Twins are an amazing treasure. With how often they draw the attention of people as they pass, it’s impossible not to be constantly reminded of the tremendous blessing that these little oddities of nature are. But when we first found out we were expecting twins, one of our biggest joy-crushers was the fear of how we were going to afford them. As early as the first trimester, I started working to make sure that we were financially prepared for twins. It took a little more effort to save money, but it was totally worth it.
We financially prepared for twins by examining the cost
What’s the expense parents loathe the most? Daycare. For about 5 months we struggled financially as almost an entire paycheck from my husband’s job was signed away to daycare costs. Whether both parents worked or not, we were broke either way. As much as I never thought we could survive as a family of 5 (and growing!), we had to face reality and take the kids out of daycare to stay home with Daddy. The issue of affording childcare was the biggest financial struggle we faced financially, and there was really no way to prepare for it. But with belt tightening, grit, determination, and creative thinking we have been able to make it on my pennies teacher’s salary so John could be home with the kids. You’d be surprised how manageable it is to go down to one income, and the benefits of having your children home with you are tremendous.
We began with the “end” in mind
Since I knew we couldn’t financially prepare for the cost of daycare, I started early with preparing for other expenses, like diapers. Every time we went grocery shopping we’d buy a single package of diapers. Spreading out the expense over time meant that when the girls came we didn’t have to buy diapers for almost 9 months! It’s a good idea to stockpile other non-perishables, like store bought baby food and wipes.
Reusing and recycling
We reached out to our friends and family and asked for any baby- or pregnancy-related items that they were willing to hand down to us. Amazingly, we ended up with TWO cribs, plenty of maternity clothes, and little girl clothes up to age 2! I also kept an eye on the forums in our local Twin Parents club website. It’s how I ended up with the nursing pillow that helped me with breastfeeding twins.
What if breastfeeding doesn’t work out?
If you subscribe to the Babies ‘R Us emails or mailing list they often send out coupons for formula and other baby items. I saved these coupons just in case breastfeeding was too hard with twins.
Thrift shop, baby!
For necessities like maternity clothes for twins, which I was only going to need for a few months, I made do with thrift store finds. We ended up getting so many baby clothes from friends and family that we didn’t need to go into the children’s section of the thrift shop. Between secondhand shops and visiting yard sales, I was able to fully stock the nursery (including a $10 glider!). What I hadn’t thought about, even though this wasn’t my first pregnancy, was how I would also need larger-than-usual clothing for AFTER the girls came. I didn’t exactly “bounce back” to my old shape but I was plenty “bouncy” in the midsection for at least a year. 😉
Let’s be real:
I had to be realistic about what I could and couldn’t afford. I wanted new cribs and playpens, but settled for hand-me-downs that were in great shape. We chose generic over name-brand baby products and found them to still be of good quality. When friends and family asked what I needed, I would ask for diapers or for them to buy us the things we wanted but didn’t really need, like cute designer outfits and fancy baby toys.
One is enough
At first we didn’t buy two of each of the more expensive baby items. We bought one, gave the babies a chance to use it and considered if they like it enough to make it worth getting a second one. The girls absolutely hated the baby swing, so thankfully we only had to pack one up to return it. We also were able to last a long time with only one crib because we had our twins sleep in the same crib.
Bank sick days
My job allowed my sick days to roll over to the next year, and those got used up first when I went on maternity leave with the twins. As a teacher, I can’t collect State Disability Insurance, so I planned ahead and signed up for short-term disability insurance through my employer’s benefits provider. This actually helped us out a lot because the insurance granted me 60% of my pre-tax paycheck, and since I had a lot of deductions taken out of my check for health and dental insurance, taxes, union dues and retirement, my maternity leave checks were bigger than what I was used to!
Calling all angels!
Bringing twins into the world is as exhausting as it is rewarding. Two of my mom’s friends were kind enough to come and help around the house about once a week, which totally saved my sanity. It got to where I’d just leave the dishes and pile of clean laundry because I knew they were coming the next day to help with housekeeping. Before the twins arrive, I strongly suggest lining up volunteers to come over and help with housework. Once the babies come you’re too overwhelmed to do it all.
For dinner we’re having…?
A few other thing that can be arranged in advance are a Meal Train and groceries. During the first 2-3 months, the days were such a blur that we were just trying to survive newborn twins on little sleep. Trying to wrap our heads around dinner plans or the contents of the pantry was more than we could handle. Thankfully, our friends and family pitched in to provide us with a delivery of groceries. There is also a website, mealtrain.com, where your friends can sign up for nights to bring over dinner.
Twins, or just children in general, are expensive. Their wants and needs just get more and more pricey as they grow older. I can’t even fathom having to pay for two weddings. Thankfully that challenge is still a looooong way off. However, we recently set up a 529 college savings plan for the twins. It’s a great investment because the savings can only be used for college expenses, of which there are plenty!
Join the Amazon Family
Did you know you can join Amazon Family and get discounts on diapers? Plus they offer a variety of coupons and discounts on products for babies and toddlers. We used Amazon Family (formerly Amazon Mom) when the twins were little, and since we’re already Prime members we get our orders in 2 days or less.
When you are expecting twins, it’s a good idea to save money wherever you can. We wanted to have enough in the bank so that we didn’t have to worry about expenses, and could focus on enjoying our new babies. It’s ok to ask your friends and family to pitch in, since bringing home newborn twins is likely to be the biggest challenge you will face as a parent.