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The Costs of Kids


Raising children doesn't mean lowering your budget, well not too much.

Have you got $221,190 tucked away?

The US Department of Agriculture says that's the cost of raising a child from birth to age 17 -- and that doesn't include childbearing expenses or college.

If you don't have that kind of cash stashed, relax because with inflation the total comes to $291,570.

You don't need the money all at once, but the number is daunting -- even before adjusting for inflation. Use the USDA's calculator to estimate how much money you'll need for your kids each year based on the region you call home. It's helpful when drafting a household budget.

It's too late to pawn the kids, but there are basic steps you can take to reduce expenses while teaching your little ones about money at key stages of their development.

Give your child an allowance, and make it clear that a portion of the money must be spent on school; some cash must be set aside in a savings account, and then comes fun stuff.

This gives your child a financial stake in a new bicycle, doll, video game, or tutu. Your child will take better care of the new purchase and that will save money over the long haul while giving your child a sense of accomplishment.

With guidance, your child will learn how to balance needs and wants -- a basic lesson many adults never learn.

What about you? Aside from the usual scrimping and saving, here are five things that may make handling the large issues a little easier, and five tips on how to handle the lesser expenses of raising children.

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