Got a big kid who is going off to summer camp this year? Guest blogger Alvina Lopez offers these tips for saving money on this big expense.
With the summer heat comes the summer spending. With kids out of school, summer days are full of movie outings, museums, amusement parks, summer vacations, and so much more. While all of these activities can be extremely fun and entertaining, they can also be a major damper on the family budget. On top of family activities and vacations, many parents opt to send their kids to summer camp. Though summer camps can be pricy, they don’t have to take a major chunk out of your carefully configured summer funds. Try these simple ways to save money and allow your kids to have a fun and enriching time away from home.
1. Book Early: One of the best ways to save money on summer camps is by booking your child’s stay early. Many camps offer a reduced rate for reservations made up to 6 months prior to the start date of the camp. Also, most camps provide a discounted rate for families that pay the entire amount of the camp early rather than waiting until the last minute. This seems like a no-brainer reserve your child’s stay early and possibly save as much as $100 dollars or even more. Moreover, by reserving the slot early, you can now plan the remainder of the summer around those dates. Just be sure to plan ahead for the camp dates. Many camps may have a no-refund policy somewhere in the fine print, so be careful.
2. Find Discounts: While this advice may sound silly: save money by saving money. Many camps offer different discounts that many parents don’t know about. This is one of the easiest ways to make your kid’s summer camp fun more affordable. Many programs offer discounts for individuals who are teachers, police officers, firefighter, or military personnel. These discounts vary depending on the organization through which the camp is run, but it is always worth asking. Discounts are also typically offered for families enrolling more than one child in the camp. While sending your kids to different camps during the summer may encourage more independence, sending your kids together can save you a significant amount of cash. Furthermore, many camps may also count towards a tax break. Summer camps can qualify as a childcare tax break. So, if you kid is 13 years old or younger, you may be able to deduct the cost of the camps from your taxable income. Be sure to check with your tax professional to make sure that your specific situation qualifies for the break.
3. Save on Gear: One of the biggest price tags associated with summer camps is the gear your kids will need. Unfortunately, many parents are so hung up on the cost of the camps themselves that they overlook how expensive buying gear can be. Thankfully, there are several ways that you can save during the process of gearing your kids up for their summer adventure. First, try to find the best deals look online and shop around. This can be somewhat stressful and time consuming, but will definitely pay off in the end. Also, try talking to friends with kids or family members about borrowing whatever gear you can. If you have a close friend with kids the same age, try sharing gear each summer and save significantly. Keep your kids from losing their pricy gear by labeling their things before they leave. Losing expensive things (as we all know) is just like throwing money away. Keep their things carefully labeled and find a good way to transport them so that things can stay organized. Keeping track of your things is key to saving on buying gear for next year.
Though sending your kids to summer camp can be an expensive endeavor, there are several ways to cut the cost and make it a worthwhile investment. Try these three tips to help save some money during the process and allow your kids to get the full summer camp experience.
Alvina Lopez is a freelance writer and blog junkie, who blogs about accredited online schools. She welcomes your comments at her email: alvina.lopez @gmail.com.