I won’t lie: Having twins is financially challenging. Sometimes I find myself feeling strapped, especially in this high cost-of-living city. Still, our situation isn’t as terrible as when I first learned about my twins. Back then, I worried how we would afford everything and the impact twins would have on our jobs and our savings. Somehow, we’re surviving the cost of twins (and a five-year-old).
How to cut down the cost of twins
We’re not saving as much as we used to, but we’re still able to sock away some money at the end of the month. We’re more practical in our decisions and rethink everything we buy. And using these tactics below, we’ve been able to beat the high cost of twins.
Buy reasonably-priced baby gear.
The ever-excited first-time mom I was, I bought my eldest a $600 crib from a specialty boutique. When the twins came around, we still needed to buy another one. We bought the second crib online for $120, and between the two, I can’t tell the difference.
Splurge where it matters, then choose the lower-priced deal where it doesn’t. Consider buying second-hand gear from Craigslist or your local consignment stores. I’ve bought and sold items at consignment stores. They’re strict with what they buy, so you’ll take home high-quality, second-hand gear.
Hire a nanny.
Hiring a nanny to care for your twins is usually less expensive than enrolling them in day care. While many offer sibling discounts, most day care centers charge double for your twins. Nannies are more flexible in accommodating them.
Extra perks include:
- You won’t burden yourself with lugging two babies, a double stroller, a huge diaper bag, double the supplies and change of clothes every day… and back to your home at the end of it.
- Since your nanny comes to your home, you won’t disrupt the twins’ schedule or wake them up to get out the house on time.
- You can negotiate your nanny’s pay depending on her duties. For instance, some nannies double as a cleaning lady or offer to drive your babies around. Reduce or cut these duties to lower her rate.
Alter your work schedule.
Whether you go with a nanny or a day care, consider changing your work schedule to lessen your child care needs. Work an earlier shift while your partner works later to reduce the hours your twins are with child care.
Or ask grandma to care for them a few days or hours a week. This will help reduce the cost of childcare and give grandma an opportunity to care for your kids.
Be a minimalist.
I was head-over-heels about a wagon I so wanted for the twins. I knew they’d love their outings more in a wagon instead of the double stroller. Plus, we could go to the beach more often! I rationalized. I talked about it so much that my mom slipped me $100 to help out.
But then… I thought about that $100 and how useful it can be going towards something else. After a few days of mulling it over, I remembered our wants and needs. The twins need a means to get around, but they didn’t need a wagon to do so. I socked that money towards their college savings instead.
Think about each purchase you make and whether you can get by without it or by using an alternative. It’s easy to fall for conveniences and fun, but at what cost? Some purchases are worth the sanity-saving convenience. But others are a result of your mind salivating over what can be.
Live a frugal life and make a conscious decision for each purchase you make. Don’t fall for the latest marketing gimmicks (I work in marketing so I know a lot of it is gimmicks!). Learn how to budget your malleable expenses like groceries, clothes and entertainment. Use coupons and free samples. Live like how you did when you were in your early 20s just starting out.
Months later, I’m glad we didn’t buy that wagon and saved the money instead.
Start saving now.
Save as much as you can while you have less expenses. Save towards your retirement as well as easier-to-access accounts like online savings. Should you ever find yourself strapped for cash, the savings is there to keep you from going into debt.
My future self will be thanking me for saving as much as I did in the past. For several months, we’ll have extra expenses that we can’t fit into our monthly budget. Here’s where our savings comes in handy. Without feeling too much of a pinch, we still maintain a decent lifestyle thanks to our savings.
Don’t feel guilty for not saving for college.
On a similar note, don’t feel bad if you can’t save for everything you’re used to. With our eldest, my husband and I were able to save six times as much as what our twins currently have in their 529 plans. Saving for one child’s college is much easier than saving for three.
After almost a year and a half, we’ve only now finally opened up 529 plans for each of the twins. We’ll put money into them as we can, but no sweat if we don’t, at least for now. When money is more available, we’ll do our best to catch up. For now,save for retirement and their day-to-day expenses.
Shop at bulk stores.
We buy baby-related items at bulk stores like Costco. Diapers, wipes, formula and baby soap are cheaper when bought in bulk than buying in other stores. And with twins, you’ll need most of these items in bulk, anyway.
Use your work’s flexible spending account.
If your work is like mine, one of your benefits is a flexible spending account, or FSA. Calculate how much you would need for health-related costs. Include your hospital bill, prenatal visits, pediatrician co-pays and medicines that qualify.
Using your FSA card will save you a huge percentage of the cost because yreceive the money pre-tax. So if you’re in the 30% tax bracket, that’s like getting 30% off your medical fees!
Also take advantage of your partner’s insurance if that’s an option. I relied on my husband’s insurance to cover costs my primary insurance didn’t. Depending on how much it costs to add you to your partner’s plan, you may be able to avoid paying hospital bills.
Ask for help and hand-me-downs.
I realize I’m lucky that both mine and my husband’s families all live in the same city. We hardly ever pay for a babysitter. Our grocery bill was low the first few months after each delivery thanks to donated food. Cousins and even friends of friends have been generous with their hand-me-downs. So much so that I haven’t bought any clothes for my eldest in almost two years.
And it’s all karma. I’ve now been giving things away to my now pregnant friends and coworkers.
Here’s an extra tip: Join your local moms of multiples group. Most will be willing to part with old clothes and gear (or sell them for a steal).
Don’t buy two of everything.
You might assume you need two of everything, but often you’re fine with just one. Sometimes you’re not sure whether you need two. In that case, either buy both but don’t open it in case you need to return it. Or buy just one and see if you really need two of them.
You really don’t have to buy two of everything. You will need two cribs, car seats, a double stroller, high chairs and infant seats. Everything else isn’t a necessity. You can get away with one swing, one tub, one changing table, one set of toys, and one bedroom.
Check out this list of twin registry must-haves to discover what you really need.
Return non-practical gifts for purchases you want.
I’ve returned gifts for more practical or pressing purchases. My kids may not need fancy outfits, but they sure do need some onesies. And they may already have several cute sweaters. Returning the extra ones they received as a gift would be better spent on other purchases I had in mind. For instance, I replaced their filthy bath toys.
Let the twins share a room.
Not only do my twins share a room, they also share it with their older brother, so yes, room sharing is possible. Their bedroom is big enough that we have two cribs and a twin bed and still have space to play. We didn’t move to a bigger house just to have three bedrooms.
So far we’re managing well. We buy only the necessary gear and inexpensive items. We’ve hired a nanny and altered our work schedule to lessen the child care cost of twins. Our three kids share a room, and we save as much as we can. By staying smart with our expenses, we’re able to live a comfortable and happy life with our twins.
Feeling overwhelmed with what to do when your twins arrive? Get my FREE 5-day email course, Bringing Home Twins: How to Survive the Early Weeks with Newborn Twins! You’ll also get this FREE printable feeding and diaper tracker instantly:
Get more tips about twins:
- Surprising Costs of Raising Twins You Never Knew
- Bringing Home Twins: How to Survive the Early Weeks with Newborn Twins
- How Caring for Newborn Twins is Different from Singletons
- Interesting Facts about Twins You Probably Didn’t Know
- How to Sleep Train Twins: The Ultimate Guide
Tell me in the comments: What is the biggest cost of twins you’re anticipating?
Learn how to sleep train twins
Tired of waking up multiple times a night putting your twins to sleep? Do you wish they knew how to put themselves to sleep instead? Get exclusive tips and FREE chapters of my ebook, How to Sleep Train Twins: The Ultimate Guide!