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How Camping is a Great Financial Teacher

June 8, 2018 | By Daniel Dewitt

Camping is a pastime most of us have experience at least once throughout the course of our lives. There’s a wide variety of beautiful parks throughout the state of Illinois to experience a camping adventure, and it’s always great to get in closer touch with nature. More importantly, it can also be an opportunity to learn some valuable life lessons, especially when it comes to your personal finances and how you handle them.

What is the connection between camping and how you manage your money? Camping is an experience from which we can draw life lessons about minimalism, resourcefulness, and strategic planning.


Camping is basically an exercise in active minimalism, consciously choosing to strip away all the creature comforts and conveniences of our daily lives. Too often we collect and clutter our lives with excessive possessions, endless distractions, and activities that we don’t truly value. And it’s understandable why: we’re bombarded by hundreds of ads every day insisting that we need this product or that gadget to be happy, encouraging us to spend money we don’t have to try and keep up in a culture that’s all about flaunting wealth through possessions.

But all of that comes with a price to our happiness and well-being, not just our bank accounts. The next time you’re tempted to spend money on something that isn’t an absolute necessity, take a minute to stand back and really think about whether it will improve your overall quality of life or not.


When camping, if you run into trouble, you have only yourself to depend on. You can’t run to the store and buy the item you need to solve your problem, or apply for a credit card, or take out an auto title loan. You’re forced to make do with what you have, and you’ll be surprised by how resourceful you can be when push comes to shove.

Try applying that resourcefulness next time you come across a challenge in your everyday life. Step back and try to find a solution that doesn’t require spending any money.

Planning Ahead

Another important thing camping can teach you is the importance of planning ahead. Going on a hike? Better know if you have the endurance to make it back to camp by nightfall. And better remember to bring water, because there aren’t going to be any water fountains by the side of the trail. Planning ahead is essential when you are so far from civilization, and this necessity for strategic thought and planning for all contingencies will serve you well in all aspects of your life.

How do you apply all of these camping lessons to your normal life? It doesn’t have to mean something as formal as a budget (although you may be surprised how helpful they can be), but it does mean you should at least have a fairly firm idea of where you want to go in life, and what kind of challenges lie ahead of you.

Do you have any big expenses you know you will be facing in the next couple months? Within the next year? Two? Planning ahead is often the only way of avoiding a financial catastrophe in the long-term, so carefully consider the future when making any important financial decisions. You’ll thank yourself down the line.