How can you afford summer camp during a recession

Saving for a rainy day is the way to go, to beat recession blues. In a recession, savings can trickle away even before spring fades away and summer appears. The good news is that prices for some summer camps are likely to follow the budget of the majority in a recession to make it affordable to more people. The down side is specialised camps will still remain out of reach to many. How then can you afford summer camp in a recession? Use a combination of the activities below to work towards affordable summer camps.

Start saving from December

Instead of spending the cash gifts from friends for Christmas, birthdays and other special occasions put it into a special summer camp fund. Resolve to put whatever is left in a week’s savings into the summer camp fund. Even if the entire fund is not utilised, the remaining of the fund can be used for other expenses in summer and winter. Loose change may mean little compared to dollar notes, but can accumulate to an admirable amount when put in a container over a few months.

Save on daily household expenses

Air-conditioning in summer accounts for the increase in household bills. Reduce on its use by going to public places with free air-conditioning such as the neighbourhood library on hot afternoons. Instead of using the clothes dryer, make use of the natural heat of the sun to dry your clothes. Have your food cooked outside your house to prevent heat accumulation in the house. Keep the windows open to air the house in the cool of the night and let the warm air escape. Get everyone used to drinking lots of water instead of unhealthy cold aerated drinks or ice-cream, or make your own healthy fruit blends.

Involve your children

Children’s belongings often spill over the years. Get them to sift through their belongings for things that do not appeal to them anymore but can be useful to others. Put them up for sale on Internet e-markets, flea marts and garage sales. Involve your children to pull in the crowds. Adults are more sympathetic towards the enthused call of children, especially when they voice their desire to work towards their summer camp.

Go to camps organised by schools, churches or community centres

These camps are usually held in sponsored facilities, and the cost is thus reduced. You can also apply for further subsidies that are available at these organisations to benefit those hard hit in the recession. Your children are likely to be happier at these camps if they have friends going together and they have difficulties making new ones at unfamiliar campsites.

Target in on early bird and other special offers

Some crowd pullers include offers of up to half the total cost to the first few to register. Others may offer discounts based on group registrations, references and recommendations. Enlist friends who have children that get along with your children and have the same interests to sign up for the same camp together.

Zoom in on coupons

If you look hard enough, you may find coupons to camps that your children would want to sign up for. By mid-May, many of these coupons would become obsolete, so start hunting early.

Look for sponsors

Sponsors can come from organisations. Depending on your financial status, the sponsoring can come in the form of partial or even total subsidisation. Sponsors can even be a doting or favourite uncle or aunt who will readily fork out part of, or even the total cost of the camp. Your children may request cash contributions towards their summer camps instead of items for their birthday.

Select the camp that balances your children’s needs and your budget

You may be surprised that your idea of the best camp for your children may differ from yours. Choose the camp with your children. Get them to list their expectations. Then together, find a camp that meets their expectations. The final selection may cost much less than your original choice.

Sign up as a volunteer

If you or your partner is out of a job, volunteer as a helper or trainer at the camp of your choice. Your children may camp for free, or for a mere portion of the camp fee. Do be sensitive to your children’s feelings about you being around in the camp, though. Explain your presence in the camp in acceptable terms to your children prior to volunteering.

Get your children to volunteer as part of the working unit

Your children may be old enough to sign up as a volunteer. Teens with leadership capabilities may prefer to volunteer than be a participant at a camp, especially when they have friends who are also volunteering. Besides having to be responsible for some campers, volunteers also have their privileges which prove to be attractive, such as lifts off curfew hours, a den of their own and sponsored outings during the camp.

Consider day camps

If your children are young and unwilling to be at sleep away camps, consider day camps instead. They may cost only a fraction of sleep away camps but offer the same day activities. Choose one that is on the way to your office and operates at a time that is convenient for dropping off and picking up.

Go on an extended family camp

Large families with children of similar age groups find this cost-saving. Expenses are shared among the families, with generous relatives who can afford to sponsor certain activities doing so. Not only do family bonds strengthen at these summer camps, children benefit greatly from the experiences at these family activities.

Be a replacement camper

You will have to wait until the end of the registration period for these offers. Depending on the camper your child is replacing, you may get a good deal. Nonetheless, this will be the last way you should bank on to get your children into a camp, as such opportunities are rare, and you may not get a good match to what your children want.

Summer camps more than benefit you, the parent, who will get a break from your children. Your children have lots to learn from being at summer camps, and as their parent, you will likely want them to benefit from being there.