How can you look at your kids and explain to them that summer camp won’t happen because you simply can’t afford it? You want to give your children the best possible experience as they grow up, and summer camp is one of the most important rites of passage for any child in the U.S. But you don’t have to force your kids to skip the summer with their friends. Here are a few creative ways you can pay for summer camp this year.
Get Financial Aid
There are a variety of ways you can get financial aid for your children’s summer camp fees. Anything from need-based grants to scholarships are available in your community and beyond. A need-based grant, for instance, will take in your overall income to determine if you qualify.
Start early. Don’t wait until summer to check out your options. And while plenty of information is available on the internet, don’t limit your scope to your computer. Give the camp a call to find out directly what kind of resources are available.
Create a Camp Savings Plan
If you know that summer camp will be a recurring cost, start a small camp fund. Put away a little money from each paycheck. You can even have your kids contribute a little of their allowance to feel the satisfaction of saving money. It can be a great learning experience for them.
Another way to create a seed to start your camp savings is to take out a small loan. Some families may turn to their assets as collateral to take out a quick loan. For example, a quick loan on your motorcycle can help get things started and you can pay that off over time. You can also open another savings account to keep the money separate or even have a jar set out at home to collect extra cash.
Choose a Day Camp
If the budget just isn’t there for a week-long summer camp experience, you may want to consider an alternative that can still give your kids the camp experience without being harsh on your budget. Day camps are common in every community and are only a fraction of the cost.
With a day camp, your kids will come home to sleep and may only have one meal at the camp itself, which reduces the cost for the directors and those savings get passed on to you.
Offer a Creative Solution
Your creative ideas don’t have to stop with money. Sometimes money isn’t the only tool we have in our tool box. You can offer to volunteer, which might get your child a free or discounted passes to the summer camp.
If you have additional time to spare, offer your services to help with the summer camp. These businesses usually operate on a shoestring budget, so will often take all the help they can get. If you can teach a class, offer that. If your skills are in the office, offer that. If you can think creatively about your options, you may open up an entirely new solution.
Summer camp is an amazing experience designed to give children a sense of belonging and independence. If you want to send your kids to camp this year, consider a few ways you can make that happen.