After paying nearly $1,100 a month for daycare, Amanda and Doug Holdsworth quickly realized that something had to give.
"It was sticker shock," said Amanda Holdsworth, who works in public relations.
With their daughter nearing two years old, the couple needed to cut back.
They reduced the amount they were putting away for retirement from 12% of their pay to around 9% each. They also nixed annual trips to Las Vegas, where they used to splurge on a nice hotel and fancy dinners. And they have traded in their cars for used ones with better fuel efficiency to cut back on the gas bill.
"I'd rather spend [the money] on my daughter and make sure she's getting the best care," Holdsworth said.
Middle-income parents of a child born in 2012 can expect to spend a whopping $241,080, according to the USDA.