The cost of raising a child

Raising a child means a lot of love and support. But let's face it, it also takes money to raise a family. The US Department of Agriculture's annual report on the cost of raising a child shows that it's not your imagination - it is expensive.
Their latest numbers show one child costs on average $245,340 through the age of 17. That doesn't count all that you to do help them after they turn 18, what you chip in for college or those first years out of the house.

Now that's a national average. It is a touch lower in the urban South which is Atlanta. One child here costs $230,610. The numbers don't necessarily go up that much with each child because siblings can share rooms, wear hand-me-down clothing and share a car. But, across the board, one thing does rank high in costs and that is food. They all eat. 

So let's look at a great website that can help you. The USDA has a site called Choose My Plate. It has all sorts of information for how to eat healthy at the lowest price. It offers a section called Healthy Eating on a Budget and menu plans to follow. Here's an example: buy fresh fruits and veggies that are only in-season at a large farmer's market. What a savings. There's also a section called the Nutrition Education Series where you can learn how to make the best choices in a cafeteria or when vacationing or away from home. And there is a section for kids to learn - through games - how to create their own plate of yummy food.

But listen, don't panic. Still plan on having kids. But know that whatever tax bracket you're in, children will pinch your budget. That's a grown-up fact.