Working Summer Camp Into Your Budget

Friday, March 10, 2017

Budgeting for summer camps is a thing – a really BIG thing. When my two were in preschool, I didn’t think much about summer camps because their school was either year round or had summer camps on-site that they could attend. Because of this, my monthly budget for childcare and camp remained the same.

When they both entered public school, I felt like I got a HUGE pay raise because I no longer needed to pay for preschool. The thing I forgot, which came back to bite me that first June, was that I now had to budget for summer camp -- YIKES!!

Prices for camps can vary, but I was spending about $500 per week on average to send both of my kids to camp. Now that they are older and involved in some specialized camps (think high-level robotics), that price per week has almost doubled. My friends who send their children to overnight camps are spending about $1000 per week. Therefore, budgeting becomes really important, really quickly.

Here are 5 tips for working summer camps into your budget:

· Look at What You Need: Do you need half-day programs or full-day programs? Do you need camp every week of the summer or just a few weeks? This will make a difference in your overall costs. 

· Look at What You Want: Are there certain programs that are important to you for your children to experience, such as overnight camp or a specialized STEM program? Are you willing and able to pay for those?

· Ask About Discounts: Many camps offer discounts or promotions for registering early or enrolling for multiple weeks of camp. Most also offer sibling discounts if you have multiple children attending the camp during the same week. Ask about any and all discounts/promotions when you call. Nurture My Child has a twice-monthly email with camp promotions. Sign up with a family account to receive these deals.

· Ask About Scholarships: Several camps have formal scholarship programs, but many also offer informal ones. Look online and also call to see if there are any scholarships available. Make sure to know when those application deadlines are so you can be prepared.

· Start Early: By planning your summer ahead of time and knowing what your costs will be, you can start to save some extra money each month to set aside for camp payments. Most camps do require a registration fee and then will have you pay the balance as the summer approaches. Know when money is due and start budgeting early.

Were these tips helpful? How have you budgeted for summer camp?

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