The cost of rearing a child is a mind-boggling $233,610, according to a recent study by the U.S. Department of Agriculture.
That’s right, from birth to age 17, a middle-income married couple will shell out big bucks to provide for their kids (and then, of course, there’s college).
While you take a breath, check out our effective tips to drive down the top three child-raising costs.
#1 cost: housing
(tip: find the sweet spot)
Experts recommend keeping your mortgage payments to 30% of your gross income. However, this becomes much more difficult when you live in or near a city.
Bottom line? Look for a home somewhere between a crowded city and a rural area (unless you’re into country life). You’ll likely find a good deal, as long as it doesn’t dramatically increase your transportation costs.
#2 cost: food
(tip: shop strategically)
You probably don’t need a government study to remind you of how much you spend feeding your family.
But if you want to trim your food bill, make a list before you go to the market to purchase only what you need, and try to buy in bulk whenever possible. Also, preparing meals ahead of time will keep you from ordering take-out on those nights when you’re short on time.
#3 cost: daycare
(tip: try the “share” system)
The cost of traditional daycare can give you money-induced nervous sweats. As an alternative, see if your neighbors are open to starting a share system. Here, each parent takes turns watching your group of kids on designated days of the week.
However, if you don’t have any flexibility in your work schedule, consider a nanny share. You can pool costs with your neighbors and hire one nanny to watch every child, every day.