5 Tips to Save on Summer Camp

Only the wealthiest parents are going to shell out $10,500 on summer camps like this one – plus $150 for “laundry service.”

Thankfully, there’s a variety of camps costing less than half that, as well as many that offer camp scholarships (or “camperships”) to parents who can prove financial need.

How do you go about choosing right camp for your kids? The first step is to get your kids involved as early in the process as possible. Money Talks News founder Stacy Johnson spoke with Ken Evans, who has owned and operated camps for almost 30 years. Watch the short video below to see what he suggests…

As you heard in the video above, the most important thing to do before picking a camp is making sure your kids want to be there. Here’s what to do:

  1. Talk to your kids. Find which activities interest your children. Some summer camps offer a range of activities, while others are more specialized. There are camps for sports, arts, academics, and many special interests. Some are “day camps” (you have to pick the kids up) while others are “stay camps” or resident camps. To get an idea of what’s out there, check out KidsCamps.com or Choose A Camp.
  2. Make a rough list. With a sense of your kids’ interests, search for accredited local camps through the American Camp Association and pick some affordable options. Then call camp directors and ask how they operate, how long they’ve been around, and whether they offer financial aid.
  3. Discuss options. Show your kids the websites of the camps you’re considering. If they’re close enough, take the kids for a visit to make sure your children feel comfortable there.
  4. Ask about discounts. While some camps offer financial aid, many have discounts for early registration, multiple and returning registrations, and for getting others to sign up. But as with many potential money-savers, you won’t know unless you ask. Also find out if there are extra fees or expenses (like uniforms, equipment, or field trips), and how refunds work.
  5. Do the math. If everything but the price sounds perfect, and discounts aren’t working out, consider a shorter stay – maybe four weeks instead of all summer. If it’s still too expensive, there may be other options…

Budget-camp options

If traditional summer camp is out of your reach, being affiliated with certain groups might mean more affordable alternatives:

  • Boy/girl scout camps. If your kids are members of a scout troop or council, this option may be only $100-300 a week. Here’s a database of Boy Scout camps and a Girl Scout council finder. Some camps allow non-scouts to participate.
  • Church camps. Religious communities organize affordable summer camps or youth-oriented mission trips, which may be subsidized by the church or offered at cost. For example, Smoke Rise Baptist Church in Georgia charges about $200 a week for up to 10 weeks.
  • Sports camps. If your kids are on a school or community team, there may be summer training or team-building opportunities. For instance, Mason City High School in Iowa offers weeklong sports camps for under $100.
  • School camps. School may be the last place kids want to go during the summer, but academic and club camps may be organized or promoted through middle and high schools at reasonable rates. Not all are cheap, however: The AwesomeMath summer program, for example, is close to $2,000 for three weeks.
  • Community camps. Your city’s department of recreation and parks might have summer programs and lessons. In Seattle, there are cheap or free weeklong sports programs; other activities are often available. Parents may also organize or share information online – if you’re in New York, New Jersey, or Connecticut, check out MommyPoppins.com. If not, use your favorite search engine.

Disclosure: The information you read here is always objective. However, we sometimes receive compensation when you click links within our stories.

Read Next
Retiree Households Lose $111,000 to This Social Security Misstep
Retiree Households Lose $111,000 to This Social Security Misstep

A study finds 96% of retirees make this mistake when claiming Social Security benefits.

7 Unexpected Perks of Downsizing as a Retiree
7 Unexpected Perks of Downsizing as a Retiree

Downsizing your home offers many benefits, including some you may not have anticipated.

These Are the 4 Best Medicare Advantage Plans for 2020
These Are the 4 Best Medicare Advantage Plans for 2020

Medicare Advantage customers themselves rate these plans highest.

The 5 Most Expensive U.S. States for Retirees
The 5 Most Expensive U.S. States for Retirees

If you have or expect to have a modest retirement income, you may want to avoid spending your golden years here.

