Author Topic: I have twins on the way - any recommendations to keep the cost down?  (Read 7482 times)

Acg

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I'm going to be a first time dad and my wife is due with twins this summer.  I'm a little nervous about the cost associated with it.  What can I do to lower the cost of twins?  Does anybody have any "hacks"?  Thanks.

lakemom

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Re: I have twins on the way - any recommendations to keep the cost down?
« Reply #1 on: January 25, 2015, 05:13:51 AM »
Right now, make sure she does everything the doctors/midwives are recommending.  The longer she carries them the less likely they will be to need to have an extended hospital stay and the less likely they are to have long-term healthcare needs.  So, eat plenty of protein and a varied diet, get a moderate amount of exercise (walk daily) up until she's too big to move. Those kinds of taking care of your self.  Do some research in your area and find out if there are any healthcare providers that specialize in natural delivery of twins and explore that route.  It seems like the default is scheduled c-sec. with twins these day.

After they are born remember you don't actually need two of everything.  More clothes than just for a single, but not 2X as many just do laundry daily.  2 cribs....not until they are 4+ months old, until then they can share a single crib. 

Accept all the help that is offered especially for the first few months.  Its going to take all your energy just to keep the babies fed and happy so all the help you can get with other chores during the early going will be priceless.  Towards the end of the pg send out a call for freezer meals (through your church, social circle, and families) so cooking is taken care of.

After she has her baby shower (if this is done in your social circles) think carefully about how many of the items you really need (clothing especially you will get tons of super cute newborn outfits but they grow of them so fast that exchanging for the next size up is a good plan) and exchange the rest for things you do need. 

Think used/used/used for most baby equipment because soooo many people either overbuy or have 1 child and their baby things are practically new when they are done with them.  My personal exception is carseats...buy those new.  To go along with that, don't buy every item (or register) you think you might need (bouncy seat, bumbo seat, etc., etc.) but wait and see how you get along with minimal items then purchase things as you need them particularly if you live in a small space. 

Pop into the mini money mustache forum and search for threads on needed baby items...you will glean lots of ideas from them.

Finally, congrats!!!!  They will be amazing and the center of your life.

justajane

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Re: I have twins on the way - any recommendations to keep the cost down?
« Reply #2 on: January 25, 2015, 07:01:58 AM »
If they are going to be in daycare, start your research now to find a place that offers the best second child discount.

You didn't mention the gender, but if they are the same, don't get caught up in making them all matchy matchy. This is also the case with cribs and whatever else you need. This will save you a ton.

Do you make less than $44,000 (gross)? Just checking, because if so, you qualify for WIC with a family of four. :) We had good friends who had surprise twins for the third and four. He is a doctor (a resident at the time), and they were only a few thousands dollars over the number for a family of six. It turns out his wife's freelance work worked against them that year. Since they exclusively used formula for all their kids, this was frustrating at the time.

Let people know that you LOVE diapers as gifts. You'll be going through a lot of them. Start following the baby deal sites and buy ahead if they drop below 12 cents each. 1 cent each for baby wipes.


Yankuba

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Re: I have twins on the way - any recommendations to keep the cost down?
« Reply #3 on: January 25, 2015, 07:27:25 AM »
I recommend the book Baby Bargains if you don't already have it.

tracylayton

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Re: I have twins on the way - any recommendations to keep the cost down?
« Reply #4 on: January 25, 2015, 07:36:09 AM »
If your wife can breastfeed, you'll save a small fortune on formula. Plus it's great for their immune systems.

Noodle

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Re: I have twins on the way - any recommendations to keep the cost down?
« Reply #5 on: January 25, 2015, 07:43:40 AM »
You didn't mention the gender, but if they are the same, don't get caught up in making them all matchy matchy. This is also the case with cribs and whatever else you need. This will save you a ton.

We have twins in the extended family, and their mom found that once the kids noticed what they were wearing, it saved a lot of trouble to have similar outfits because it cut down on the fighting over who got to wear the butterfly shirt that day. But yeah, when they're too little to notice, don't spend money on it.

