The school year is rapidly approaching graduation season, which means for most parents’ the question of what to do with the kids for summer is looming in front of you. Summer camps leave kids with memories of sleeping in bunk beds, learning to ride a horse, swing a tennis racket, or the time that their traveling baseball team won the state championship. For parent’s today the cost of many full time day camps can cost $300 to $500 a week. Sleep away camps can cost $10,000 or more. Weekly specialty camps for sports like tennis, swimming, or golf can be extremely costly as well. For many families, camp is not always a budgeting item that parents’ put as a line item in the beginning of the year. Camps can often cause a dent in a parents’ cash reserve that they have to make up in the fall just in time to spend money for the holiday season. What are some ways you can get through the summer season without breaking the bank? Here are five smart money moves I came up with for you.
- Get a two for one deal– If you have more than one child, look to see if you can a discount by sending multiple siblings to the same camp. Camps will often offer a discount that can range from 5% to 25% if they know that more than one child will come to camp.
- Get financial aid– There are more than 2,400 camps that are accredited by the American Camps Association (www.acacamps.org). They can offer scholarships that will vary from discounts to even getting the camp for free. The number of ‘camperships’ increase each and every year.
- Stay local– Sleep away camp can be a ton of fun for a child. I went away to sleep away camp and have great memories today of the fun we had and the things we learned. If you can keep your child in the state versus going out of state you can save money from potential plane rides or other traveling costs.
- Learn The Refund Policy– Since we don’t always know what is going to happen with work or family situations, make sure you have a clear understanding of what money you will get back in your pocket if you have to cancel.
- Integrate a family trip– Since so many families live in different parts of the country, see if you plan a vacation and a family trip at the same time. You may save some cost by not needing a hotel or may be able to borrow a car from a family member.
Keep in mind that kids are still kids. Sometimes, we overdo the camp thing by spending more money than necessary trying to create what we think will be a magic memory for our children. The best memories some of us have a kids can be as simple as a bike ride to the park or roasting marshmallows around a fire. Try to budget this item in when you do your family profit and loss every year. Otherwise, your summer could mean the money blues.
CFP®, AAMS®, AWMA®, CRPC®, CMFC®, CRPS®
Editor in Chief of Your Smart Money Moves
Co-CEO and Founder of oXYGen Financial, Inc – The Leaders in Gen X & Y Financial Advice and Services
Ted Jenkin is one of the foremost knowledgeable professionals in giving financial advice to the X and Y Generation.
Find us on Facebook here – CLICK CLICK