PHOENIX - It costs $233,610 to raise a child in the United States, according to numbers from the US Department of Agriculture.
That number is a nationwide average that includes all the basic expenses of raising a child from birth to age 17. It does not include the cost of college.
The USDA's cost calculator lets you narrow the costs to a geographic area. According to that calculator, raising a child in the Western United States will cost approximately $280,000.
So how do you come up with a quarter of a million dollars?
"Financial planning is not rocket science," TrustBank financial planner John Chichester said. "It doesn't mater so much what you make, it's what you do with it."
Chichester said there's no shortcut, you just have to save and cut costs.
The trick is, most parents don't accurately consider the costs of a child until they already have one.
"It's more of an emotional decision than a financial decision," Chichester said. "But I think in today's world, it's becoming more and more a financial decision."