Summer can be hectic. Parents are working while kids are out of school. Some families let their older kids stay at home on their own. Parents of younger children have to find care. It often becomes one of the most stressful times of the year. Considering sending the child to a camp? Here is a breakdown on what expense you are looking at.
Fees Can Be Expensive
Your location will impact the cost of summer camps. Always research the camps to understand the fees. Comparing it to your budget will give you the biggest indicator on the affordability. Day camps are the most affordable. Many cost $50-$100 on average per week. Overnight and specialty camps can cost $500-$2,000 dollars per week. You can also search for local camps at churches and YMCA. Some of those will range from free to $100. Always look for scholarships or volunteer opportunities that can lower the cost.
Is Food Provided?
The next question to ask is if food is available for your child. Overnight camps often provide food to the campers. Specialty camps and day camps may not provide anything at all. If your child requires a special diet or the camp doesn’t offer meals, this is an extra expense to consider. Do the math on those that do offer meals. If it saves you money to have someone else provide the meals, that’s the camp that will work well for you.
Pay Attention To Time Frames
Sometimes the hours of a day camp can add an extra cost to you. Not in money but in time that could help you lose money. Some church camps may only run for 4 hours, rather than all day. If you have to take off to pick up your child, you could lose wages. If you have to hire a sitter to pick up and care for the child, that’s an extra expense.
Also consider time frames for overnight camps. At the end of the camping period, picking up your child on a workday can become problematic. Most overnight camps accommodate by setting drop off and pickup times on the weekend. We also recognize that some people work weekends. When in doubt, ask the camp about accommodating to your schedule.
Do They Need Extra Gear?
Kids often have the swimsuit and summer clothing. What if the camp requires extra? It may be in the form of sunscreen, googles, or sports gear for sporting camps. If your child will be tent camping, they may need to have their own gear to carry and pitch. If you don’t already have this gear, it could become a very expensive camp stay.
Opt For An FSA Account
A flexible spending account through work can be a life saver. A part of your paycheck goes into that account. It is for childcare expenses throughout the year for children under 13. Save enough through a year and you could use it to offset the cost of camp. This is available for day camps only.