Worried about the cost of having twins? It's true that having multiples increases the amount of stuff and supplies you'll need to buy. But, your budget doesn't necessarily have to double or triple. Try these savings strategies to keep costs under control.
1. Borrow/Barter/SwapDespite clever and convincing marketing, you really don't have to buy a bevy of brand new baby products for your multiples. Your babies truly won't know the difference! Consider borrowing or swapping stuff with friends, neighbors or relatives. So many baby products are only used for a short-time anyway, in most cases only a few months.
Clubs for parents of multiples exist in towns and cities all over the world and nearly all of them sponsor annual or bi-annual sales where families can buy and sell clothes, toys and equipment. These events are a wonderful way to pick up great bargains on baby stuff. Not only will you save money, but you might even make some if you decide to recycle your own gently used stuff. Find a club: Club Directory
Do multiples always mean more? When you have twins or more, your first instinct is to double up on everything. However, you simply don't need two of everything. Figure out which items your children can share -- and save! (The one thing your babies truly can't share is car seats -- to each his own!)
Some companies do offer special promotions just for parents of twins and multiples. This list provides details and contact information for some of them, like diaper coupons and even circus tickets.
5. Stockpile a SurplusWith twins, there are certain consumable products that you're going to use a lot -- like diapers, wipes, baby food. You can save a bundle by stockpiling these items when you fid them discounted. Go on a scouting mission to determine the best price on your favorite products; compare prices at both online and local stores, including grocery, discount and drug stores and discount warehouses like Sam's Club or Costco.
There are plenty of baby bathtub products on the market. Some are designed for infants, but these are quickly outgrown to be replaced by bath seats. Instead, use the sink to bathe infant multiples. As they get old enough to sit up, laundry baskets make a great bath seat. They hold the babies securely, are cheap, and can be recycled for other uses.
7. Be a Clever Clipper
Coupons, used effectively, can really stretch your dollars. Manufacturer coupons for diapers, formula and jarred baby food are readily available. Look for grocery and discount stores that offer double coupon programs to maximize your savings. Register with stores like Babies 'R Us and get on the mailing lists for other stores where you regularly shop. Many send out coupons in the mail or to an email address. Visit About.com's Couponing/Bargains site for Baby & Toy Coupons
8. Get More Wear Out of Clothes
Clothing for two or more babies can be an exorbitant expense during the first year, especially considering they grow out of them very quickly. Get more wear out of your clothes with an inexpensive accessory: False Bottoms
from One Step Ahead. They attach to onesies and other bottom-snap baby outfits and provide a few extra inches through the crotch, expanding them to fit as your babies grow. A pack of 6 sells for about $10. You could even make your own if you are handy with a sewing machine.
9. Make Your Own TeethersDon't spend money buying teethers to soothe your babies' gums. Frozen foods can also do the trick, such as frozen mini-bagels or even frozen french fries. (Use the thick, crinkle cut variety.) Or, wet washcloths and stick them in the freezer, then let your babies gnaw and suck on them.
Feeding two or more babies can be a big cost during the first year. The cheapest option to consider is breastfeeding
-- it's free! However, if nursing's not for you, there are some ways to save money on formula. Powdered formula in bulk is the most cost-efficient product, followed by liquid concentrate. Ready-to-drink formula is the most expensive. As your babies get ready for solid food, considering making your own by pureeing "big people" food. More info
Got a great cent-saving tip to share with other parents of multiples? A savings strategy that you want to recommend to others? Don't keep it to yourself. Let us know about it! Tell me how you save on twin stuff. Share Your Money-Saving Tips.