Discovering you’re going to have a baby can be a scary time. No matter how excited you are, or how ready, or how planned the pregnancy, it’s completely natural for expectant parents to feel anxious once that test turns out positive. This can be even more nerve-wracking if you later find out you’re expecting twins.

Multiple pregnancies are an anxious time for several reasons, but for many people, the primary concern is, “How will we afford it?” Even the most organized parents-to-be rarely consider the possibility of twin birth, and fewer budget for one.

But then, no parent wants to worry about their child missing out, and fortunately (in most cases), you’ll have plenty of time to get your head around the idea of twins. Financial planning will be a key part of your preparation and will help you meet the needs of a family that’s suddenly growing much faster than you anticipated.

Here’s how to keep you and your twins happy without breaking the bank.

Preparation is essential.

The first thing you need to do is to figure out how much, on average, you’ll need to spend per baby per month. This will vary wildly depending on a number of factors, including where you live, if you plan to use a babysitting or daycare service, whether you and your partner both plan to work full-time or not, if you’re a single parent, and any number of other factors.

First things first – how much your birth is likely to cost? Twins are slightly more likely to be born via cesarean than single births, which may increase the amount you have to pay. You should also try and anticipate the cost of doctor’s appointments for your babies in their first six months to a year of life. While things may crop up that you couldn’t possibly plan for, essentials such as check-ups and vaccinations can be accounted for pretty easily.

If you do plan to use a daycare center, be sure to do plenty of research as early as possible. This will help you not only to find a good daycare center with fees within your budget, but also to get your twins down on any potential waiting lists as soon as possible. The best value daycare centers are often oversubscribed, and getting in can be challenging.  

For many couples, especially those expecting twins, it’s actually more cost-effective (at least in short to medium term) for one parent to work part-time, or give up work entirely, rather than pay for daycare. Don’t forget to consider this option, particularly if cost-effectiveness is more important than going out to work every day.

You also need to consider that basic essentials are likely to cost more now that you’re buying for two babies instead of one. That means twice as many diapers, twice as much clothing, twice as much formula (if you plan to use formula), and so on. Then, once the babies get older, you need to think about other items such as toys, books, and shoes. It’s not impossible that simple costs can end up running to a couple of thousand dollars every month.

Making savings

Now that you have an idea of what you’re likely to spend, you can go through it with a fine-toothed comb and identify areas where you can make savings. It’s perfectly possible to give your little ones everything they need and stay in budget. You just have to put in a little work.

A lot of companies that make and sell baby equipment offer discounts for new or first-time parents, and there are coupon schemes in lots of areas that your healthcare provider should know about. Make sure to ask at the earliest opportunity, as different schemes and offers will be available at different points in the pregnancy. Local grocery stores will also have a range of coupons, and you can sign up online to receive coupons from companies you want to buy from. Get as many as you can – every little helps! 

It’s not always possible for new mothers to breastfeed, and breastfeeding twins can be especially challenging, but it will certainly help reduce feeding costs. Formula isn’t cheap, and you’ll need a lot of it, so even if you’re able to breastfeed only some of the time, it will help keep costs down. As your babies get older, you may also want to think about making your own baby food. All you need is a food processor and a few recipes. You can freeze any leftovers, too.

While there are some baby items you should always buy new, you can save a lot of money by getting some stuff secondhand, especially clothing. Babies don’t actually need cute stuff like baby bows and frills. They’re fine in plain rompers. You can also ask friends, family, and neighbors who might have older children, but still have some baby stuff lying around. We’re sure they’d be happy to get rid of the excess clutter! Just make sure that any clothing you buy secondhand is clean before putting it on your baby, and that you’ve tested any secondhand equipment for safety.

Spending smart

It’s a fact of life that babies need a lot of stuff, but they don’t need everything at once. Spread the cost of your twins by taking into consideration not only what they need, but when they’ll need it. As an example, your babies won’t be able to sit upright in a high chair for several months, so don’t buy one until just before they reach that point. You also won’t need a crib right away, much as it might look cute in the nursery. Your babies will be just fine in a bassinet while they’re tiny.

You also need to consider what equipment it’s essential to spend money on, while you can save a ton of cash on things such as clothing, as well as others you need to invest in, such as car seats and cribs. You need something robust and safe, so save elsewhere if you need to, so you can splash out on these items.