Planning and Saving Up for Summer Camp

Image: Some rights reserved by VasenkaPhotographySchool’s Almost Out! Great news for kids, but not always for parents. Summer camp is EXPENSIVE! It’s very hard to find the right camp for your child that works well with your budget and work schedule. It’s not one-size-fits-all for kids. Some camps are only for certain ages or interests, or their offered schedule is ridiculous. And then, of course, your kid has to like it.

Or course, we know not every kid is going to like every program. And there are times in life when you have limited options available due to financial hardship and hours needed for camp. Check around, and check early because even the most basic summer camps can fill up. If times are really tight, see what is available for financial aid for your situation.

If you have a little bit more flexibility with price and hours, check around in the local paper, online, and with friends. Check way in advance so you can find something just right that fits your needs and that holds your child’s interest. Summer camps are a great way to broaden horizons.

Then try to budget in advance. Know what you are getting yourself into.  Things to consider:

  1. Registration fees
  2. Materials fees
  3. How payment is made and when it is due
  4. Field Trip fees
  5. Are lunches and/or snacks provided?
  6. Transportation fees

Now consider what you are saving if you don’t have to pay for regular after school care. Keep in mind what you are saving if lunch and snacks are provided.  Know the exact weeks you need, and if you have to pay extra for before or after camp fees. How will your child get there? What is their late arrival policy? Know the cancellation policy. Keep in mind your own sanity too—will this program provide you peace of mind and satisfy your expectations for your child’s summer camp experience? Figure out how much of a financial sacrifice a particular camp is worth.

Then investigate your payment options. Can you pay ahead and get discounts? Is there a time period when you can register early and save money? Can you charge the camp on a credit card, or is check or cash required? Are scholarships available?

Plan out carefully what is due when. Then try to set aside a few dollars here and there, like you do for anything else you are saving for. Keep careful track of when fees are due so you don’t lose your spot. If field trip fees are out of control, see if there are options where you child can skip the trip or if they can think of a way to contribute financially. This would be a wonderful way for your child to learn the value of a dollar.

Most of all, have an enjoyable summer!

Attorney Christopher D. Smith, Sr. is designated a Board Certified Consumer Bankruptcy Lawyer by the American Board of Certification.  SmithLaw is located in Lakewood Ranch, Florida.  Attorney Smith concentrates on bankruptcy, civil litigation, probate, estate planning, and elder exploitation cases in the Sarasota and Bradenton area.  Call 941-202-2222 to learn more.  SmithLaw offers free consultations in certain areas, including consumer bankruptcy, probate, and personal injury matters.

Image: Some rights reserved by VasenkaPhotography

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