It might be months before summer is here, but it’s never too early to start preparing for the financial demands that summer camp will make on your budget. But don’t worry – it is possible to create memories your child will cherish forever without dipping into their college fund! Here are some ways to do it.
1. Register early in the year to pay the least amount
If you are really looking to maximise your savings on summer camp, the best way by far is to begin the process very early. Here’s the thing: Camps love parents who register as early as possible and reward them with huge discounts. In many cases, you can even pre-register your children for next year’s camp WHILE this year’s camp is going on! So, know the deadlines and jump on for great early bird rates.
2. Ask if they offer payment plans
You may not have to pay for summer camp in one huge lump sum. Many camps will let you work out a flexible payment plan. If you spread out the payment over the year, it’s a whole lot easier for your bank account to absorb than releasing a huge amount of cash in one go.
3. Sign up for fewer weeks
Your child does need to be in camp for the whole summer to have a wonderful experience. If you cannot afford to send your child to camp for the whole summer, sign up for a few weeks instead. Summer camps will often allow you sign up for 3 to 5 weeks rather than the whole summer. It’ll cost you less too.
4. Know what costs are not included
You need to know exactly what you are paying for. Some camps make you buy equipment or pay for field trips. Others charge late fees if you pick your child up late, or no-call fees if your child is absent and you do not inform them. So, find out exactly what is and is not included in your tuition and plan accordingly.
5. See if you qualify for a tax break
The child and dependent care credit provides a tax break for many parents who are responsible for the cost of childcare. So if you paid a day care center, baby sitter or summer camp, you may qualify for a tax break. Talk to your accountant to see if you can take advantage of this tax break, and it may add a few bucks to your tax refund.
Summer camps are great fun for children, and offer experiences that lead to long-lasting memories. There are a lot of avenues open to you to ensure that you give your child the best available without hurting your bank account too much, so take advantage of these opportunities and give your child that dream summer camp adventure!
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