Last week Christine talked about the summer camp mom guilt she felt when looking at the prices for the programs her daughter wanted to attend. While my little isn’t quite there yet, I’m already mentally preparing and saving for summer camp. Friends and family have already shared some of the costs for kids activities so I know I’m going to have a good sized cushion!
While the price tag may seem daunting, there is hope to making saving for summer camp both a feasible and family affair. Again make this process a FAMILY AFFAIR. It’s never too early to not only teach your children about money, but the importance of savings. Delayed gratification and patience are essential to learn in our world that wants everything instantly. Here are a few tips to teach your children while enrolling them in the summer camps that their little hearts’ desire:
IDENTIFY THE TOP 3 CAMPS
Look at the summer camp catalog from local recreation departments, schools, and churches. Talk to your children about the cost of each. For older children, have a cap on the amount to be spent so they can understand how to make decisions with limited resources. You won’t feel like the bad parent for saying “we can’t afford this”. Pose questions like “Will space camp and basketball camp both fit in your budget?”
FIGURE OUT THE SAVINGS PLAN THAT’S RIGHT FOR YOU
Pinterest has tons of creative money saving challenges. These I highly encourage because they do not require huge shifts in your budget immediately:
- Envelope Challenge: Number the envelops from 1-25. The number on the outside of the envelop is what should be deposited. 25 envelops = $325; 50 envelops = $1275
- Penny Challenge: Day 1 deposit $0.01, Day 2 deposit $0.02, Day 365 deposit $3.65. After making 365 deposits, total savings $668
- 30 Day Challenge: If you are on a time crunch and want to save quickly, Day 1 save $1, Day 2 save $2, Day 30 save $30. Total Savings $465
Keep in mind, the right savings plan for your family can be a hybrid of any of the above, or make adjustments to meet the goal amount for summer camp.
LASTLY, MAKE SAVING FUN!
Draw a thermometer, create a shadow box, make deposits at your family meetings. You want to keep everyone encouraged and excited about what you’re working towards. Having a physical representation showing where they are in saving for summer camp can help a lot!
Do you have family meetings about the money impact of your children’s desires? What money saving strategy do you think your kids will engage the most with?