October 2011 Archives

Ghosts of Summer Camp

by Amanda Formaro

Okay, so there aren't really any ghosts of summer camp, but all kids remember those fun nights around the campfire telling ghost stories. With Halloween on the horizon, this is the perfect time resurrect those stories and share them with family and friends. 

You can create a fun night of ghostly proportions by telling ghost stories and trying a few fun Halloween crafts. Some fun ideas include making ghost luminary jars by painting glass jars white and adding black paint for eyes and mouths. Kids will love making ghostly Rice Krispy treats, dipping them in melted white chocolate and adding chocolate chips for eyes. Insert a craft stick for a ghostly treat.

Have kids sit in a circle with the lights down low and take turns telling ghost stories. A flashlight shone under your chin makes for an eery face and is sure to elicit some shrieks!

Happy Halloween!

Start a Summer Camp Fund

by Amanda Formaro

Each spring your kids start gearing up for the excitement and fun of summer camp. But does your financial stress alarm ring when that time of year rolls around? Summer camp is a blast and a lasting memory for your child, so why let it be stressful for you? There are several ways to start a fund now that can help with the costs of summer camp. We've got a few ideas for you.

Establishing a Fund
Begin by calculating the number of payroll periods you have left until camp payment is due. Divide the camp fee by that number of pay periods to figure out how much you should save out of each paycheck. Write it down and keep it somewhere visible so you won't forget. Keep track it of it the same way you do your other household expenses. By logging it in as a regular payment, you'll be saving as you go and won't have to produce a chunk of money all at once.

Goal Photos and Progress Chart
Put together a fun collage of summer camp photos and hang it on the refrigerator. Just having that visual there each day helps remind you how fun camp is for your child and why saving for it now is a great idea. Alongside your photo collage create a vertical bar from colored construction paper. Draw lines on it, like a growth chart, and add a sticker each time you reach a goal. Set goals small, 5% increments work great because they offer more opportunities to add a sticker! 

Write Yourself a Check
If you have a checking account, each pay period write yourself a check! Keep an envelope on the fridge or in a drawer and put your check in the envelope. You will write it in your check register and count that check as outstanding when you reconcile your checkbook. The money is deducted from your ledger balance; hence you are saving that money without ever really removing it from the bank. When it's time to pay for summer camp, you can void all the checks, add them back into your register and write one for the camp.

A Penny Saved...
At the end of each day empty your pockets and place your loose change in a jar. A fun project for the kids is to have them decorate the jar with stickers or to add a camp photo. When it's almost time for camp, take your child to the bank where they will run it through the coin machine and give you paper money. Try not to use those public coin counters, as they will take 10% of your money for their fee! Check with your bank, as most institutions will run your coin through at no charge provided you are an account holder.

Involve the Kids
Believe it or not, kids enjoy the empowerment that earning money provides. If they are old enough, help them create a leaf raking, snow shoveling or weed pulling service for your neighbors. Create a separate jar or box to hold the money that they save to put toward camp.

These are just a few ideas to help you plan for the expense of summer camp. Your child will thank you and you'll have lasting memories to look back on as a result!