It's not too soon to think about how you're going...

It's not too soon to think about how you're going to pay for the kids' summer camp. Credit: Getty Images/PeopleImages

While it seems like warm temperatures are months and months away, it’s not too soon to think about summer, especially if you’re planning to have your children attend summer camp.

You can act now to save money later on.

Be an early bird

If you enroll as soon as possible, not only do you get the camp you want for your child, you’ll also likely save money. “Many camps offer discounts if you reserve early. Talk to your kids about what they want to do,” says Trae Bodge, a shopping expert based in Montclair, New Jersey.

Determine how much you need

Research camp costs to get a sense of how much you’ll need to save. One way to get the skinny on what’s out there is to attend summer camp fairs and exhibitions, says Michelle Ruiz, founder of Espáñate, a company that offers Spanish-language education programs for children and adults in Manhattan.

Don't be shy about negotiating

“Consider discussing multikid discounts and pay-over-time options. Many camps are willing to put you on a payment plan,” says Leslie Tayne, a debt resolution attorney with the Tayne Law Group in Melville.

Cut back on camp time

Consider doing a floating six-week plan, or less than the full summer to get the camp experience at lower cost.

Create a savings plan

Start saving now and you'll avoid scrambling to pay the bills at the last minute.

Seek out scholarships

Many camps offer needs-based or merit-based scholarships. Ask the director. You might get a substantial discount on the fee. But don't wait — these scholarships often go quickly, so speak up.

Work at the camp

Says Tayne, “Drive the bus or answer phones. There are often opportunities to be involved and cut the cost for camp.”

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