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How Much Does a Child Cost?

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how-much-does-a-child-cost2Raising children just got more expensive!

A new study by the Department of Agriculture has revealed that the cost of raising a child has climbed 25% to age 19. Translated, that means those of us that had children in 2011 can expect to spend more than a quarter of a million dollars!

Many of us don't think about having a child as a major financial obligation. We are too caught up in wanting to be Mommies and have that child with the man we love. But rest assured, our partners do consider the financial aspect. To hear what it costs to raise a child is so overwhelming that we women tend to just block it out of our minds. Realistically, our children are already born and seemingly, there are greater issues to worry about, let alone the money we will have to fork out to raise them to age 18.

Still, as daunting as the news is, we should be cognizant of how much money it takes to raise a child and make preparations accordingly.

The Cost of Raising a Child

Each year, the US Department of Agriculture analyzes how much parents are spending on their children up until college. The newest, alarming information is that parents considered as "middle class" with children born as late as 2011 will be looking at spending over a quarter million dollars per child by the time the child is 18 years of age.

The cost of raising a child has understandably increased since the report last year. Expenses incurred in raising a child increased in nearly every facet, except for clothing and housing costs.

Here is a breakdown for what existing or prospective parents should save to raise a child.

Saving Money to Have a Child

  • Over the next 18 years, parents will spend approximately $40,00 for food, $15,000 for clothing, $32,000 for transportation, $20,000 for health care, $20,000 for miscellaneous items and $40,000 for child care and education. And parents that make more money will likely spend nearly double to raise their children to age 18.
  • Let's not forget too, that as children grow older, the expenses become more extreme. Older children eat more for one, and gone are the cheap shoes days where you could save a buck instead of spending $50-$100 on ever-growing feet. Older kids tend to want more expensive clothing and also require more health care. And don't forget the car insurance expenditures when your child starts driving.

Though the above information is worrisome, there are ways to save money while raising children. We need to take child rearing one day at a time and think creatively. Here are just a few ways to cut costs.

  1. Consider consigning clothing. Many of us have children that are growing so quickly that they barely wear the trendy clothing that after blood, sweat and tears, we work to provide. As your clothing sells you can go ahead and shop with credit in the same consignment store, resulting in a bit of a "trade" situation.
  2. Watch food specials and be a coupon clipper. Yes, this takes time, but as you become more efficient and attuned as to what good prices are, the practice will become second nature. Collect manufacturer's coupons on your favorite items and watch grocery store specials. Most grocery stores will let you also use the manufacturer's coupons in addition to their in-store specials. Some stores even have double coupon days.

Go for it!

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