Whether it’s revenge travel or pop-culture experiences, Americans are blowing up their budgets this summer. And if you’re a parent, get ready to pay double or triple what you paid last year.
Besieged moms and dads are hemorrhaging money for trips, camps and marquee sporting events and concerts. That’s on top of regular bills for housing, groceries, student loans and car payments.
Nevertheless, parents seem to be saying “yes” to everything. Yes, to $1,200 tickets to Taylor Swift’s epic Eras Tour. Yes, to exorbitant sleepaway camps with vaguely Native American names and pickleball courts. Yes, to fantasy vacations with kid’s clubs.
Call it the first “real” post-pandemic summer, unencumbered by masks, travel restrictions or fear of big crowds. The more the merrier, especially when it comes to hanging out with 58,000 of your new Swiftie BFFs.
As any parent with a 12-year-old daughter can attest, it’s a rite of passage to attend Taylor Swift’s Eras Tour this summer. The musical juggernaut is on pace to generate an estimated $11.3 million on tickets and $2.4 million on merchandise every show.
And while tickets started at $215, due to the Ticketmaster fiasco, many people are paying over $1,000 for seats.
Swifties are incurring extra costs for branded swag. Plus, flights and a hotel if they have to travel to see the admittedly dazzling show.
And that’s just for one night.
Then there’s summer camp, which approximately 20 million kids attend each year, according to the American Camp Association (ACA). Get ready to mortgage your house because the ACA estimates the daily average of sleepaway camp is $448.53 per day, or over $3,000 per week.
This does not include spirit wear, Color War apparel, canteen visits, bunk parties, flights and visiting days. And for kids heading to sleepaway camp, there’s a packing list with very specific (and pricey) items. And it all must fit in a required duffel bag, which most kids want monogrammed, too.
The ACA found that camps increased their rates by 35 percent in 2022, as compared to 2021. And 2023 is shaping up to be even more expensive, mainly due to inflation. At Camp Matoaka, an exclusive all-girls camp in Maine, the full seven-week session runs $15,400 per camper, nearly $4,000 more than in 2015.
Day camps aren’t much cheaper. The ACA notes that the average daily fee for day camp is $178.49. A full week can cost $894. Even with these wallet-depleting rates, camp enrollment is swelling. The demand for in-person camps increased 75 percent year-over-year from 2021 to 2022.
Vacation, you say? Good luck going anywhere this summer.
Tickets to Europe are easily $1,200 per person. A seven-night Disney cruise for a family of four starts at $6,000 (and that’s for an inside cabin). Gas is still high, so a road trip will be double what it was last summer. Overall, Americans are expected to spend over $214 billion on their summer vacations, according to Allianz Partners. That’s a 10% increase over last year and an astonishing 111% increase compared to pre-pandemic spending in 2019.
Despite the extreme cost, families are living their best lives right now, at least judging by my friends’ Instagram stories. Many are using financing by FinTech through play-now-pay-later companies like Affirm and Uplift. And seemingly without consequences.
But there are consequences. Namely, putting yourself in debt. The monthly payments will start coming in just in time for back-to-school shopping. Moreover, most camps must be paid in full prior to the session’s start.
So, what’s a parent supposed to do?
Some New Yorkers are heading south for the summer with their brood, where day camps are much cheaper. After all, one month of day camp in off-season Fort Lauderdale is equivalent to one week in Manhattan. Other families are utilizing local resources like community camps and need-based scholarships. Or foregoing vacations all together.
Look, if you can afford to splurge, go for it! If you can’t (ahem, my family), then it’s about managing your budget and adjusting your kid’s expectations.
Dr. Becky Kennedy, whose “Good Inside” book is the trendy parental handbook of 2023, suggests using this as a teachable moment.
“Learning to tolerate frustration, which comes from wanting and not having, is one of the most important skills for life,” Dr. Kennedy said. “After all, we can’t expect our kids to tolerate frustration as they get older if they don’t have practice while they’re younger.”
Most importantly, stop with the FOMO scroll, it’s the thief of joy. That means putting down the phone and actually enjoying moments with your family, or as Dr. Kennedy best described, “splurge with your presence, not presents.”
𝗖𝗿𝗲𝗱𝗶𝘁𝘀, 𝗖𝗼𝗽𝘆𝗿𝗶𝗴𝗵𝘁 & 𝗖𝗼𝘂𝗿𝘁𝗲𝘀𝘆: nypost.com
𝗙𝗼𝗿 𝗮𝗻𝘆 𝗰𝗼𝗺𝗽𝗹𝗮𝗶𝗻𝘁𝘀 𝗿𝗲𝗴𝗮𝗿𝗱𝗶𝗻𝗴 𝗗𝗠𝗖𝗔,
𝗣𝗹𝗲𝗮𝘀𝗲 𝘀𝗲𝗻𝗱 𝘂𝘀 𝗮𝗻 𝗲𝗺𝗮𝗶𝗹 𝗮𝘁 email@example.com