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The Hood Magazine

summer camps

Common Cents: Tips for Camps

Feb 27, 2020 ● By Jessica Stienstra, Voyage Federal Credit Union

As a kid it doesn’t get much better than overnight summer camp, but as the parent it can come with a price tag that is a bit too hefty. With a little bit of research and planning, you can avoid the financial stress of summer camp. Register early – many camps offer special early bird rates if you get registered and pay by a certain date. This can be a great way to save some costs on the tuition. March is a great time to start researching potential camps and making a list of tuition and early bird deadlines. Plan ahead – start a savings account at your bank and name it “Summer Camp” and then set up an automatic monthly transfer into the account so that when the time comes to pay, you already have the money saved up and it doesn’t make such a dent in your monthly budget. Have more than one child? Make sure to check for sibling discounts if you plan on sending more than one child to camp this summer. Along those same lines, it never hurts to ask if they have any other discounts available that you might be eligible for.   Get your kids involved – this is one of our favorite ways to save for summer camp! As a family, decide on a realistic dollar amount for your child to help contribute to the camp expenses. Then brainstorm and come up with a plan to help them reach their goal. Let them get creative in the beginning and don’t try too hard to give them all of the ideas – give them a little space to think and I think you will be pleasantly surprised at their creative ideas. It might be tempting to just pay them for chores around the house to help them reach their goal, but if you do that then remember it is actually you still covering all of the costs so factor that into your budget. Think seasonally, right now is a great time for your kiddos to earn some cash by offering to shovel for a neighbor so they don’t have to go out in the cold. Maybe they offer to walk a dog, or mow lawns or pull weed as the weather gets nicer. Not only are you helping them learn to be financially responsible, you are also teaching them how good it feels to offer help to others. It’s a double win!

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