7 Savings Tips for Summer Camp

group of kids at camp wearing red shirts
Camp Settoga

Let’s face it—having kids is expensive. After school activities, tutoring and babysitting—it all adds up. For parents looking to save money on summer camp, the American Camp Association, NY & NJ offers some tips to help make camp budget friendly.

Holidays & Birthdays:

Do friends and family often ask what they can buy your child for their birthday or the holidays? Forget a new toy or the latest apple product—have everyone contribute to camp. Camp is a gift that lasts a lifetime, with important skills gained such as confidence, grit, independence that can’t be learned in any other environment.

Forgo the family vacation for camp:

Think about forgoing a family vacation for a summer at camp. For the cost of a one week vacation for a family of four, you can give your child a few weeks at summer camp. While family vacations are great, they don’t provide your child with the growth and learning that occurs at camp such as resilience, the sense of community, teamwork and communication skills.

Early registration savings:

There are advantages to looking for camp early. Families can save a few hundred dollars by registering early so do your camp research over the summer and take advantages of early registration rates.


Not for Profit summer camps offer partial or total scholarships as well as financial assistance. Parents should feel free to call a Not for Profit camp directly to inquire. Families can also contact the American Camp Association, NY and NJ at (212) 391-5208 for a list of camps that offer scholarships and financial aid.

Dependent Care Flexible Spending Account:

A Dependent Care Flexible Spending Account allows parents to be reimbursed on a pre-tax basis for child care expenses for qualified dependents that are necessary to allow parents to work, look for work, or to attend school full time. This applies to qualifying day camp expenses as well. Visit the FSA Feds Web site (fsafeds.com) for more information.

Child and Dependent Care Tax Credit:

The IRS allows an income tax credit of up to $6,000 of dependent care expenses if you have two or more dependents (up to $3,000 for one dependent). The amount of the credit is based on your adjusted gross income and applies only to your federal taxes. This applies to qualifying day camp expenses. Visit the iris website at iris.gov.

Uniform sharing:

Are you sending your child to a camp that has uniforms? Ask around or post on the local mom Facebook page for camp hand me downs. Receiving pre-worn clothes for camp can be a savings of a few hundred dollars.