Having children can be costly, but the family budget can be flexible to pay for them if you plan ahead.
Do you happen to have an extra $14,000 (or more) you can squeeze out of your annual budget to cover the expenses involved in raising a child? If not, you might consider starting on your financial plans for a baby, because that’s what the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) estimates for the costs of child-rearing per year.
That’s according to “The Cost of Raising a Child,” the USDA’s annual report on what middle-income, married-couple families can expect in terms of the cost of raising a baby. The costs will vary, of course, depending on the family income level, the ages and number of children, and where you live.
“There are significant economies of scale with regard to children, sometimes referred to as the cheaper-by-the-dozen effect,” said Mark Lino, an economist and the author of the report. “As families increase in size, children may share a bedroom, clothing and toys can be reused, and food can be purchased in larger, more economical packages.”
The cost of raising a child includes everything from the price of food, housing, transportation, health care, and miscellaneous goods and services, plus what the government calls “child-specific expenditures” for clothing, childcare, and education.
But get this: The estimated $233,610 tab covers birth through age 17 and doesn’t include the costs of a college education. That’s when the real spending party begins.
How can you keep your family financially solvent and still save during these crucial child-rearing years and beyond? Here’s a quick checklist of things to keep in mind and in the bank.
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