Overall, I have three pieces of advice which may trickle down to affecting spending:

1. You get to do whatever it takes to keep everyone alive (and your marriage intact) for the first year, without shame. If feeding formula, operating on a strict schedule instead of feeding on demand, and using disposable diapers keep you functioning, have at it. There's a reason sleep deprivation is used as torture, and you will not be sleeping much.

2. You also get to try what suits your family, even if everyone says it's a terrible idea. My cousin breastfed twins and then went back to work afterwards, with the kids in daycare, even though a lot of people told her she couldn't do either of those things.

3. This one actually is financial...do as much as you can ahead of time--not just baby stuff like researching diaper and formula costs, but anything you can foresee coming up the first year--vet appointments, car maintenance, fixing stuff around the house, etc. When the sleep deprivation kicks in, you will be very tempted to either spend what it takes to fix the problem, or to ignore the problem until it suddenly gets a lot more expensive.

Good luck and enjoy the adventure...

justajane

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Re: I have twins on the way - any recommendations to keep the cost down?
« Reply #6 on: January 25, 2015, 08:09:28 AM »
If your wife can breastfeed, you'll save a small fortune on formula. Plus it's great for their immune systems.

It can also put a ton of pressure on the mom early on, especially the expectation to breastfeed 100%. It's hard enough breastfeeding one - imagine how much water you would have to drink to maintain a supply for two! I'm not saying it isn't possible, but the parents should cut themselves some slack and definitely be open to supplementation or even just formula. Another good friend of mine with twins fed them 75% breastmilk and 25% formula, and she is a rock star in my book!

La Bibliotecaria Feroz

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Re: I have twins on the way - any recommendations to keep the cost down?
« Reply #7 on: January 25, 2015, 08:24:36 AM »
I had "twiblings"--sixteen months apart--who were both cloth diapered. Same thing as with clothes--you don't need two full sets if you go this route, more like one and a half. It is not, of course, all of nothing--you could do one kid a day or something :-).

If you need formula, Costco has the best prices. But their disposable diapers cost more than Target brand (Up and Up) or Walmart (Parents Choice).

Get on Freecycle NOW. Good baby stuff--clothes, bouncers, bassinets, etc.--comes up on their sometimes. I scored a bassinet and a very nice diaper backpack, myself.

To get a good deal on a secondhand double stroller, get on Craigslist now. If you don't find one in the next couple of months, one of you might have to volunteer at a spring consignment sale (generally held in late February into April, depending on the sale). Often, these big semiannual sales let volunteers in early to have first pick of everything.

Congrats and good luck!

Good luck and congrats!

Godsowndrunk

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Re: I have twins on the way - any recommendations to keep the cost down?
« Reply #8 on: January 25, 2015, 08:34:43 AM »
Congratulations and Welcome to the club!  My wife gave birth to our twins 4 months ago.  The advice so far is perfect: 
1. hope they stay in as long as possible (towards the end this got hard for both of us- but every extra day counts).
Echoing the others:
Buying stuff:  You don't need much.  Find a "mothers of multiples" group in your area- great advice and lots of buying, selling, trading of used gear.  Don't buy two of anything at first.  The babies will have their own taste and preferences.  Don't buy anything new- they outgrow way before the use something up.
Feeding:  Give breast feeding support as much as you can- be home, be awake, hand her water and cookies, go away when told,  etc.  If you don't feel like a man-servant, you're not doing it right!  It's really hard with twins, especially if they come a little early.  Have realistic expectations too- very few twin moms do it exclusively.  Formula is expensive- go generic if you can, it's all the same.  Sign up for the coupons of both formula companies, then you can trade the coupons with others. 
Diapers:  take a hard look at cloth diapers.  The low tech prefolds, and some covers work great for us.  www.Greenmountaindiapers.com has great info, though is a little disorganized.  A toilet sprayer is key.  I think the laundry is easier with twins because you will generate enough diapers to do a load each day, so nothing is festering in the diaper pail too long.
Do the math on two incomes- I was surprised at how easy it is to spend much of the second income on daycare, taxes, and other services to support the household.  There is probably still a premium to have a stay at home parent, but it's likely the most bang for your buck in terms of buying happiness!
« Last Edit: January 25, 2015, 08:57:48 AM by Godsowndrunk »

