Baby Sticker Shock

Forget about the pain of labor, the chronic fatigue and saggy body parts. There is something far more frightening to consider when it comes to adding a bundle of joy to your family: bankruptcy.

You don’t have to be a CPA to know that adding a baby to the mix can subtract some serious cash from your bank account, but did you know the cost of raising a child from birth to age 18 —-not including college -— can drive you to the poorhouse?

The government just released some scary financial facts about raising a child in the 21st century. According to the U.S. Department of Agriculture, the average middle-income, two-parent family spends $226,920 to raise junior until his 18th birthday.

Sound like a lot?

It is.

Government officials say the lofty six-figure number is up nearly 40% — or more than $60,000 — from 10 years ago.

Break down the $226,000 plus total and you’ll find that just one year of spending on a child can cost up to $13,830. A decade ago the total was $9,860.

Before you blame the spike in costs to the desire to dress Junior in designer duds or push him in a pimped out stroller while feeding him high-priced organic snacks, consider that the government based its computations on the spending habits of the average American family.

The USDA says much of parents’ money is being spent on groceries, gas and health care for their children, which has climbed significantly over the past decade. Financial experts note that food prices, in particular, have taken a big hit on parents’ budgets as rising demand for commodities, such as corn and wheat, along with rising oil prices, have made purchasing a simple box of cereal a pricey proposition. In addition, medical expenses for families with children rose 58% over the decade, according to the USDA.

Another huge hit to parents’ pocketbooks is child care. According to a recent report by the National Association of Child Care Resource and Referral Agencies, in 2010, the cost of placing two children in child care exceeded the median annual rent payments in every single state.

Has the high price of raising a child deterred you from adding to your family?

Related Articles:

Are You Talking to Your Kids About the Financial Crisis?

Bad Economy + Tooth Fairy = Unhappy Kids

Poor Economy = Fewer Kids in Daycare: Who’s Watching Your Children?

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Michele Cheplic

About Michele Cheplic

Michele Cheplic was born and raised in Hilo, Hawaii, but now lives in Wisconsin. Michele graduated from the University of Wisconsin-Madison with a degree in Journalism. She spent the next ten years as a television anchor and reporter at various stations throughout the country (from the CBS affiliate in Honolulu to the NBC affiliate in Green Bay). She has won numerous honors including an Emmy Award and multiple Edward R. Murrow awards honoring outstanding achievements in broadcast journalism. In addition, she has received awards from the Aircraft Owners and Pilots Association for her reports on air travel and the Wisconsin Education Association Council for her stories on education. Michele has since left television to concentrate on being a mom and freelance writer.

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