This is a guest blog post from Tammira Lucas, The Business Doctor.
Although the official first day of summer is just behind us, it seems like it’s just getting started. If you are a mom, summer can be one of the most fun and most challenging seasons. Along with the beautiful weather comes a host of other decisions such as choosing a summer camp and finding activities for the family without BREAKING the bank!
The good news is this summer I am going to help take some of the stress off you by providing you with financially fab strategies to help you make it through the summer. In part one of this two part series I will cover saving money on summer camps. In part two of the series I will cover summer activities for less
Last year I was that mom that didn’t think summer camps were important. I knew how much fun I had when I was a child but looking at the price of summer camps I thought it was a waste of money (especially since I currently pay for private school). I pay for activities all year long for my daughter to participate in outside of school so why should I pay for summer camp? Well I did some research to find the advantages of summer camp. What I found changed my entire perspective!
Why Should You Consider Summer Camp?
In my research I found that camp helps to:
- Cultivate new friendships
- Sharpen children’s thinking
- Give children an opportunity to unplug from technology (unless it’s a technology camp lol)
- Gain resiliency
These advantages definitely changed my outlook on camps and I decided to send my daughter to camp.
But there was a surprise waiting for me.
The COST of these camps was outrageous. I felt like I would have to make a life decision and break the bank just to send her. After hours of prayer (lol) and tons of strategic thinking I came up with a “Summer Activity Plan.” This plan includes where my daughter will be and how much it will cost me for each week of the summer.
Here are a few tips on how I created my financially fab summer activity plan:
Tip 1- Create a Summer Budget
I created a budget based on overall activities I wanted to participate in throughout the entire summer. This included family vacations, camps, birthday parties etc. Starting with an end number in mind always help when creating any financial plans.
Tip 2- Decide on the amount of weeks you are able to send your child to your chosen camp within your budget.
After choosing the camp I decided that she would only participate in the camp for two weeks throughout the summer. Most, if not all camps do their schedule way in advance and you are able to see what activities are going on during certain weeks. I chose the weeks they would have activities that Ryann was interested in participating.
Tip 3- Check your local community colleges.
I found out about this gem and was elated. Many community colleges host camps for youth. They are much cheaper than other camps. What makes this tip cooler is that most camps at the community college are specific; meaning if your child wants to do arts and craft they will have a camp specifically focusing on arts and crafts. If you have a high school age child some community colleges will pay for your child to take college courses for FREE.
Tip 4- Fill in the gap of weeks with FREE activities/camps
Many local churches, government agencies, parks and non-profit organizations offer camps or activities for FREE. My church offer vacation bible school for 1 week for free and it is from 8am-3pm during that week. Of course I included this week in my summer activity plan. Where I am located (Baltimore City) also offers camps for free throughout the summer. I decided that she would also attend the FREE camp for a few weeks. The plus side to this is that she is able to meet more new friends.
Tip 5- Always ask your child what activities they want to participate in
Although I thought I found the perfect camp for Ryann, I asked her what activities she wanted to participate in during the summer so I could ensure the camp I chose for her was actually something she would enjoy. You definitely don’t want to waste money on a camp that your child absolutely HATES!
Whether you work full time or a stay at home mom there are so many innovative ideas you can include in your summer activity plans. The main goal is to stay within budget and think outside of the box. Hopefully I assisted with making your summer camp plans less stressful and more financially FAB!
The 2015 Small Business Innovator by Baltimore City Chamber of Commerce, Tammira Lucas is a Mompreneur who is quickly emerging as a trailblazer among professionals and a powerful voice for women teaching them Business, Balance and Babies. Tammira is the CEO of Ryann’s Closet LLC, The Business Dr. Consulting Firm, CO-Founder of Moms As Entrepreneurs, Author, Speaker, Philanthropist and Professor.