A Guide to Making a Camping Budget

Camping is a fun way to explore the outdoors and spend time with your family. Most outdoorsy people take pleasure in activities, such as building a campfire and sleeping underneath the stars. But while camping is probably less expensive than other types of travel, frequent camping trips call for careful planning.

Keeping a close eye on your pennies can free up additional cash to take several camping trips throughout the year. Why limit yourself to one trip a year? If you’re looking for a way to afford more outdoor vacations, here are a few tips to help you save money.

1. Budget carefully: Every professional agrees this is one of the most effective ways to stop overspending and to start saving. Determine what you need for your camping trips and stick with the essentials. It’s easy to go overboard and purchase every camping accessory available. Be practical and think of the best ways to spend and save your money.

For example, you might look for used or older camping equipment, or borrow equipment from fellow campers to save money. Decide how much you need for your camping trip, and then resolve to deposit a certain percentage of your paycheck into a savings account.

2. Membership discounts: Join an RV or camping club, such as Passport America, and receive discounts at campgrounds across the nation. Some campgrounds go as far as giving members one night free. Even if you aren’t a member, don’t be afraid to ask about other discounts. For example, some campsites give discounts to the military, law enforcement, firefighters, nurses and teachers.

3. Accumulate credit card rewards: Most people carry at least one rewards credit card in their wallet. Familiarize yourself with your creditor’s offers and take advantage of these incentives to generate and save extra cash. Cash back credit cards are the best credit cards to have because you earn at least 1% cash back on every single purchase. Once you accumulate enough cash back points to redeem a reward, deposit your reward money into a savings account.

4. Get the most out of your savings account: With most bank savings accounts featuring an interest rate of only 0.01%, many people don’t expect a huge return on their money. But there is a better way to handle your savings.

You might keep a bank savings account for immediate cash, but if you’re saving for a camping trip or other far off purchase, think online banking and deposit your money with institutions that have the best savings account offers. An online savings account typically offers a higher return. Why settle for 0.01% when you can get 0.90% with Ally Bank or another online bank?

5. Extra employment: If your present job doesn’t pay enough to afford extra camping trips, perhaps it’s time to think of a side hustle. Part-time work on the weekends can provide extra income, as well as asking your employer for overtime. Deposit your extra earnings into your savings account and you’re one step closer to your next trip.

Another option: volunteer or work part-time at a local campground. As an employee, you may be entitled to discounts or free nights at other campgrounds.

Getaways are a way to clear your mind and enjoy time with your family. Don’t let finances stand in the way of your favorite pastime. With a realistic budget and a plan of action, you can save enough to support your camping lifestyle.