Author Topic: TWINS! How to budget?  (Read 1461 times)

MountainTown

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TWINS! How to budget?
« on: March 29, 2020, 10:41:19 PM »
Hi,

I'm worried I'm going to get slammed for this question but here goes...

My wife and I are expecting two baby boys(twins) this summer. My wife seriously seriously wants to buy a house now. I can't disagree that our place is a bit tight...though I think we could hold out. But it's pretty non-negotiable for her so we are shopping. My area has rapidly appreciate and outpaced salary pretty quickly. I think the median is around 315 or 320 now.

So...ideally, for the location and stock we want, we would put ourselves into a 330 to 355k range. With our estimated 20% down payment that puts us around 1700 to 1900 a month on the total PITI. I have figured child care will be about 1600 to 1800 a month. My budgeting right now is really kind of chill in that basically I just max out my retirement accounts and try to enjoy the rest.

One way I've approached it is that I have sorta accepted that one or two of these accounts is just not going to get max out anymore..and I'm okay with that. I still want to save and save towards FI but ultimately I want to enjoy life more and have a nice home for our family. I don't want to be stupid and still want to have margin in our lives....but our 40 to 50% savings rate has wore on our marriage at times and my wife perceives me as being too focused on money.

This all to say: Any guidelines on how much I can expect our monthly expenses to go up? As I said, childcare stuff is predictable...but I'm struggling to really grasp how much our food, medical, diaper, miscellaneous toy stuff, etc will go up. I know some people may say "Well it depends on you" and I get that but I guess I'm just looking for some rough guidelines.

Currently we make 130k year. Both work. No debt. We max out about $50k in retirement savings. I don't have a great record of what we save after that because we had some pretty big lumpy expenses this last year. For an FYI, our NW is now around 385....it was at 495 LOL.

When I look at houses I am looking at best case scenario 1300 a month and if we stretch, 1800 a month. I'm trying to figure out if the 1800 a month would really be tight or not. We could find something in the 1300 range but these tend to be less desirable for one reason or another. Our down payment is about $70 to $80k in cash.

One way I 've approached this is to just look at my retirement savings. For example, I know that childcare expenses will basically wipe out one 401k max/out. So if I take that out....we're still fine and if I add $1000 a month to our housing expenses...that just means we can max out our IRA's....still saving at least $19k a year so not bad. What I struggle with is ....how much more will the day to day be?

chemistk

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Re: TWINS! How to budget?
« Reply #1 on: March 30, 2020, 06:39:13 AM »
Man, what a time to pose this question. I don't have multiples, but I do have 3 boys under 5.

First thing - I'd be really, really flexible about buying a house anytime soon. Infants take up such a small amount of space, it would feel cramped for a bit but wherever you're living is probably just fine until the babies become mobile. If I took everything baby/toddler related we owned (toys notwithstanding), it would take up about as much absolute floor space as a queen sized bed. Bouncy seat, pack n play, crib, clothes, diapering supplies, carseat, etc. A lot of that ends up getting stashed away, too, so you end up with very little visible if you're diligent about keeping things clean. I bring this up, because your wife is nesting right now (maybe you're already aware) and having watched my wife 'nest' 3x now, the urge to create what is perceived as the ideal environment for babies is insanely powerful.

I bring the above point up because you might be better advised to wait a few months after the babies are born before you commit to purchasing new digs. With the economy as it currently is, who knows what home prices are going to do in the next few months. I know I'd hate to take a 20% haircut on my house's value if I bought and home prices in the area immediately tanked. Not to mention, it's just plain difficult to move the home-buying process along right now. At least where we are, there are no open houses, no visits to the realtor, limited notary access, bank visit by appointment, no guarantee of the availability of an inspector, etc.

How your budgets fall is all relative - you and your wife are the ones who have to strike a balance between saving and building the life you're both happy with. Don't look too far ahead when planning though, because things change fast.

To address your other point: you're going to hate this, but it depends on your situation. Are you doing cloth or disposable diapers? Does your wife plan to nurse/pump or are you going with formula (and have you considered that even if you do want to BF, it just might not work)? What type of stroller do you want? Are each of the kiddos getting their own wardrobe (assuming same gender?).

