NEW YORK (TheStreet) -- Putting a price tag on having a child may seem crass and otherwise against the laws of Mother Nature.After all, bears don't do it, bees don't do it and all the squirrels in the trees won't go through it.But would-be moms and dads are doing themselves -- and their kids -- a big disservice if they didn't keep an eye on the financial tab of raising a family. It's a warning sign other financial commitments that come from having a child may go by the wayside, leading to unintended consequences for children later in life.Knowing how much babies cost can help families prepare for that child's future. It gives them a financial blueprint of what to expect raising a family will entail, and gives them a good idea of just how many kids they can have living under one roof (or two roofs, if the parents divorce).According to the U.S. Department of Agriculture, the price tag attached to raising a child is up significantly since 1960, even factoring in rising inflation: It was $25,230 ($191,720 in 2011 dollars) and is now $234,900 per child, or 23% more expensive, even adjusted for inflation.
Individual pricing categories vary, of course, but some cost factors have risen significantly (and some have fallen) as a percentage of the overall expense:
The calculator assumes specific financial figures for baby products and services, such as $72 per month for diapers and up to $150 for a good infant car seat. It also weighs average ongoing expenses including saving for college and spending on medicine and clothing.Although Babycenter.com estimates that the average cost of a newborn baby's first year is $10,158, use the calculator yourself with your budget and lifestyle to see what having a newborn will cost you and your family.No question, having children is a wonderful, if demanding, experience. After all, a big reason (some say the only reason) we're here in the first place is to propagate the species.But all that propagating has a price tag attached, and it's much better to know what it'll be.--By Brian O'ConnellMore on family finances:
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