The Practicing Parent: Cuting the cost of parenting

The U.S. Department of Agriculture's annual expenditures on children by family report provides the cost of raising a child from birth to age 17.

This year's total was $241,080, and that's without the costs of pregnancy or college.

78% of that cost is spent on housing, child care, education, food, and transportation.

Here are some ways to cut some of those costs.

1: Housing - Buy your own house if you can. Remember, cutting down one bedroom can save you $400 a month.

2: Childcare & Education - Half of the families who responded reported no costs because they used family members to watch their kids. A savings of about four thousand dollars a year!

3: Food - Americans spend almost $40,000 on it. Cut back on going out, buy generic, and use coupons to get this number down.

4: Transportation - Buying a car just one year old can cut the price by 20% on average. And keeping up the maintenance of your car can help save on gas costs.