5 Ways To Save On Summer Camp

The best way to save money on Summer camp is to start looking today.

Today you maybe thinking spring break but you should be thinking about summer and camp for your children. For many summer camp is that annual rite of passage where kids learn to row a boat, swim in a lake, and appreciate the sun setting over a lake. The American Camp Association (ACA) estimates the average cost of overnight summer camp at around $85 per day per, this includes the less expensive church camps at a few hundred a week to the private camps at over $1000 per week. 

Sounds pricy? You bet, but when you break it down to an hourly rate it cheaper than a movie. Here are just a few strategies that will help you best fit your child with camp at a price that is within your budget:

1. Begin as early as possible. It takes time to do the research and compare camps so start well before the summer is upon you. Once you have found camps with in your budget that you think your child will like, give them the choice. Here is the point often discounts are available for campers that sign up early. Planning ahead will gives you more time to save up for camp. At Swift Nature Camp we encourage families to start paying a few hundred every month as early as February so when the bill comes in June it is very manageable. 

2. Scholarships exist.Swift Nature Camplike other camps believes that every child should go to camp so we offer financial assistance programs. We look for donations plus we match our donations but these are on a first-come, first-served basis so funds do run out. Camps provide scholarships at a sliding scale don't think that your salary level will knock you out. 

3. Consult your accountant. Even if you don't qualify for scholarships or other discounts, you may be able to pay for day camp for kids under 13 using pre-tax dollars in a dependent care flexible spending arrangement (FSA). The IRS caps dependent care FSAs at $5,000 per year, and your employer withholds money from each paycheck to fund the plan.
Also consider the Child and Dependent Care Credit, which allows taxpayers to deduct up to 35 percent of their childcare expenses, up to a maximum of $6,000. "My best advice is to check with a tax planning professional and keep track of expenses," says Golden.

4. Other savings. If you enrolling multiple children to the same summer camp, you may qualify for a multi-child discount. A trend is to fill open bunks with a Groupon deal so keep looking for those. However, these are often at the end of the summer. If a traditional summer camp is outside your budget try looking more local at day programs or week long camps. Some of the best values for summer programs are local park districts, universities or community centers. Don’t rule out churches, local libraries, nonprofits like the YMCA, or scouting groups they often provide affordable summer programs.

5. Consider value, when selecting a summer camp. A favorite saying in among camp directors is “the memories of camp far outlast the price of camp”. It is so true 30 years from now your child will still have a sweat spot in their memory about camp and the price will long be forgotten. Prices should play an important role in your decision, but it should not the only factor when selecting where to send your child. 

The bottom line is camp is highly successful and regardless of cost (according the the ACA) 70% of parents said their child gained self-confidence at camp and nearly as many said their child remains in contact with friends made at camp. Therefore, a good summer camp program can create lasting memories and shape your child's development well into adulthood.

To learn more about 
selecting the right summer camp see SuumerCampAdvice.com
Read 875 times Last modified on Sunday, 13 March 2016 12:16


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