Let’s face it — sending your kids to summer camp can cost a fortune. But here’s a secret: you can save up to 25% or more on your camp money if you know the right people and use the right strategies.
Sending your child to camp can be like buying a car—you don’t want to pay full price…and you don’t have to! So let’s start with five things you can do right now to save money at camp:
Camp directors want to fill their camps as quickly as possible, and they want to get paid as soon as possible, perhaps more than in other industries, because camp leaders only have a few months to earn as much money as possible. So you have leverage here. Most likely, a camp will offer you a discount on tuition in exchange for your early registration (and sometimes prepayment). So be sure to ask the camp director about early bird discounts, as you might be pleasantly surprised at how much you can save.
Everyone uses coupons at the grocery store, but did you know you can save money with camp coupons? There is a website in development called campcoupons.com. It probably won’t be online for a few more months, so it might not help you this year. But it will be packed with all kinds of great coupon offers and discount opportunities from camps across the country. You can get free money-saving coupons from your favourite camp(s) by printing them.
Meanwhile, there is another website called gocamps.com that, last time we checked, was offering discounts of at least 25% on participating camps on its site. Last time we checked, there were discount offers from camps in the US. So go to http://www.gocamps.com, click on Registration Discounts, and see what you can find.
Sibling discounts and group rates
You may not see any advertised discounts for siblings, but don’t let this stop you from asking because you can probably get one anyway. Most camps I know of will generally offer a 5% discount on the second child’s tuition… but they are not allowed to voluntarily offer this option. So remember, ask for the sibling discount!
Group discounts may be available for even greater savings. How much savings are we talking about? The amount varies from camp to camp and the size of your group. Your group must save at least 10% on the camp fee. Why? Because it’s a camp director’s dream come true to enrol a bunch of kids at a time, instead of spending the time, money, and other resources looking for and enrolling one child at a time. You make it easier at camp, so your group should be rewarded with a nice discount.
Set your tuition fee the year before.
Camps generally increase their prices every year, so here’s a little-known secret that can save you a lot of money. You can often freeze your tuition at this year’s rates so that your rates don’t go up next summer even though everyone else is paying full price.
Similar to the Early Bird discount programme described above, some camps offer Advance Registration discounts where you can prepay for the following summer at this year’s prices a month or two after the end of the current summer. Even though you’re essentially paying in advance for the camp year, you’re also freezing your tuition at the current year’s rates, and the savings can be huge.
Did you know that you may be eligible for a tax deduction (discount) on your income tax? In our experience, those eligible for this credit are parents who send their children to day camps, not overnight camps. You should consult your tax advisor for specific details, as we are not qualified to provide tax advice and you should not take this information as such.