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8 Ways Parents Can Save Money on Summer Camp

By: Brittany Engelmann-- 2016-05-06 8:00 am --

Summer camp has become a tradition in many families. It provides countless benefits to children, improving their socialization and teaching them a variety of vital life skills. Yet, the average camp costs over $500 per week. For many American families, this is too costly to consider. Fortunately, there are some easy ways to decrease the cost of summer camp and stretch your dollar further. 

  1. Start researching now. If you’re hoping to find the best deal on a camp, it helps to start searching as early as possible. This enables you to compare the pricing between many of the camps, while accessing early bird discounts when applicable.
  2. Use day camps. Day camps are often cheaper than summer camps, since the children sleep at home. Yet, they offer many of the same benefits, allowing the children to socialize, remain active, play outdoors, and learn new things.
  3. Look for discounts, scholarships, and sliding scale camps. Many camps offer a sliding scale, allowing parents to pay for camp based on their own financial abilities. There are also scholarships available through most summer camps, which enable eligible families to access part of the money needed for camp.
  4. Buy supplies in bulk. The cost of the camp is only one aspect of the overall price. You also need to consider the cost of supplies. Between the clothing, camping gear, and personal items every child needs, this can add a couple of hundred extra dollars to the cost. By purchasing camp items in bulk, you can significantly reduce the cost per item and save a lot of money. Consider collaborating with other parents. You can pool your resources together, allowing you to purchase larger quantities at the lowest possible prices.
  5. Carpool to the camp. You also need to consider transportation costs. By carpooling with other children, you can reduce the cost of gas, as well as the wear and tear on your vehicle.
  6. Use sibling discounts. Many camps offer discounted rates if you’re sending more than one child to camp at a time. If you have more than one child, consider sending them to the same camp, so you can increase your potential for savings.
  7. Use your tax break. Typically, you can deduct the cost of summer camp from your taxes, as it’s considered part of childcare expenses. To qualify, your child needs to be under the age of 13 and the camp needs to cost a similar amount per day as the average cost of daycare.
  8. Ask about referral discounts. Many summer camps will also offer you discounts if you help them find new customers. By referring family and friends and encouraging them to mention your name, you can access an even lower rate on the camp

Summer camp is an enriching experience that children fondly remember well into adulthood. It provides children with a greater appreciation for nature, while improving social skills and encouraging independence. Yet, with so many Americans living on tight budgets, finding the extra resources to enroll children in camp can be challenging. Fortunately, with a bit of savvy, you can access the discounts and savings needed to make summer camp affordable and stress-free. Explore a variety of camp items at the lowest rates, so you can make your finances go further.