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I decided to post on the retirement investing board, since it's my retirement planning where this comes up.

Could someone please write me up a detailed budget explaining the costs of children, and how much each additional child will cost? (Assuming the second child will cost slightly less than the first, since you'll already have a playpen).

Ok, seriously now. When I'm explaining my retirement plans on the Fool discussion boards and mention that my wife and I will be having kids (or at least 1), I immediately get two reactions. First I get "Then give up planning your retirement, each kid will throw that back at least 20 years", and then I get "Kids don't cost nearly as much as that guy says, he's crazy, you just have to be smart about it".

I have 3 younger sisters (and a nice 6 year gap between myself and my oldest sister) so I was able to watch them grow up. I have a vague idea as to what a child requires. Could anyone slightly help me with some type of concrete numbers? I'm not asking for a budget (as funny as that was). I just really don't have a clue. You hear figures quoted all the time about 25k per year per child, and total cost of 1M for each child you have, etc. I'd love to know where these numbers are coming from.

How much of a child are required costs, and how much are extras? I know my parents spent obscene amounts of money on myself and my sisters, but very little of what I saw was needed. IE expensive vacations, $150 pairs of shoes a few times a year, way too many expensive toys (pinball machine, air hockey, foosball, in-ground pool). There's food, clothing (can be very reasonable in these areas if you don't go out a lot and you can shop at Kohls rather than Structure), medical (should be covered for a bit extra on our existing medical policy). What else am I missing?

College is the obvious one, but if I put a bit away into a 529 every year after they're born and they head to a nice public in-state college, it shouldn't break the bank.

So any information from you wise older people (or even younger I suppose) would be a great help.
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