Saving money for summer camp is no different to saving money for any other sort of travel or adventure, apart from the fact that you already know pretty much exactly how much money you are going to need and how much you are going to spend.
You know how much your agency fees are, how much the US visa is, and what your flights are going to cost you (if they’re not included in your agency fees). You can set a strict or flexible budget for each week or month you spend at camp (I go for a scrimpy $50 per week!), you have already decided how long you are going to stay in the USA for after camp, and perhaps even have a rough idea of where you want to go on your travels (I would budget £1500 for a month of travel in America).
So now you know how much money you are going need this summer, how are you going to save it? Here’s a couple of ideas to get you started.
1. Stop buying clothes. I know this is a toughie, especially if you love having new things every now and again, but just keep telling yourself that you’ll be in America soon, where everything is pretty much half the price (thank you currency exchange!). I’ve been holding off buying a new pair of Vans for about 3 months, just because I know I can get them sooo much cheaper once I’m out there!
Also, there’s only so much stuff you can fit in your bag, so it would be a shame to buy new things and then not even be able to take them away with you.
Why not try doing a clothes swap with your friends instead?
2. Share the cooking & stop eating out. If you live with other people, one of the best ways to save money is to share the load when it comes to the weekly food shop and cooking meals. When I was at uni, I lived with 4 other girls and we would often cook a big meal together – we did a whole roast dinner (chicken, roast veg, and all the trimmings) for about £1.70 each, just because we shared the cost!
3. Have house parties instead of going to bars and clubs. We all know how expensive it can be to go on a night out. Why not try pre-drinking so you’re plenty merry before you head out to the bars and then you don’t need to buy drinks)? Or even better, have a house party instead. Yes you’ll have to clean up in the morning (maybe convince a friend to have one at their house), but you won’t get chucked out at 2am when the club closes, and house parties are great…they remind me of being 15 on a Saturday night.
4. Stay in once in a while. There’s fun to be had without going out or drinking sometimes too. Get your friends together and do a movie night, or binge watch your favourite show on Netflix. Grab some cheap popcorn, some Haribo Starmix and maybe even a tub of Ben & Jerry’s or two (only if they’re on offer though!) and settle in for the night.
5. Sign up to Groupon or Wowcher. If you really do need to do something, or are desperate for a meal out or a haircut, try finding a diascount voucher on one of these websites…you can save a fortune if you look hard enough!
6. Keep an account of your spending. I use an app called ‘Saver’, and input absolutely everyting I spend. It breaks it down into categories so at the end of the week or month you can see exactly where your money is going and what you’re spending it on – this then makes it easier to cut down on certain things.
7. Keep reminding yourself why you’re scrimping and saving. Get excited by planning your post-camp travels, start thinking about what you’re going to pack for camp, maybe think about how you want to run your lessons (if you know what you’re going to be teaching), or maybe even make a fun inspiration board of all the things you want to do this summer.
8. See if your agency has any rewards. Some of the agencies (such as Camp Leaders) provide rewards for getting your application in by a certain date, or even for liking and following them on Twitter & Facebook. You could save a couple of £100 doing this, or even gain money back for your travels!
9. Set up a savings account. This seems like a really simple idea but you’d be surprised at how many people don’t have one. It’s usually super easy to do, and can be attached right to your usual account. Set up a direct debit of however much you think you can afford per week or month to go into this savings account, and don’t touch it until the summer. By the time camp comes around, you’ll have a nice little amount in the savings account you probably totally forgot about!
10. Keep all your pennies. I have a box that I keep all my 1p, 2p, 5p and 10p coins in. You don’t notice that they’re gone (and they’re annoying to carry around anyway), and then after about 6 months, you can take it to the bank and come out with far more ‘real’ cash than you expected you would!