Learner

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Re: I have twins on the way - any recommendations to keep the cost down?
« Reply #9 on: January 25, 2015, 09:10:36 AM »
We have three-year-old boy/girl twins.  Thankfully we live in Canada so I was able to take several months of parental leave to help out.  They were average sleepers each, but they often had completely different schedules.  I think we had plenty of good and bad, most of which are mentioned in some form above.

Ours were born at 35w 6d, which in our area meant automatically going into the NICU.  They were both about 5.5 lbs.  The NICU time was really hard on my wife, because she just wanted to have them at home.  Most of the my time was spent changing diapers and preparing (lots) of food.  My mother-in-law was able to visit for a few weeks as well, which helped a ton.  My wife breastfed, so that and sleep was all she did.  We focused on everything else so hath at she had the energy for that.  Preparing freezer meals and easy snacks in advance was a huge help.

Initially we tried putting them in the same crib (they easily fit), but we soon found that they didn't sleep great (read: at all) like that, so we ended up moving the crib beside the bed and taking off a side.  Stuffed the minor gaps with towels and used that as a co-sleeping solution.  Night time was normally me changing them and mummy nursing.

In terms of buying stuff, definitely wait on any major things, and get the vast majority used if you can.  Our area has used kids thrift sales in spring and fall, you can save a bundle there.  We opted to have almost all clothes as gender-neutral colors.  Unless you have a small warehouse of a residence, avoid buying toys as much as possible, what fits in a shoe box will be more than enough.  It will save your sanity from constantly cleaning and trying to pack everything when it gets messed up.  We lost a bunch on things we bought new (in double, yikes), but the stuff we got at the thrift sale was mostly cost-neutral.  Some things we made a bit.  Mostly I view buying used as renting, but if the kids ruin it, I lose my "damage deposit".

We found that disposable diapers were "essential" when they were sub-7 lbs, because it lasts for such a short time that the cloth diapers weren't really worth it.  After than, we used cloth - pre-folds and covers worked well for us.  My preference is to have all the same type so that you're not trying to mix and match different styles, especially when you are sleep-deprived.  We made a bit of a mistake there and bought a mix of different styles.  I've heard that some stores have a form of diaper-testing system that allows you to try out different fits, etc.  This would be great to find out what works for you before committing to the buy.  Cloth diapering isn't bad laundry-wise, but be sure to read up on the major issues, such as using different detergent to avoid building up water repellency.

Good luck!  One of your great benefits is that your minions will always have a playmate.

Learner

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Re: I have twins on the way - any recommendations to keep the cost down?
« Reply #10 on: January 25, 2015, 09:14:44 AM »
Oh, something I forgot.  If your wife is planning the breast feeding route, there is something called "La Leche League" or something like that that she may find useful.  From what I understand, it's basically a peer-support and information group. 

Regarding breastfeeding, my wife really recommends reading Dr Jack Newman (you can find him on Facebook).  He has extensive research on it.

pagoconcheques

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Re: I have twins on the way - any recommendations to keep the cost down?
« Reply #11 on: January 25, 2015, 10:08:20 AM »
You'll do fine if you follow the advice above.  As with all things related to compounding, start the college savings early. 

As an adult twin who grew up in a neighborhood with a strangely high number of twins, I suggest avoiding the matching names and outfits.  Always refer to them by their names and never as "the twins".  These things matter more when they are older, but get in the habit now. 

olivia

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Re: I have twins on the way - any recommendations to keep the cost down?
« Reply #12 on: January 25, 2015, 10:30:29 AM »
You'll do fine if you follow the advice above.  As with all things related to compounding, start the college savings early. 

As an adult twin who grew up in a neighborhood with a strangely high number of twins, I suggest avoiding the matching names and outfits.  Always refer to them by their names and never as "the twins".  These things matter more when they are older, but get in the habit now.

