33. Practice saying no to your kids. $491,000. That's the cost of raising a child from birth to age 17 for families earning $102,000 or more, according to the U.S. government.
Sure, fixed costs like housing and child-care are the big budget busters. But 30% of the cost of kids goes for fungible items such as clothing and "miscellaneous."
If your child-related bills include too many outfits from Abercrombie and the latest Xbox and iPhone, rein it in -- for them, if not for you. Eileen Gallo, co-author of The Financially Intelligent Parent, says research shows kids who master the art of delayed gratification do better in school and at work. Setting expectations before heading to the mall or shopping online, says Gallo, is the key.
34. Let your boss help. Take advantage of company benefits that make the cost of raising kids less taxing. Sign up for your dependent-care and health care flex-spending accounts to pay for child-care, summer day camp, orthodontia, and more with pretax dollars. Savings: up to 40% on these bills.
Just starting out? Now's the time to create a solid plan for investing and saving.