The baby bump bummer: How the cost of giving birth shocked one couple

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The Cost Of Giving Birth In U.S.

You can do a lot of fun stuff with a quarter of a million dollars. That kind of money would buy a ridiculously fancy car. You could pamper yourself for years by taking lavish vacations. Or, you could raise a child.

It costs $245,340 to raise a child born in 2013 through the age of 18, according to the most recent estimate from the U.S. Department of Agriculture. Factor in projected inflation, and that figure climbs to $304,480.

But that figure doesn't include a pretty crucial aspect of the whole "having a kid" thing — the cost of giving birth.

Newlyweds Michael and Aileen Andello are expecting their first child in September, and when they started researching the medical expenses associated with childbirth, they were shocked.

"They are literally charging for every little thing," Aileen said. After a few months of routine visits to the doctor, the Andellos started to see how much they'd have to pay before they even had a child. As new parents, they're eager to make sure everything is going well, but they're also learning that each test and extra ultrasounds add to the bill. For many reasons, they're thrilled to be expecting a healthy baby. They recently found out they're having a little girl.

"If you aren't having the perfect pregnancy, it's going to cost so much more," Aileen said.

Preparing for the Unpredictable

Figuring out exactly how much child birth will cost is incredibly difficult. Not only is every pregnancy different, but so is every insurance policy. That's what really caught the Andellos off guard.

Aileen, 25, is still on her dad's insurance. They didn't realize he has a high-deductible plan.

"He's like, 'I think our insurances are $5,000, maybe $10,000 deductible,'" Michael said, recalling a casual conversation they had with her father right after she found out she was pregnant. "That was my initial 'Oh s—, this is going to cost more than I thought.'"

The insurance has a $6,450 deductible, and the patient is responsible for 30% of the bills covered by insurance.

The Andellos aren't strangers to the costs of adult life — they just bought a house in November.

"I think I was more prepared for the homeownership, cost-wise," Michael said. "I knew that a kid costs a bunch, when it comes to diapers and formula and stuff, not that it's going to cost me $7,000 just for the birth."

For the Andellos, the deductible will mostly be met by the time their daughter is born. (Unfortunately, that financial break comes because one of Aileen's family members needs surgery.) Still, they're trying to figure out how to budget for the out-of-pocket expenses, which can be difficult to predict.

20 unusual ways to make quick money:

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The baby bump bummer: How the cost of giving birth shocked one couple

Dog-sitting, babysitting, or house-sitting

These jobs are always in high demand, and the best part: you can name your price and create your own schedule! Post an ad on craigslist, or use your friends' and family's connections to get your name out there. 

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Rent out your space 

List your apartment on Airbnb or another rental site, and make some easy cash by staying at a friends and renting out your place for the weekend.

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Share your space

Just as you can rent out your full apartment or house, you can also post a free room (or even just your couch!) on sites like Craigslist or Airbnb. This way you can split your living expenses -- and maybe even make a new friend!

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Sell your body parts

Now here's a weird one: Donate your hair, breast milk, or even plasma for a profit. According to Grifols, if you're healthy and weigh above 110 pounds, you can earn up to $200 a month donating your plasma to life-saving medicine. 

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Sign up to participate in medical tests and clinical trials. 

Universities constantly need volunteers to test new medicines and treatments -- and because the pool of willing participants is limited, there is typically a large compensation for being a guinea pig. 

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Participate in a focus group

Companies and organizations will pay you to join a focus group. These can be conducted in person, online, or via phone. You will most likely be reimbursed in cash or gift cards -- plus, you often get to test out fun new products! 

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Take online surveys

Similar to focus groups, you can get paid to give your time and insights on an online questionairre. Plus, you can do this from the comfort of your couch. 

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Bank on your sperm

Although we don't necessarily recommend this option, there is a very high demand for healthy sperm donors. Keep in mind some of the obvious drawbacks, but sperm donation is non-invasive and highly compensated. 

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Crowdfund your dreams

Crowdfunding allows you to raise monetary contributions from a large group of people who want to support your venture. Post your project or idea on a crowdfund site, like GoFundMe.com, and see the cash pile up.

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Become a tutor

If you're qualified, post an ad online or on a community board to tutor children on their school courses or for the upcoming SATs.

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Get a part-time job

Capitalize your free time (on the weekends or after work hours) by working a part-time job. A bartender, waiter, or Uber driver are all great options for an additional source of income -- and great tips! 

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Resell tickets

Take this suggestion at your own risk: If you're staying within legal limits, buy tickets low and sell high as an effective way to source additional money. (Just make sure to check your state and local laws first!)

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Rentafriend.com

You can sell anything on the internet these days... including your companionship! Get paid to go on a platonic outing for a few hours and enjoy your afternoon with a new friend. 