Ditto this-I'm another adult twin and my parents made sure not to dress us in matching clothes (with a few exceptions, but then in different colors), we were put in separate classrooms, they made sure we had our own friends and interests, etc.  Some of them naturally overlapped, but we were different people and they encouraged that.

greenmimama

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Re: I have twins on the way - any recommendations to keep the cost down?
« Reply #13 on: January 25, 2015, 10:39:14 AM »
We didn't have twins but we do have 3 boys, so in my experience, Less is more, really!

If you are registering somewhere be sure it's at a place with an excellent return policy, (not Target) Because you might still get 2 or 3 of things and need to return them, then you can pool the money for carseats or something else no one wants to buy you but you still need.

Mention to your families that you would really appreciate them pooling their money to get you carseats, a very needed item, and expensive, please do your research on these and don't buy them because they have a cute print.

Get a nice, not necessarily expensive side by side stroller, that pushes really easily, it does everyone good to get out and get some fresh air, and having a way to easily do that is key!!

Check around and get a carrier so you can wear one baby at a time, check out the Moby, or Katan, should be able to pick them up used, after they are a bit older, check out the Ergo, it is such a great carrier, it doesn't hurt my back, it easily and quickly adjusts so that my DH or I can pop it on, and all of our kids enjoyed it, please don't be fooled by the Baby Bjorn that everyone seems so hot on, those things are expensive crap, and not good for the baby to be held that way.

We never owned a swing,, or bouncy seat, or lots and lots of other baby paraphernalia, We had a small house at the time and I didn't want it all cluttering up my living room, we did borrow a few things to see if our kids liked them and they didn't even care for a swing, so I am glad we didn't buy one. 

We used cloth diapers, and they can save quite a bit of money, check out BumGenus Flip system, and just put a tri folded prefold in there for the absorbant layer, they work great and they are one size so they will grow with them, they should start fitting them well around 10ish pounds depending on their shape. I used to teach cloth diapering classes, feel free to PM me any questions you may have, I  personally would use sposies for the first few months.

I would just not buy things unless you really find that you need them, their are plenty of 24 hour places open :)

Congrats on your twins!

chouchouu

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Re: I have twins on the way - any recommendations to keep the cost down?
« Reply #14 on: January 26, 2015, 06:33:42 PM »
Congrats! I'm a twin myself and have twins who are about to turn three. The best advice I received is that the shops will always be open, so you can always pick up stuff after they are born. Coming home from hospital you'll just need to have the basics covered, a crib, feeding and clothes. On your other thread you mentioned you live in NYC. I would suggest an ikea crib. They're small and light so can be easily moved around and you can adjust the height of the mattress. Initially we had their crib next to our bed with the mattress raised. So the mattress sat flush with our bed and made it easy for midnight feeds. Now that they're toddlers we lowered the mattress and took one side off, perfect for small apartments! One thing I think is good from the beginning is a twin breastfeeding pillow. I used the hospital pillows in the beginning and it was hard to get comfortable and they were constantly rolling off, once I had my twin feeding pillow it was much nicer and my husband used it for bottle feeding too. I ended up using formula, expressing and breastfeeding. It was awful and exhausting and I wish I had switched to formula earlier, I just had so much guilt but in hindsight I would have enjoyed the newborn stage much more if I had been easier on myself.

Another thing is get a decent stroller. You need pneumatic tires because two babies get very heavy, very fast. In this way a stroller is like a bike, the Walmart crap isn't going to hack daily use for two plus years. I've heard good things about the babyjogger mini GT (it has a one strp fold)but a good idea would be to ask people with similar lifestyles to you at your local twin group. Baby gizmo has video reviews of strollers which is very handy. Also check that the stroller is repairable, that you can get replacement parts and keep the warranty information and make copies as receipts can fade.

