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 matter so much what you make, it's what you do with it."

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