How to budget for summer camp?

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By the CBBCNJ Team

Last updated on

Summer camp is a fantastic opportunity for children to make new friends, explore their interests, and create unforgettable memories. However, the costs associated with attending summer camp can be quite high. In this article, we’ll guide you through the best practices on how to budget for summer camp so your child can have a memorable experience without breaking the bank.

Start Planning Early

One key factor to successfully budgeting for summer camp is starting early. This allows you to put aside money gradually as well as take advantage of any early bird discounts or incentives that might be available. The earlier you start planning and saving, the farther your money will go.

Research Camps and Prices

Begin by researching different camps and their prices to have an idea of what kind of budget you need to prepare. Make sure to consider factors such as location, duration, and the type of activities offered. This research will help you understand both the overall cost and if there are any additional expenses involved.

Create a Timeline and Save Money Regularly

Establish a timeline for when you want to pay for the camp fees and other expenses, such as supplies, extra activities or transportation. Calculate how much you need to save monthly, bi-weekly or weekly, and set up a savings plan accordingly. You could open a designated account or keep the funds separate from your everyday spending.

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Seek Out Discounts and Incentives

Taking advantage of discounts and incentives can substantially lower the cost of a summer camp. Here are some common ways you can save on camp expenses:

  • Early bird registration: Many camps offer a reduced fee if you register in advance. This discount can help you save up to 20% or more depending on the camp.
  • Sibling discounts: If you have multiple children attending the same camp, some programs offer sibling discounts. Check with the individual camp for their specific offers and requirements.
  • Referral incentives: Some camps provide a referral incentive if parents recommend friends or family members who also enroll their children. Connect with other families looking to send their kids to camp and see if they’d be interested in joining the same program to save money collectively.
  • Payment plans: Paying off camp fees over time may be an option instead of making a lump sum payment. Discuss this possibility with the camp organizers to find out if they offer flexible payment options that align with your budget.
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Budget-Friendly Camp Choices

While some summer camps come with extravagant price tags, there are more affordable alternatives available. The following types of camps tend to be less expensive:

  • Local day camps: These often come with lower costs overall since they don’t require overnight accommodation.
  • Camps hosted by non-profit organizations: Religious groups, community centers, or local clubs might run summer camps at more accessible prices compared to private entities.
  • City parks and recreation programs: Many towns and cities offer inexpensive summer camp experiences or workshops, giving your child a chance to explore new interests.

Apply for Scholarships and Financial Assistance

If your budget is tight or the summer camp you’re interested in seems unattainable financially, consider applying for scholarships or financial assistance. Most camps have limited funds set aside to assist families in need.

Deadline Awareness

Similar to early bird discounts, financial aid and scholarship applications often have specific deadlines. Research the camp’s financial assistance offers as soon as possible and make a note of the deadlines in your calendar.

Application Preparation

Applying for financial aid requires preparation. Gather essential documents such as tax returns and income statements in advance so that you’re ready when it comes time to complete the application process.

Plan and Save on Accompanying Costs

Summer camp expenses do not end with registration fees; there are additional costs to consider in your budgeting process:

  • Supplies and equipment: Your child might need equipment or supplies for the camp’s activities. Consider purchasing used items or borrowing from friends/family members to cut down on these costs.
  • Transportation: Some camps provide transportation at an additional fee. If not, factor in the cost of driving to/from camp each day or the price of sending your child by public transport.
  • Extra activities: Camps often offer optional outings or extra activities at an added cost. Decide in advance whether your budget can accommodate these extras or if your child will stick to the basic camp itinerary.
  • Clothing: Summer camp may require special clothing (i.e., swimsuits, hiking boots). Shop sales and deals on these items to save money without compromising quality or safety.

By starting early, exploring different options, taking advantage of incentives and applying for scholarships or financial assistance, you can get the most out of your summer camp budget. These strategies will ensure that both you and your child enjoy a memorable and stress-free experience at summer camp.

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