Babies Don't Cost As Much As You Think

how much babies costFor those of you who sit down and calculate how much it's going to cost you to have a baby, I applaud you. Personally I became overwhelmed at the diaper-cost figuring and called it a night. Not to mention if I knew what it cost to raise a child, I might have decided to skip it in favor of a summer home. (Kidding! Kids, I would never trade you for a summer home. Unless it was beach front.)

But now Parenting has unleashed a cost of raising children tool that makes all that fretting over the numbers disappear with a click of a few buttons. Even more surprising, the cost of raising that baby until he graduates from college is not as much as I thought it would be.

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While $623,623 is nothing to sneeze at, I thought the cost of raising my son in Los Angeles would be much more. Even though we're planning on public college instead of private. Yes, it's a lot of money. Yet the calculation includes housing, food, and bills, which we're paying for anyway. Not that a food bill doesn't jump like crazy during the teen years, but it's still a cost of living that's not insurmountable.

Now, when I think about the fact that I have two kids, and that puts my cost at over a million dollars ... that's a little jarring. But here's what my family can do: More recycling of lunch boxes, meals, and hand-me-downs. Less extracurricular activities that cost big money, and more trips to museums on free days. Shopping at farmers' markets and in bulk. Cooking at home, less eating out. More day trips, fewer long-distance vacations.

It all adds up, and being aware of the cost will help us to budget more efficiently. Or sign up our kids to the Disney circuit, and let those child stars take care of us for a change. I kid. Mostly.

How much does it cost you to raise your baby?


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