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That child you're about to have is going to cost you more than $200K

Housing, feeding, educating and clothing a baby costs a whole heap of cash.
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If you're planning on embarking on the wonderful (exhausting) and fulfilling (all-consuming) journey of raising children anytime soon, give this a read first.

It's no secret that having children comes at a financial cost, well the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) has updated exactly how much that cost is – $233,610.

That's the amount the average middle-income, married American family can expect to spend on child-rearing expenses for babies born in 2015 until they're 17 – footing an annual bill of between $12,350 and $13,900.

Lower-income families will spend less, around $175,000 over the first 17 years, while upper earners can expect to dish out $372,210 during that period.

Those are the national figures though. In the Midwest it's a little cheaper, costing urban middle-income families $217,020 on average, and rural middle earners $193,020.

What costs so much?

Housing

Housing is the most significant cost associated with children, accounting for around 29 percent of the total. And while having a child doesn't necessarily mean you buy a new house, the USDA study takes into account the cost of an additional bedroom when tabulating these figures.

As well as the bedroom, the study takes into account mortgage payments, property taxes, maintenance, home furnishings and equipment, and the use of utilities associated with having an extra person in the home.

It's worth noting that the more children families have, the proportionally cheaper they get, as younger children are able to share bedrooms and re-use clothing and toys.

Food

Food, unsurprisingly, is next, as children refuse to join their parents in a meal of steamed fish and broccoli and instead demand chicken nuggets and fries. Food expenses account for about 18 percent of the cost of having children.

Around 17 to 25 percent of the household food budget in a two-child family is spent on their food, which also includes the extra cost of eating out.

The USDA is pointing people to this resource ChooseMyPlate.gov/budget, which helps families follow a nutritious meal plan while sticking to a budget.

Childcare and education

Childcare and education is the next biggest expense at around 16 percent of the total. This particularly affected those in higher earning groups, and is one area in which some families don't have any expenses at all – like those lucky enough to have their parents nearby to babysit.

In Minnesota, the cost of childcare for infants can range from $137 a week for in-home daycare to $207 a week for a daycare center in outstate Minnesota, while in the Twin Cities it ranges from $182 to $324, according to Child Aware MN.

Other major expenses involved with having a child include transportation, health care and clothing costs, the report found.

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