Your children badly want to attend summer camp, but your bank account is still suffering from the recent economic down turn. It is especially difficult when you have a brood of them, with varied interests to cater to. Here are some ways you could save money on summer camps and ensure that your children do not miss out on their dream camps.
1. Save way ahead.
Summer always comes and goes, and with no school to keep your children busy and safe while you are at work, and no alternative child care during the day, you may need to send your children to summer camp to keep them gainfully occupied for part of the summer. Pre-empt the estimated amount you need and start saving way in advance. The reason why you save way ahead is linked to the next point. You need to have sufficient money to catch early bird discounts.
2. Get there early: catch the early bird discount.
Be on the look out for early registration perks. They can be as good as having to pay only half the amount or if you are the first to respond, your children may even go for free. You can find these early bird discounts advertised on the local community bulletin boards, or simply by surfing the Internet. Be sure to scout around for the best deal instead of settling for the first you set your eyes on, bearing in mind the best deal for your money’s worth.
3. Get a discount for bringing a friend.
In an economic down turn, even companies or You can always split the benefits between the two such that each pays half of the total fee for both children. You may be surprised at the amount you can save.
4. Organise your own camp in your backyard or a friend’s if your children are too young or shy to go to summer camp.
Get together with some friends or neighbours and organise your own camp for your children. Adults can take turns to take leave and run part of the camp with the help of the older children who no doubt would love a chance at bossing around the younger ones.
5. Go for school, church or community-sponsored camps.
These camps are cheaper because they are subsidised. If your children thrive on being with friends, they may prefer these camps as they are likely to find a familiar face among the campers.
6. Volunteer at a camp and your children attend free or subsidised.
If you have the time to spare, you may want to take a few days of leave to volunteer your expertise at a camp. You may not even need to pay a cent for your children to attend the same camp. Your children’s school, church or your community centre may offer such great deals.
7. Volunteer your older children as part of the running team.
If your children are old enough, they may become part of the volunteer team to help run activities at the camp. They may pay only part of the fee or nothing at all. Young teens may be bought over with the opportunity for leadership training or simply a chance to be the boss for once.
8. Scout around for replacement offers.
Some children may have to give up their places at camps due to last minute commitments. They may give up their places for a smaller fee. If you are fortunate, your children may even go for free. You may find such information at the school, church or community information or bulletin boards, on-line, or even by word of mouth.
9. Get your children to work for their camp fees.
Get your children to pack their stuff up and hold a garage sale or flea mart to sell off the stuff they do not need anymore. This way, they learn to tidy up after themselves and work for the things they want. They will probably treasure their camp more because they have put their blood and sweat towards getting the money for it.
10. Send out a ‘Sponsor me on my birthday’ request.
You or your children may send out these requests to family and friends for monetary gifts instead of things for their birthdays. Some family members or friends may be happier giving cash as they are spared the headache of having to scout for a gift that may become a white elephant.
11. Borrow, rent or buy second-hand goods if your children are not certain they will stick to the activity for life.
Your children may need certain clothes or gear for their camp. Instead of getting new equipment and clothes, you may wish to borrow rent or buy them at flea marts. Let your children know your budget constraints and the possibility of the items becoming white elephants after the camp.
12. If it is an outdoor camp, bring the old clothes in the house instead of the outlandish clothes.
Let your children know the possibility of getting their good clothes soiled or torn at rough outdoor camps, and they will be most willing to co-operate with you on this. You may not need to spend on new clothes for them if their clothes are not damaged, thus saving on future spending.
Share with your children the value of frugality even if you can afford all the camps they want to attend. By doing so, not only will your children learn to spend their money wisely, they will also learn to treasure the camp and the things they have.