For many families in America, sending your children to summer camp is a family tradition. When I went to camp at Speers-Eljibar in the Poconos as a child, I can distinctly remember learning how to canoe, ride a horse, and most of all having fun playing tons of games and activities. However, summer camps can cost your family and arm and a leg if you aren’t careful on how to look out for a bargain. Here are some your smart money moves tips on how to save money on summer camps.
- Ask about the “group” discount- Even though your children may want to go to different summer camps, some camps will offer a discount if multiple children attend the same camp. If you can get some consensus amongst your kids, this can save you a few bucks going into the summer.
- Be an ‘early’ bird- Just like registering for a conference, camps like it when they know that guaranteed income is coming in for the summer. Thus, if you can make a decision now versus the last minute, you may be able to get an early registration discount.
- Ask your CPA about Flexible Spending Accounts- Many of you who work at a large corporation can sign up for an FSA account. You will want to do your homework, but single working parents or families in which both parents work MAY be able to sign up for FSA accounts through your employer to pay for summer day camps. This is a good one to check on with your CPA.
- Check community centers and religious organizations- Especially when it comes to summer day camps, there may be places that you wouldn’t normally expect that offer a day camp. Places such as community centers can be much more cost affordable than going to a private more well-known day camp in your area.
- Ask your relatives- If things are really tight at the wallet, you may have relatives that live in another state or are going to be renting out a house for part of the summer. It’s possible that your child can tag along for the trip or take a jaunt for a couple of weeks to be away from home. Give them some spending money and that may be all it will cost you.
You can always consider breaking things up and doing a camp that runs for a week or two and then having your children home for a week or two, but that will depend on your family situation. Try these five money tips to help you save some bucks for the summer.
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Ted Jenkin is a frequent guest columnist for the Wall Street Journal and Headline News Weekend Express. He is the co-CEO of oXYGen Financial. You can follow him on LinkedIn @ www.linkedin.com/in/theceoadvisor or on Twitter @tedjenkin.