For parents of school-age kids, summer doesn’t just mean warmer days and fun in the sun. It also brings quandary and expense, planning for camps, play dates, vacations, pool membership, and more. Given that the average national cost of raising a child from birth to age 17 is a staggering $233,610, it’s important to plan ahead for higher summer expenses. If you’re exploring ways to keep your family budget on track this summer (and in general), we have a few suggestions.
Free Activities for Kids and Families
It’s hard to beat no cost when it comes to entertaining your kids during the summer months. Fortunately, there are plenty of free activities for kids and adults alike. We offer a range of suggestions, including:
Tips on Choosing a Summer Camp
Care.com estimates that camps cost $100 to $500 per week for day camps, $500 to $1,000 per week for specialty camps, and up to $2,000 per week for sleep-away camps. If you’re considering paying for camp, make sure you carefully weigh the costs, relative to the experience your child will enjoy, and to other alternatives. Washington Parent offers some tips on ways to make summer camp affordable, including researching early, seeking scholarships and grants, taking advantage of sibling discounts, exploring community programs, and even asking for discounts. Additional ideas include:
- If you’re open to a religious element, faith-based organizations often offer lower-priced summer camps.
- If summer camp is beyond the budget, consider an at-home camp, with themed weeks e.g., water activities, reading, arts and crafts, Fourth of July, etc.
- If you work and plan to take time off to spend with your kids, dub it as Mom or Dad Camp.
Share Care with Family and Friends
Remember that you’re not the only parent searching for summer activities. Coordinating with other parents to share child care can help save money, while also expanding social and community involvement for you and your kids.
Volunteer Programs and Work Opportunities
For older kids, volunteer programs or part-time work could be a useful option. Volunteer experience might be required for high school graduation, and both paid work and volunteer experience can bolster your kid’s college application and resume by expanding their horizons, and building essential self-esteem. Consider our tips on finding the perfect summer job or internship.
Save Money on Vacations
Vacations are an important way to recharge your batteries, and spend quality time with those you love. However, they can also prove expensive. We offer a range of tips designed to help you enjoy an amazing vacation and save money.
Season Passes Can Save Money – or Not
The cost of enjoying an activity on a one-off basis is typically more expensive than buying a season pass that allows you to enjoy the experience again and again. Look for venues and activities that your kids love and enquire about discounted seasonal passes.
That said, be sure to weigh how often you’ll really use a pass, as the initial outlay will be greater for a multi-use pass and could end up costing you more, if you don’t make full use of it.
Bring Your Own Food
If you’re going to a festival, concert, park, zoo, or other event, one of the easiest ways to save money is to bring your own food. Be sure to check the website, though, as some venues don’t allow outside food or drink.
Search Community Websites
Many communities offer free events for kids and adults throughout the summer. These may include free outdoor concerts, festivals, movie screenings, and more. Searching community websites and local publications can prove fruitful.
SageVest Kids and SageVest Wealth Management wish you and your family an enjoyable summer, filled with fun. We hope these tips and our commitment to helping families raise financially wise children are helpful to you and those you love.
 Based upon the most recent figures, based upon 2015, released by the Department of Agriculture.