For us, we spend about $100 a month on diapers and formula for our infant (just about 5mo.). If he were our first, I'd also say expect another $50-$100 on clothes every 2 months depending on how fast they grow. The rest of the supplies are all one-time expenses. You do not need to buy anything more than what the babies need currently. By this, I mean don't go and buy your strollers, bouncy seats, high chairs, jumpers, toys, clothes for next season, etc. because you'll never touch half of it or when it's time to use it, it won't work for you.
« Last Edit: March 30, 2020, 08:59:55 AM by chemistk »

ReadySetMillionaire

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Re: TWINS! How to budget?
« Reply #2 on: March 30, 2020, 08:21:27 AM »
First, I'm a twin, and being a twin is one of the greatest joys of my life.  Congrats -- your boys will have a special, special relationship.

Second, I agree that I would not be too worried about space just yet.  I have a one year old and infants take up almost nothing unless you let them.

Third, I disagree with putting 20% down with today's stupidly low rates.  My wife and I just bought a house for $285,000.  We only put 5% down (about $14,000) and our PMI is just $62/month.  Crazy, crazy low PMI rate now because rates are so low.  I know PMI is a waste of money, but I view it is a temporary extra tenth of a percent of interest that lets me hold onto way more cash. And cash is king, as this recent economic struggle shows. 

Fourth, the vibe I get from your post is that your wife wants to move before kids?  Is that it?  To me that's a false deadline. Again, I just moved with a one year old.  You just let the grandparents (or whoever) watch them for a day or two while you move.  And you pack when they go to bed.  Yes, moving with newborns would be hard, but it's not rationale to think you absolutely NEED your "forever" home before you have kids.

Fifth, regarding expenses, there is a good mortgage calculator on DinkyTown that has all expenses included (PMI, real estate taxes, etc.).  Search for that.  The only expenses that go up are gas and electric, and that's hard to estimate.  I added $200/month to our budget just as an overly cautious guesstimate.

Sixth, I'd just be super wary to move in this economy.  We have no idea what's going on right now.  You might have your job right now, and you might be essential, but I think it's very dangerous to just assume things will go on.  States are cutting budgets left and right.  Companies are going out of business.  I'd be very wary to increase my expenses during the middle of all of this.

Captain FIRE

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Re: TWINS! How to budget?
« Reply #3 on: March 30, 2020, 10:02:08 AM »
Is the daycare cost a guess or based on confirmed slots?  At my daycare, it's $2587 for one infant, 10% off the second.

Be aware that your plans are just that - plans.  I planned to exclusively breastfeed, but after not being able to even hold my baby for 24 hours after birth and a 12 day NICU stay, that became a huge struggle.  Your mileage will also greatly vary based on what you can source for free or cheap, your priorities/personal situation (some items you'll want 2 of for twins but many you can get away with 1), what your babies like/dislike, etc.

From prior posts with a bit of editing:

Diaper Costs, YMMV:
8 lbs, 6 oz baby
2 weeks at the hospital + 162 newborn diapers
595 Size 1 diapers
186 Size 2 (this clearly undercounts, I must have traded some size 1 diapers at Toys R Us or something)
512 Size 3
1866 Size 4
356 Size 5  

Holy crap, I just totaled it all up.  We are mustachian lite, but I've tended to be looser w/regards to my kid due to convenience factors.  I didn't quite realize how loose I'd gotten...

