Become a Happy Camper with These Summertime Savings

Many of my favorite summertime memories happened when I was a kid at sleepover camp. When children are little, they don’t often get the freedom that sleeping under the stars (far from their parents!) provides. Even on summer vacations, kids have school project assignments and are often shuffled to and from daycare if their parents have to work. But, in the magical land of summer camp, the drudgery of the everyday melts away. Instead, kids spend their time learning to ride horses, perfecting the back stroke, and forging new friendships. I know my parents had to pinch pennies so I could enjoy the privilege of summer camp and I’m so thankful that they were able to. Here are a few ways you can save money if summer camp is on your kid’s wishlist! Even if you’re not planning on a chorus of kumbayas, you still might want to read on because we’ve got plenty of suggestions for any person who plans on heading outside this summer, no matter the destination.


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My inspiration for this post sprang up while I was reading this blog from Goodwill Industries of Central North Carolina regarding their summer savings. Their list of road trip activities and beach gear was great, but the summer camp savings section was just brilliant. Kids going off to camp need are remarkable number of things. On top of sleeping bags, towels, a hat, bathing suit, toiletries, sneakers, sandals, paper and a pencil to write home, and card games for entertainment, it’s likely that they won’t see a washing machine for two weeks at a time which means they need plenty of clothes to cycle through. Not only that, but if you think about how grubby attire can get when it’s being worn through the woods, to campfires, and into the Arts ‘N Crafts cabin, parents won’t want to send along any nice clothes at all. So shop at Goodwill for inexpensive thrifted goods instead! That way, even if your kiddo’s shirt gets mixed up in a different kid’s pack after camp’s closing ceremony, it won’t be a major loss.

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YouTube is packed with Goodwill Hauls which showcase the treasures that real thrifters find in a single trip to their favorite shop. I liked this one from Mrs. Shinyside in particular because she spent only $29 on 28 items (Yes! Only about a dollar an item!) and so many of her finds would be great for camping, hiking, or other outdoor activities. A few noteworthy pieces: a like-new Columbia zip-up, a Nike workout shirt, and about seven pairs of jeans, some of which she’ll turn into trendy cutoffs. She even found a tee-shirt repping a camp-themed amusement park that she remembers from her childhood! Maybe the crowning jewel of her haul was a floral/palm leaf Victoria’s Secret hoodie that she was fawning over in the mall, but couldn’t justify spending $75 on. Now for just a dollar, she can enjoy her stylish find and could even risk wearing it out of the house (sunset canoe ride, here she comes)!


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And don’t forget about other camp essentials like a mess-kit or flashlight—once again, Goodwill has got you covered! Check out this thorough post from Goodwill Industries of Southeastern Wisconsin and Metropolitan Chicago for a detailed check-list of items to bring camping. Trust me, you don’t want to be a mile into the woods when you realize you’ve forgotten the bug spray. Even if you only use your new camp stove once, if you’re buying it from Goodwill it won’t break the bank. Plus, since Goodwill organizations create thousands of jobs and contribute to the economic health of communities while preserving resources and the environment, your support is critical to the success of other people in your neck of the woods.

From the first chorus of “Home on the Range” to the last, I hope summer 2018 is as wonderful for you now as camp was when you were a kid. With the savings you’ve scored on all the gear you’ll need to scale a mountain, you’ll be off to a wonderful start. Happy trails!