With feeding Americans can often get hospital grade breast pumps through their insurance, this is a lifesaver! When you have twins every extra bit of sleep you can get is gold, so the hospital grade pump is heaven sent. Another thing I liked is a formula dispenser. These cost $2 at the drug store and you pre measure the formula into compartments. This is handy for going out (I pre measured water into bottles too) so I add the formula and shake. I also used this for midnight feeds and had the bottles prepped next to my bed. A second twin hack is you can keep pre made bottles for 24 hours in the fridge. I'd have a shelf stacked with a dozen bottles, boil water and submerge the bottles in a cup of the boiling water, sit for a minute or so, shake to even the temp and feed the baby. I had about 30 or more bottles on rotation but I had colicky babies so needed clean available bottles constantly along with bottles for storing breastmilk.

With clothes my girls wore sleepsuits for the first six months. No having to worry about socks falling off or scratching themselves (get ones with fold over mittens and buttons/zipper at the front)

Also don't be afraid to ask for help and if someone offers roster them on, having twins is crazy the first few months and you'll wonder if you can ever sleep again. It gets better around three months but unless your superman/woman most people need help. Good luck!

chouchouu

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Re: I have twins on the way - any recommendations to keep the cost down?
« Reply #15 on: January 26, 2015, 06:42:57 PM »
Also I really like MMM advice about using craiglist to "rent" your goods. If you buy something second hand from craiglist and take good care of it you can always sell it back for similar to what you paid. You can also see how well things hold up by perusing Craigslist. Take note of which brands are still selling despite being several years old. Also don't be afraid of the old stuff, we bought a second hand baby Bjorn bouncer, the cover is washable but that thing was worth its weight in gold and just as good as the newer ones despite the ten year old fabric. We gave it to a friend and its still in use today. If you're buying a second hand stroller just make sure there haven't been any recalls and that the babies can't tip through the top if they're sleeping.

badger1988

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Re: I have twins on the way - any recommendations to keep the cost down?
« Reply #16 on: January 27, 2015, 07:42:05 PM »
Great thread! I'm also a first-time dad expecting twins in July:) Thanks for all the good info.

LeighinCT

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Re: I have twins on the way - any recommendations to keep the cost down?
« Reply #17 on: January 28, 2015, 04:23:28 PM »
Mom of twins here - I would recommend searching out your local Moms of Multiples/Parents of Multiples organization. We are in the metro-NYC area. Our club charges a small annual fee to join (used to be $25/yr). There are monthly meetings, etc. You can join before the babies arrive/when you are expecting multiples. Don't wait until the babies have arrived to seek out your local chapter! The club is a fantastic resource.

But by far the BEST part of membership is the 2x/year Tag Sale! You can sell all your old stuff and pick up new-to-you stuff for a bargain. Our club has a spring sale and a fall sale. In exchange for working 2 hours at the event you get to go in before the doors open to the public. We have bought and sold so many gently used items for a fraction of the cost! Examples of items available: clothes (infant through child sizes), exersaucers, strollers, cribs, bikes, books, toys, nursing pillows, bouncy seats, car seats, booster chairs, high chairs, etc.

I agree with what everyone has said above. If people offer help kindly accept it and tell them "I might not know what I will need help with right now but I will write your name down and contact you once the babies arrive." This way you can keep a running list of people who can help in all sorts of ways.

Don't feel like it has to be all or nothing. If your wife can pump some and bottle feed some then do that. Sleep deprivation truly is a form of torture. Go easy on yourselves.

Remember, the days are long and the years are short. Time will fly! Best wishes!

WESTOFTHEHUDSON

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Re: I have twins on the way - any recommendations to keep the cost down?
« Reply #18 on: January 28, 2015, 05:11:15 PM »
Cloth diapers

Acg

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Re: I have twins on the way - any recommendations to keep the cost down?
« Reply #19 on: July 04, 2015, 03:33:24 PM »
Mom of twins here - I would recommend searching out your local Moms of Multiples/Parents of Multiples organization. We are in the metro-NYC area. Our club charges a small annual fee to join (used to be $25/yr). There are monthly meetings, etc. You can join before the babies arrive/when you are expecting multiples. Don't wait until the babies have arrived to seek out your local chapter! The club is a fantastic resource.

