Every year, the USDA updates the average cost of raising a child from birth to age 18. The latest figure is in line with recent years that you are likely to spend close to a quarter million dollars raising a child.

Breaking down the latest average and the figure is actually $14,000 per year. However, you can use the calculator provided by the USDA to get an idea of how your situation might impact what you are likely to spend. In my case, the calculator says that the number is a little more than $23,000 a year.

Luckily, I don’t spend $23,000 a year on my 14-year old son. How do I do it?

Can You Get Away with Spending Less?

In most cases, it’s probably possible to get away with spending less on your children than the government estimates.

Some of the ways you can spend less focus on food and clothing costs. You can also save money on housing, depending on your situation and where you live.
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girls doing push ups
It should come as no surprise that losing weight and eating healthier sits at the top of Statistic Brain’s 2017 New Year’s Resolution survey results. Roughly 21.4 percent have made this one of our goals, and if the statistics remain true, about 9.2 percent of us will feel successful at following through come December.

Did you resolve to make your health more of a priority this coming year? How are you doing so far? Maybe you need a little motivation, and I’m here to provide that. While I won’t be holding you accountable to show up at the gym or purging your house of junk food, I can offer this incentive: getting healthier this year could mean more money back in your pocket. Here’s how.
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change habits
Are you hoping to change your financial habits in the coming year?

There isn’t any one-size-fits-all magic approach, but there are different strategies you can try out until you hit on something that works well for you though.

Here are three strategies that can help you change your financial habits. Figure out which is likely to work best for you:

1. Try a Spending Detox

If spending is one of your big problems, you can actually break the habit by going on a spending detox. Try to go a month without spending on anything that isn’t absolutely necessary. You can retrain yourself to dislike spending and prefer keeping your money.

I know because it works with other preferences too. After quite some time eating dark chocolate, I have a hard time with sugary milk chocolate. I can’t even drink hot chocolate anymore. I retrained my taste buds so that I didn’t care as much for sugar. It’s the same with spending.

This approach can even work with your long-term and short-term savings goals. Make sure you automatically contribute to retirement savings or to your travel fund during this time, but avoid spending money on unnecessary household goods or gadgets or other items that do little more than clutter things up.

You might be surprised at how quickly you adjust to the new normal and develop new habits that are less about spending money.
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store accepting visa
There’s talk that consumer credit card debt may set a record and potentially exceed $1 trillion this year. We already set another record, with the largest net increase in consumer debt since 2007 ($80 billion). Wow!

But should we see accumulating more credit card debt this year as inevitable? I, for one, don’t think so. Consider this advice for proving the prediction wrong – even if only on a personal level.

Face the music (or rather, the numbers).

Forcing yourself to look at what you owe on your credit cards and use interest payback calculators to reveal how much more you’ll spend before they’re paid off can be just the rude awakening you need. If you’re overwhelmed by the data, ask a friend who enjoys number-crunching to help you sort it out. It won’t be fun, but you’ll be more motivated to stop creating more debt and deal with what you have.
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weights and exercise
Are you someone who avoids making resolutions because you know you’ll fail at following through with them? You’re not alone. A recent roundup of statistics shows that about 38 percent of us never make resolutions.

Although this approach may save some disappointment, the need to sell slightly-used workout gear online, or even some wishfully-invested financial resources, giving up entirely still won’t help you accomplish your goals – whether to improve your physical fitness, mental fitness, or fiscal fitness.

Even if it helps to ditch the negativity associated with making formal resolutions, the beginning of the year is a good time to start a new financial habit like budgeting, set a savings goal, or otherwise improve your fiscal fitness. It’s hard but not impossible to stick with these resolutions, and these tips can help.
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Now that a new year is well underway, it’s time to figure out how to make it great.

One of the best ways to improve your life and your finances is to invest. You can invest your money and you can invest in yourself. Here are some of the best ways to invest in the new year:

1. Boost Your Retirement Account Contribution

One of the best ways to invest is to boost your retirement contribution. That’s money that will grow for you over time. It’s even better if you work for a company that offers an employer match. In those cases, you get free money to invest.

If you have room to increase your retirement account contribution, do so — even if it’s just by a few dollars every paycheck because getting into the habit of improvement will help you be able to increase the contributions even more down the road.
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