Families Are Skipping Summer Camp Because of Inflation

Inflation is making a big dent in Americans’ summer plans.

Four out of 10 parents who won’t be sending their kids to camp this summer said it was because costs were too high due to inflation, according to new survey data from Massachusetts Mutual Life Insurance Company. Among all respondents with children, 68% said inflation factored into their decisions about whether to send their kids to summer camp.

Camp providers are also feeling the bite of record-high inflation. After two slow summers, they faced a surge of demand from families right as prices began to skyrocket this year.

“The costs of providing camp, just like everything else right now, is really going up,” American Camp Association President and CEO Tom Rosenberg told Yahoo! Finance in April. “We’ve had increases in labor costs, food costs, program supply costs, COVID-related costs. Everything has gone up.”

Higher costs for camps mean higher prices for parents. Citing American Camp Association data, Yahoo! Finance reported that the average cost of day camp more than doubled from $76 per day last year to $178 per day this year.

Everything will be more expensive this summer

Of course, the impact of inflation isn’t just limited to summer camp. Of the 45% of Americans who don’t plan to travel this summer, nearly half told MassMutual that they are staying at home because inflation has made it too expensive to travel. Roughly half (49%) of people said they had exceeded their budget for groceries over the last three months, while 43% people said they had exceeded their budgets for gasoline.

It’s no wonder: The latest data from the Bureau of Labor Statistics shows that grocery prices have risen nearly 12% on an annual basis while gas prices have soared a staggering 49%. Airfares are up 38%.

The majority of respondents (52%) in MassMutual’s survey said that inflation is their biggest concern related to their daily finances, and more than half of people said they are delaying major purchases like cars and home repairs because inflation has pushed prices too high.

“In many cases, inflation has exacerbated the already damaging financial effects of COVID and is extending many financial habits developed during the pandemic,” Mike Fanning, head of MassMutual U.S., said in a news release. Those who expect to spend less this summer are cutting down on eating out, traveling and buying new clothes — all three are categories of spending that shrank during the pandemic amid lockdown restrictions and tighter budgets.

Savings have also taken a hit: 31% of Americans were not able to save any money last quarter, the survey found, compared to 12% during the same period last year.

Even as prices continue to rise, there are ways to save a little extra cash this summer. Traveling during off-peak times (like the middle of the week or after the peak season has ended), pausing your streaming service, and being strategic about when you run your air conditioner — just to name a few — can help ease the burden on your wallet.

More from Money:

From Eggs to Airfare, Blame High Inflation for These 5 Items Skyrocketing in Price

How to Save Money During a Summer When Everything Is Super Expensive

5 Facts That Show How Painful Gas Prices Are Now

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