But by far the BEST part of membership is the 2x/year Tag Sale! You can sell all your old stuff and pick up new-to-you stuff for a bargain. Our club has a spring sale and a fall sale. In exchange for working 2 hours at the event you get to go in before the doors open to the public. We have bought and sold so many gently used items for a fraction of the cost! Examples of items available: clothes (infant through child sizes), exersaucers, strollers, cribs, bikes, books, toys, nursing pillows, bouncy seats, car seats, booster chairs, high chairs, etc.

I agree with what everyone has said above. If people offer help kindly accept it and tell them "I might not know what I will need help with right now but I will write your name down and contact you once the babies arrive." This way you can keep a running list of people who can help in all sorts of ways.

Don't feel like it has to be all or nothing. If your wife can pump some and bottle feed some then do that. Sleep deprivation truly is a form of torture. Go easy on yourselves.

Remember, the days are long and the years are short. Time will fly! Best wishes!

This sounds awesome.  Thanks for the idea.  Of course my boys are probably going to come in the next few weeks so im a little late....

Acg

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Re: I have twins on the way - any recommendations to keep the cost down?
« Reply #20 on: July 04, 2015, 03:35:00 PM »
Cloth diapers

I've never changed a diaper before but the thought of 20 dirty cloth diaper per day sounds awful.  No thank you.

Learner

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Re: I have twins on the way - any recommendations to keep the cost down?
« Reply #21 on: July 06, 2015, 07:13:52 PM »
It's not that bad.  Especially when they're little, you just toss them in (the diapers, not the babies, sleep deprivation might cause strange reading).  You only really want to go 2-3 days max anyway.  Saves a huge pile of money.

We actually found with the twins that they generated enough diapers to make doing a load not feel like a waste of time.

MoonShadow

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Re: I have twins on the way - any recommendations to keep the cost down?
« Reply #22 on: July 06, 2015, 07:35:43 PM »
I can say, from personal experience, cloth diapers are not nearly as bad as you would expect.  An airtight diaper pail, and wash a load of diapers every third day or sooner.  They will stain, but they will get sterile/clean with a modern washing machine just fine. Don't worry about that whole 'pre-washing' BS, a modern washing machine is a marvel.

As for saving with twins, I have no actual multiples, but I have two boys that are 11 months apart and who act like fraternal twins do in every respect. We have someone ask us if they are twins at least twice a month.

Bunk beds, for life. Never give them the idea that they will ever have their own bedroom, even if an older sibling has one. Never.  Specificly, I would suggest a sturdy set of bunk beds that can be separated into two matching twin beds.  This makes them more useful if/when one or both leave the nest.  If they leave, they can keep their beds without being tied at the hip.  If they go different directions, and one needs the bed and the other doesn't; keep one bunk at your house ready for visits or 'boomerang babies'.

Zamboni

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Re: I have twins on the way - any recommendations to keep the cost down?
« Reply #23 on: July 06, 2015, 09:21:25 PM »
Find and join the local twins and triplets club (sometimes referred to as mothers of multiples) as soon as possible.  Many groups have outreach sessions at meetings for expectant moms and new moms, so it's not too soon to join. Some have members only message boards with tips on good local deals/freebies, want ads for used stuff, tips for favorite local pediatricians, etc.  Well worth the membership fee.

Many twins clubs have annual or semi-annual clothing and equipment sales.  These are great for scoring bargains for yourself and then selling the clothing that gets too small/cribs/strollers/toys to earn some extra cash later.

Flyingkea

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Re: I have twins on the way - any recommendations to keep the cost down?
« Reply #24 on: July 09, 2015, 12:57:45 AM »
I don't have twins, but I have used cloth nappies - we went the terry toweling route. In all honesty it goes - turds down the loo with the liner, toss the nappy into a bucket. When bucket full throw entire thing into washing machine for a cold wash. Then hang them out in the sun, it bleaches them, and usually dries them quickly.
It does involve folding them, but when you get practiced, its quick and easy.