Ask a parent. ANY parent. They'll tell you that raising kids is expensive. As a parent, I know all the costs involved. Food, clothing, activities. Did I mention food? It all adds up quick. The folks at Merrill Lynch just released their annual report of the cost of parenting in America. The price tag might shock you.

According to this year's report, the cost of raising a child to the age of 18 will cost you $230,000. And that number is per child. That puts me up near $700,000. Did we mention that today doesn't even include college?  And the expenses begin immediately. Diapers, formula and the dreaded childcare expenses. It can be quite a shock for new parents. I know it was for us. Then when you add multiple children in, it can overwhelm you. And just when they outgrow one thing, a new stage begins! Kids get MORE expensive as they grow older as they outgrow their clothes and shoes every month. Entertainment and technology can get pricey. And if they're in sports or dance or other activities get ready to pay!

Now don't get me wrong, while kids are expensive, I wouldn't trade them for all the money in the world. As parents, we sacrifice our needs for the needs of our children. It's something you don't really appreciate and understand fully until you have kids of your own. Thanks again, Mom and Dad. People today are often waiting longer to become parents and cost is a big reason why. The study found that in 1970 33% of people said that finances played a big part in becoming a parent. Today that number is 73%.

The good news is that being a parent is still worth it. 94% of parents said that despite the cost, there is no greater gift than your kids. Sorry if your mom or dad is in the other 6%. Maybe their just not used to the lack of sleep yet.


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