16 Products You Absolutely Do Not Need
16 Products You Absolutely Do Not Need

There are plenty of great ways to spend your money, but you can safely leave these products on the store shelf.

View this page without ads

Help us produce more money-saving articles and videos by subscribing to a membership.

Get Started

Most Popular
9 Things You’ll Never See at Costco Again
9 Things You’ll Never See at Costco Again

The warehouse store offers an enormous selection, but these products aren’t coming back.

11 Things Retirees Should Always Buy at Costco
11 Things Retirees Should Always Buy at Costco

This leader in bulk shopping is a great place to find discounts in the fixed-income years.

Over 50? The CDC Says You Need These 4 Vaccines
Over 50? The CDC Says You Need These 4 Vaccines

Fall is the time to schedule vaccines that can keep you healthy — and even save your life.

11 Household Items That Go Bad — or Become Dangerous
11 Household Items That Go Bad — or Become Dangerous

When you get the impulse to stockpile these everyday items, pay close attention to their expiration dates.

8 Things You Can Get for Free at Pharmacies
8 Things You Can Get for Free at Pharmacies

In this age of higher-priced drugs and complex health care systems, a trip to the pharmacy can spark worry. Freebies sure do help.

11 Senior Discounts for Anyone Age 55 or Older
11 Senior Discounts for Anyone Age 55 or Older

There is no need to wait until you’re 65 to take advantage of so-called “senior” discounts.

7 Ways to Boost Your Credit Score Fast
7 Ways to Boost Your Credit Score Fast

Your financial security might soon depend upon the strength of your credit score.

The 10 Most Commonly Stolen Vehicles in America
The 10 Most Commonly Stolen Vehicles in America

A new model parks atop the list of vehicles that thieves love to pilfer.

The 15 Worst States for Retirees in 2020
The 15 Worst States for Retirees in 2020

Based on dozens of metrics tied to affordability, quality of life and health care, these are not ideal places to spend retirement.

19 High-Paying Jobs You Can Get With a 2-Year Degree
19 High-Paying Jobs You Can Get With a 2-Year Degree

These jobs pay more than the typical job in the U.S. — and no bachelor’s degree is required.

5 Ways to Get Amazon Prime for Free
5 Ways to Get Amazon Prime for Free

Hesitant to drop $119 a year on an Amazon Prime membership? Here’s how to get it for free.

9 Deep Discounts Available on Amazon This Friday
9 Deep Discounts Available on Amazon This Friday

These items are all steeply discounted — but the deals won’t last long.

26 States That Do Not Tax Social Security Income
26 States That Do Not Tax Social Security Income

These states won’t tax any of your Social Security income — and in some cases, other types of retirement income.

10 Reasons Why You Should Actually Retire at 62
10 Reasons Why You Should Actually Retire at 62

If you can, here are several good reasons to retire earlier than we’re told to.

3 Ways to Get Microsoft Office for Free
3 Ways to Get Microsoft Office for Free

With a little ingenuity, you can cut Office costs to zero.

5 Keys to Making Your Car Last for 200,000 Miles
5 Keys to Making Your Car Last for 200,000 Miles

Pushing your car to 200,000 miles — and beyond — can save you piles of cash. Here’s how to get there.

5 Things That Make Life More Meaningful for Retirees
5 Things That Make Life More Meaningful for Retirees

Retirees agree: These are the things that give them purpose and fulfillment in their golden years.

15 Amazon Purchases That We Are Loving Right Now
15 Amazon Purchases That We Are Loving Right Now

These practical products make everyday life a little easier.

7 Surprising Features That Boost Your Home Value
7 Surprising Features That Boost Your Home Value

You can add value to your home without hiring a contractor to do expensive renovations.

View More Articles

View this page without ads

Help us produce more money-saving articles and videos by subscribing to a membership.

Get Started

Add a Comment

Our Policy: We welcome relevant and respectful comments in order to foster healthy and informative discussions. All other comments may be removed. Comments with links are automatically held for moderation.