Sure, all the celebs are doing it.
But how do you make your budget work when you’re expecting twins and don’t have the endless resources of Beyoncé or Amal? We asked financial pros and parents of twins — and financial pros who are parents of twins — for their best tips.
Start Building Your Cash Stash
You may find out you're having twins as early as 10 weeks, leaving you time to start building a bigger cushion. When personal finance blogger Catherine Alford learned she was having twins, “I stepped up my freelance writing to boost my income,” she says. “My husband was in medical school so he couldn’t work more, but just through my extra freelance and by cutting out optional purchases, we put aside an extra $10,000.”
Evaluate Your Insurance Coverage
Take the time to really dig into your health insurance to make sure you have adequate coverage for your expanding family. Because having a baby is considered a qualifying life event, you're eligible to make changes to your insurance even if the open enrollment period has passed.
One thing to consider, if your employer offers it, is contributing to a flexible spending account. These accounts let you set aside money on a pre-tax basis to help pay for qualified out-of-pocket medical expenses — and twins may involve much bigger medical bills than a single baby.
“Many multiples are born prematurely and require time in a neonatal intensive care unit [NICU],” Alford points out. Her own twins needed NICU care, costing Alford and her husband $4,000 before insurance kicked in. So talk with your human resources department about all the benefit options available to you that could help offset your out-of-pocket costs.
Focus Your Spending on The Basics
As you start buying baby supplies, your first instinct may be to rush out and get some cute, matchy-matchy outfits. But leave this kind of stuff to your excited friends and relatives, advises Erica Sandberg, author of “Expecting Money: The Essential Financial Plan for New and Growing Families.”
“You’ll be spending a lot more than you think on diapers, wipes and onesies,” she says. The fancy stuff, meanwhile, won’t be used as often as you imagine. This is also a good time to ask friends with older kids if they’d care to purge some old baby stuff. Offer to help them sort through it, and you could end up with most of the gear you need without spending a dime. (Just be careful that car seats are up to code — today’s models come with expiration dates.)
Tap Into Kid-Gear Consignment Events
When Scott Alan Turner’s twins, now 3, were born, he and his wife quickly realized just how many baby clothes they’d need. “We nicknamed one son ‘Five Outfits,’ because that’s how many he’d go through in a typical day,” jokes the money podcast host.
Rather than buy everything new, they kept an eye out for consignment shows that would come to their area every two or three months. “They’d sell gently used kids’ clothes for 10 cents on the dollar, and toys and equipment for big discounts too,” Turner says. Popular shows include Just Between Friends and Rhea Lana, both of which print their event schedules online. Look for kids’ consignment stores too, including Once Upon a Child and Kid to Kid.
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Don’t Assume You Need to Double Up on Gear
“At first we bought two of everything,” says Bridgette E. Wright, editor-in-chief of Carolina Style and mother of two sets of twins, ages 6 years and 7 months. “It wasn’t until the second set of twins came around that we realized you only need one changing table and one of each toy.”
Alford also recommends resisting the urge to buy an expensive double baby sling or carrier right away. “I think I only wore both babies on me twice,” she says. “It was easier to put one in the sling and keep one in a bouncy chair and switch off.”
Buy in Bulk
If you haven’t had a wholesale club membership before now, this is the time to get one, the experts agree. “We have a Costco near us, and we bought all our formula, diapers and wipes there,” says Turner. To save even more, go for the generic or house brands on offer. Bonus: Many wholesale clubs also have a pharmacy department with rock-bottom prices on both prescription baby medications and over-the-counter must-haves, such as diaper ointment.
Make Some of Your Own Baby Food
You'll be too busy to whip up every last spoonful from scratch, but Turner's hack could help you save both time and money. “If we had leftovers from dinner, my wife would puree some of them and then freeze individual portions in ice cube trays,” he says. It’s an easy way to save hundreds of dollars — or more — over the course of your babies’ early days of eating solids.
And there’s a side benefit, Turner adds. “We exposed our twins to a wider range of tastes at an early age, which helped them not to be picky eaters.”
Register for Special Twin Discount Plans
Wright found that her local Babies “R” Us store offered a markdown for mentioning that she had twins; check stores in your area and you may find some similar deals. National brands may give you a break, too. Pampers, for example, will make a one-time gift of money-saving coupons for parents of multiples. Many other leading diaper and baby food companies feature similar discounts, so call their 800 numbers and ask. The website Twiniversity keeps a list of special offers for parents of multiples, updated frequently.
Don’t see a discount offer? Ask anyway. Small businesses may be more than willing to take your parental status into account — Alford asked her local kiddie gyms and play spaces to give her a discount for enrolling two kids at once, and they did. Wright also discovered a few local daycare centers who would give her a reduced enrollment fee for signing up her older twins.