and your spouse a break and some needed alone time. Summer camps can get expensive though so if you’re on a tighter budget like most families in today’s economy, here are ways to still send your kids to camp without breaking the bank.
Start by figuring out what discounts the camp offers for either lower income families or for families whose parents are in the armed forces, a teacher, a police officer, firefighter, or any number of other public service positions. Especially if you opt for a camp run by the local government, the Boy Scouts, Salvation Army, or other public agencies, you should be able to find discounts depending on your occupation. If you want to send multiple kids to camp, see if a camp offers discounts for families with more than one child. If your kids usually attend different camps you could be spending hundreds or thousands more than you would if they attend the same camp.
If your children are 13 or younger, you may also be able to qualify for a tax break by claiming the cost of camp as a childcare tax break from your taxable income. If this is a possibility for you, be sure to check with an accountant or tax specialist before signing up.
Some camps offer cheaper prices for families who book early and pay in full right away. If you’re positive your kids can attend during the dates you book, you could save a hundred bucks or more per child. Be sure to check the camp’s fine print though in case they hold a strict no-refund policy should something happen that prohibits your children from attending.
You could also consider booking a shorter session to keep costs low. The camp may not advertise the shorter sessions so be sure to ask if you’re interested in this option. Also be sure to look into where the costs of the camp originate. If they charge for transportation to and from the camp, see if you provide transportation for your kids if you could save money.
Get creative with your time to help you save on summer camp. If it’s possible for you, see if the camp will reduce your costs if you volunteer for a couple days. Most camps could use an extra adult around and may be willing to work with you. If they offer discounts for folks who refer others to the camp get your kids’ friends to attend if possible to help reduce your costs. Plus, your kids will go to camp with their friends.
If you just can’t afford a single lump payment, you can also see if the camp would be willing to do a payment plan for you. Before signing up for any camp, spend a little time researching online to find great deals on different summer camps. With some extra effort, you may just find a camp that will cost you way less than you budgeted.