This week's guest post is written by Jen Spatz-Martin at Kid Up and Go. She has lots of great tips on how to save money this year when booking those summer camps!
Having three kids means that I'm always looking for ways to save especially when it comes to summertime! Camps in the DC area cost an average of $350 per week and it doesn't include the cost of transportation (if you need it) or the lunches/snacks. So one week of camp can cost my family $1100/wk and that is with the average price. If you have one or two kids this may not be a big deal since you may be paying that for childcare and the camps usually have a variety of activities, but anything over that can break the bank!
How do I get creative and save money?
Book early~ There are a bunch of camps that offer early bird pricing if you lock-in by a certain date so make sure to stay on top of that.
Member vs. Non-member rates~ Look at the cost difference between those rates and what the minimum membership costs. You'd be surprised how much it can save you plus members may have early access. The Audubon Naturalist Society and museum camps are structured like this.
Check out deal websites~ Camps will work with deal websites to help fill openings that they have and the rates are usually pretty good. In the past, I've seen summer camp options available on Certifikid, Groupon and Living Social. The down side to the deals is that they may be for only select weeks or age groups that don't apply to your child.
Consider half day camps~ If you're a stay-at-home-parent or have flexible working hours in the summer consider booking these for your child. Some camps have morning (9am-12pm) and/or afternoon (1-4pm) options available.
Check out local preschools~ Our preschool has a camp that is great for the younger ages plus is really budget friendly. The downside is that they are only 3 or 4 days a week, only run through July and from 9am-1pm. It's also not widely advertised like the larger camps so you may have to call or see if anything is posted on their site.
Whatever you decide one of the most important things to consider is finding a camp that your child will really enjoy so that you're not wasting money on it or having a daily battle getting out the door to go to it. Want an easy resource to search for camps? Check out www.KidUpandGo.com
Jen Spatz-Martin is a mom of three and the founder of Kid Up and Go. Kid Up and Go, is a DC metro area resource website that has kid/family-friendly things to do for ages newborn through 18, pediatric medical professionals, community resources (including birthday planning) and a blog component covering parenting tips and products to make parenting a breeze.