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Rent out your parking spot

Make sure to check with your landlord first, but if you have the option to park your own car further away, lend or share your parking space or driveway for the hour, day, or even month! 

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Keep a coin jar 

This one takes patience before a big pay out, but keep a spare jar or drawer for loose change that you usually toss anyway. It will keep it all in one place -- and those quarters do add up! 

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Make something to sell 

If you have a knack for arts & crafts, create jewelry or other handmade gifts to sell on sites filled with other thrifty vendors like Etsy

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Sell items online

This effective strategy requires low effort with a high return. Post photos of your used or non-used items on sites like eBay or Craigslist, and let the bidding begin! 

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Have a yard sale

Sell clutter you've been meaning to get rid of right in your front yard. This simple tactic is convenient, and guarantees a wad of cash right to your pocket.  

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Return past purchases

This tip may seem obvious, but is often overlooked: Take your recently-purchased items that are laying around back to the store for either store credit or a full refund. 

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Recycle scrap metal and cans

Collect cans and scrap metal out your own garbage, basement, and street and bring to your local recycler to exchange your findings for money.  

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How to Estimate the Costs of Childbirth

Like the Andellos have learned, every little medical service has a price. When you're in the middle of having a baby, it can be hard to think about finances when you're confronted with so many choices, like if you want a certain test or an extra pair of socks.

But pregnancy has an advantage many medical procedures do not: Time to plan.

"The second the test is positive go and talk to whoever you're going to look to to deliver the baby and ask for a written estimate," said Sarah O'Leary, founder of ExHale Healthcare Advocates. Though you probably already have a primary care doctor and OB-GYN, consider researching multiple providers and what they'll charge you for childbirth.

The process starts by finding a health care provider in your insurance network and calling to confirm that the doctor has an active contract with your insurance, said Adria Goldman Gross, president of Medwise Insurance Advocacy. Ask for cost estimates, compare them with the average costs in your area for the same procedures (you can research that online), and once you've settled on who is delivering your baby and where the delivery will occur, get everything in writing.

"When a doctor asks (an insurance company) for preauthorization, they need to give the procedure codes, " Gross said. The process takes about a week, she said. "You're going to ask for them in writing."

You'll also want to make sure you have a solid understanding of your pregnancy coverage, so you're prepared for what you'll have to pay out of pocket. O'Leary recommends calling your insurance provider so you can ask questions as the policy is explained to you.

In addition to getting the estimates, make it clear with your health care provider that you want "everyone who touches you" to be in your insurance network, O'Leary said. She also recommends you establish with your doctor that you only want to receive what is medically necessary, to avoid having to pay for any charge your insurance may not cover.

"The best advice is to question really everything, " O'Leary said. She went on to describe the legwork as a second job — one that can really pay off in the end. "The more work you can do upfront before the birth, it kind of puts everyone on notice that you are clued in, and that will always work to your benefit."

The Andellos still have a few months left in this process, and they said what they've learned so far has made them more mindful of the financial aspects of pregnancy. They want to have a few kids, but maybe not as close together as they previously thought they would.

"They always say high school and college will prepare you for life but it doesn't prepare you for the cost of life," Aileen said. "It's kind of a different perspective for us. It's not something we were taught about."

Whatever you might be budgeting for, it's good to keep in mind your overall financial well-being. High debt levels, among other things, for instance, can keep you from a good credit score. Alternatively, people without savings may not be able to make all the payments they need to if something disrupts their budget, which can lead to loan default, debt collection accounts and credit score damage. (You can see where your credit currently stands by viewing your two free credit scores on Credit.com.)

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This article originally appeared on Credit.com.

Now, check out the hidden costs of amusement parks
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The baby bump bummer: How the cost of giving birth shocked one couple

Parking Fees 
Upon arriving at theme parks, you are immediately hit with parking fees. At Universal Orlando, for example, expect to pay $20 for a parking space

Photo credit: Getty

Access to Water Parks and Additional Attractions 
Most amusement parks have separate water parks that open up after Memorial Day, however, these attractions are not included in general admission tickets. 

Photo credit: Getty

Carnival Games 
Usually, in the center of an amusement park, you can find a carnival-like setup featuring games, activities and food. As exciting as the games are, forewarning: This section is often its own entity, and to participate, you may have to pay separately. 

Photo credit: Getty

Gift Shops 
This cost may not be as hidden as the others, but it can still put a major dent in your wallet. 

Photo credit: Getty

Caricature Artists and Side Activities 
Like water parks and carnivals inside of amusement parks, caricature artists and other side activities are not included when you purchase a general admission ticket. 

Photo credit: Getty

Food and Snacks 
If you decide not to purchase a ticket which includes a meal throughout your amusement park visit, be prepared to fork over money for snacks. 

Photo credit: Getty

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