Paying for summer camp may seem overwhelming when you’re thinking about financing an entire summer of fun for multiple kids, but it doesn’t have to be. By spending a little bit of time doing some research you can figure out how to pay for a summer camp your kids will love. From saving throughout the year to applying for scholarships and looking at camps closer to home, there’s a solution. Every kid deserves to go to summer camp, so let’s figure out how to pay for it.
Here are some tips for parents on how to pay for summer camp for your child.
Explore Different Types Of Camp
If a summer of sleepaway camp is out of your budget, consider day camps closer to home. From craft camp to robotics camp or soccer camp, there’s a camp that your kid will enjoy, and not all of them come with the same hefty price tag.
A day camp close to home reduces the costs associated with feeding kids and housing them. The number of camp counselors needed to run the program is reduced, so the fees are also generally less. One way to save money on camp is to go this route, and send your kids with lunch or snacks packed from home. Another option to consider is length of the camp. If all summer long is out of your budget, look for a camp that is a week long, or maybe a month long.
Save Throughout The Year
If you know you want your kids to go back to the same summer camp every year, you can plan ahead and save a little bit each week or each month. Divide the tuition by 12 months, to find out what you need to put away each month, or divide it up by 52 weeks to get the weekly rate you’ll need to save per child.
Ask About Payment Plans
Some summer camps may allow you to go on a payment plan so you don’t have to pay the entire cost of camp up front at registration time. For example, you could ask about paying a portion at the time of registration and paying the rest in full by the time camp starts. Summer camps may already have this type of system built in, so definitely ask if you think this is an option that would help you.
Government Assistance, Grants or Scholarships
Some camps may participate in income-eligible government assistance programs. Ask your camp director for more information and eligibility requirements. Some specialized summer camps, such as music camps, may offer scholarship programs for top-performing students to attend. Parents may be able to take advantage of their employer’s dependent care flexible spending account for childcare, since some summer programs qualify. You can work with your accountant or the IRS to determine which programs are a good fit.
Another source to consider is grants. There are various community organizations who may offer need-based grants based on income or scholarships. Consider reaching out to different community organizations and nonprofits in your area, to see if they are able to help cover the cost. For this type of assistance, it’s better to start reaching out in the fall for the following year’s summer camp.
Ask About Discounts
Some summer camps will have early registration discounts or family discounts. It’s not guaranteed, but it doesn’t hurt to ask the camp director when you start inquiring about summer camp. You can also ask about unadvertised discounts. Paying for summer camp for multiple kids can be expensive, so any discounts will help.
Hold A Garage Sale
A garage sale is a great way to declutter, while bringing in some extra cash to pay for summer camp. Spring is the ideal time for a garage sale because everyone is excited to get out of the house after the winter. Get your kids involved in the process, so they feel like they are contributing to their summer camp. Have your kids go through their rooms and pull out games and toys they don’t use anymore, and clothes they’ve outgrown. Price everything ahead of time and make sure to advertise your sale on social media, the newspaper, and with signs on the main streets near your home. Use a thick marker when making the signs for the street so the address is readable quickly and from a distance. Garage sales typically bring in a couple hundred dollars.
With these ideas, you’ll be able to pay for summer camp for your kids. Have you picked a summer camp yet? Check out our blog about Finding A Summer Camp in 2021 for tips on how to find the summer camp that’s right for your kids!