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Cost to raise your bundle of joy just spiked

Thursday - 4/4/2013, 3:48am  ET

kids slide park (WTOP/Colleen Kelleher)
If you're a typical middle-income family you'll spend $235,000 raising each of your kids to the age of 17. (WTOP/Colleen Kelleher)

WASHINGTON - It's not your imagination. Raising kids really does drain your wallet.

New government figures say the cost of raising a kid went up 25 percent in the last decade. And Northeast and Mid Atlantic families pay the most.

If you're a typical middle-income family you'll spend $235,000 raising each of your kids to the age of 17. So what costs so much? MSN Money heard these answers from families with very young kids:

  • Diapers - Kids go through about 2,700 before potty training.
  • Daycare - Even in the suburbs, childcare costs are rising faster than your paycheck.
  • Healthcare - Costs are high, especially if your child needs care that's not covered by insurance.

Parents of school-aged kids said extracurricular activities, such as gymnastics, football and music lessons, chip away at their paychecks. Electronics -- iPods, Kindles and laptops -- are pricey too.

Experts say parents can save money by using coupons, buying in bulk and foregoing name brand products.

WTOP's Joan Jones contributed to this report. Follow @WTOP on Twitter.

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