DENVER -- Many of us already know raising kids can reduce your wealth.
And Wednesday, a new report shows just how much.
A middle income family could spend more than $241,000 to raise a child born just last year—and that doesn’t even include college.
Childcare/education came in as the second-highest expense parents spend on their kids. Housing is first.
The U.S. Department of Agriculture has been looking at these costs since the 1960’s. Costs jumping 23 percent since then—adjusting for 2012 dollars.
The government report looks at seven categories.
“We just spent $300 on school supplies," says mother of two, Stacey Zotti of Denver.
She knows these little expenses for her little ones add up.
"It's Kleenex, Crayons, markers, Sharpies, nothing out of the ordinary," she says.
"It was literally like $1,000 for school clothes and school supplies," says another mother of five, Destiny Marvin.
What she and other moms don’t know is costs including: housing, food, transportation, clothing, health care, child care/education and miscellaneous items (personal care, like haircuts; entertainment; and reading materials) can add up to money misery.
"We are looking to preschools for our 3 year old, just to get half a decent preschool it's $2,000 month. It’s crazy," says Marvin.
Parents making more than $105,000 in 2012 will spend $501,250 to raise a child born last year to age 18.
Those with incomes from $60,640-$105,000 will spend $301,970.
And those making less than $60,640 spend $216,910.
"I only have one daughter and we're thinking that's probably all we can afford to have, as much as I'd like to have other kids," says first-time mom Beth Elkin.
The towering tab overwhelms her.
"It's been very expensive just to have her,” she says of her 5-month-old daughter, Violet. “She's definitely worth it. But our daycare is outrageous, food, clothing. They grow out of it so quickly."
“This is a financial burden. Certainly, children are not a burden. But raising them is,” says Certified Financial Planner Mark Starosciak, of Infinium Investment Advisors in Cherry Creek.
He says the report should be a wake up call.
"It's scary. It's a scary number. What's scarier? That data point only goes to 18, and does not include college," he says.
Starosciak says it also highlights the importance of two financial principles.
"Number one, you have to live below your means. That can be hard. Many families are struggling in this economy. You still have to find a way to live below your means. The second takeaway is you need a game plan," he says.
That game plan includes building up your savings—and mapping out how to reach your financial goals. That may include partnering with a certified financial planner—many who offer a complimentary first meeting.