How much does it cost to Raise a child in the US?

According to a recent report by the United States Department of Agriculture, the average two-parent, middle-income family with a child born in 2011 is now looking at $234,900 to raise a child to 17 (not including the costs of pregnancy, childbirth or college).This breaks down to an average of $12000 -$14000 a year per child.

Where do all the costs go?  Housing and food are the top two money eaters.  Housing  is by far the biggest taking 29% of your wage, while food costs come in around 18%.  There is also the expense of child care which accounts for 16% for a younger child. 
 
As the child grows older things become even more expensive.  Let's consider a few of the major expenses.   Electronics- Children must do homework on computers and the pressure to keep up to date with their peers having their own cell phone.  Team sports-From buying the uniform, sports shoes to travelling for competitions, this could cost on average $2500 a year per child.  Extracurricular-Teens are doing Driver's Ed classes and there seems to be endless school fees.  Clothing-By the time your child is a teen, you are finding yourself buying adult size clothing and shoes which cost significantly more. Groceries-From having their friends over, to their appetites increasing and the odd bite out to eat this could cost you around $36000 a year per child.   Studies have shown the older your child gets, the more you spend. 
 
What are some ways to reduce or help these raising costs?  Before you consider this question, be certain to have an emergency fund for unexpected life events.  Next you need a way to survive these busy and expensive years.  With busy schedules, it's often hard to find time to get another job.  Consider doing side jobs that fit into your life.  Run errands for someone who doesn't have the time while getting paid.  Coach a team will often get you a discount in your own child's sports fees.  Shop for gently used sporting gear and shoes.  Plan your meals and cook as much from scratch as possible, hearty soups are always a great idea.  Lastly, don't despair.  If your child doesn't have the latest and greatest or is unable to do an expensive sports team, it's ok.  Often the extra grit in life will help them become amazing and resilient adults.