First, we were hugely blessed by our friends and family.  As the last in our circles to have kids, our friends couldn't get rid of their baby stuff fast enough by jamming it in our car when we were over their houses for dinner.  We took almost everything, and decided later if we should keep or pass it on.  I've only listed items we kept for a while.  They have only asked that we pass this on (friend or charity) rather than resell.  All the things we didn't buy (many things are conveniences rather than required):
  • Given used: Crib, mattress, 5 baby carriers, tons of toys (cars to play kitchen), clothes, infant car seat & stroller, stroller, breast feeding pillows & covers, breast pump supplies, baby tub, bassinet, changing table, mattresses & covers, travel high chair, play mat, baby playpen gates, dishwasher baskets, sound machine
  • Gifted new: diaper pail, rock and play, pack and play (used as the crib for a year after bassinet plus for travel), changing table cover, plastic bibs, cabinet locks, boon mat, many books, jumper, floor mat, diapers, monitor, diaper bag, baby gates, high chair, bottles, hamper, a million baby towels, stuffed animals, loveys, sophie, wipe dispensers, reusauble pouch kits, swim gear, dishwasher basket, night light, humidifier, gift cards, amazon prime year
  • Handmade (by me or gifts): Blankets, bibs, burp cloths, nursing cover, baby towel
Note: Some duplicates as we were gifted item after we already had an item (e.g. gifted a travel high chair well after we were given a new high chair for home, so we couldn't just use the travel one at home as the regular chair; or I handmade a personalized baby towel before we were given a bunch).

That said, I'm still horrified to tally up costs for 1.5 years as:
Breastfeeding supplies   $89
Formula   $984
Eating (bottles, snack catcher, lunch bag, teethers)   $121
Binkies   $30
Diapers   $590
Wipes   $111
Diaper cream   $166
Dekor Refills   $60
Sheets   $30
Clothes   $111
Babyproofing house (many indoor gates, outdoor gate, stove knob covers, toilet seat latches, edge bumpers, outlet covers, tv strap etc.)   $315
Travel gear (travel car seat, home car seat, stroller etc)   $509
Water gear (shoes, reusable water diapers, life jackets, swimsuit)   $71
Sunscreen   $67
Books   $73
Toys   $208
Medicine   $51
Other   $107
Total: $3,693

Subtracting out the consumable items (formula, diapers, wipes, diaper cream) it's: $1,842, or $1228 annually

A few minor notes:
- We spent a lot on diaper cream due to rashes until our dr told us to use a mixture of a little bit of vinegar in a bowl of water.  Stopped his diaper rashes cold.
- If I don't have a friend to pass items onto, I'll try to resell some of the new items to recoup some costs.  As requested, we'll give any used gifted items to friends or charity.
- Daycare requires us to supply sunscreen (and diaper cream) for them to apply daily (though we overbought due to a subscribe and save issue).  You might similarly be required to provide some supplies like this daily.

Tips:
- Accept everything you are given.  People want to help you/want stuff out of the house.  If they know you're an easy accept they'll think of you more often than if you are picky.
- Look to buy used when possible.  I could have saved more if I opted to buy more used things (e.g. book category is a lot because we prioritize reading & I wanted specific books on biting, sharing, tactile ones, etc. and didn't want to hunt through yard sales).  It takes time, however, so after the baby is here it's harder to do this.
- Research NOW.  As mentioned above, you pay more for convenience/speed post-baby.  Even if you hold off buying till the babies are there and you decide you do need it, you'll at least know what you want and won't make a panicked overpriced buy.
- Resell what you can to recoup costs
- Avoid unnecessary things.  We wouldn't have bought a dishwasher container for bottle parts on our own.  Skip cutesy baby dťcor that doesn't fit long, etc.
- Read babybargains (available online though the book is admittedly easier to navigate) to figure out where  you want to splurge/what you can avoid buying at all.
- Return items that aren't so useful if you can (e.g. your friend/family won't ask you where it is, store will accept it...)
- If you are given a new item you can't return, consider regifting.  That's what we did with the many baby towels.
- Make what you can

If you have questions about specific items, as to the value for them, ask and we'll share our experiences and if there is a way to hack around it.  E.g. my friends with twins in a small apartment still found it so useful to have a swing they had 2 to use them same time...but some kids don't like them much.

We're expecting our second shortly.  We're not buying anything in advance, except maybe a package of formula for COVID-19 fears that we might not be able to get it if we need it when we need it.  We'll probably replace the baby monitors as they no longer work, but otherwise we're good.  So kid 2 will likely very low cost beyond consumables for year 1-2.  She won't care her clothes are all hand-me-down from boys (and as the sole and likely last granddaughter on both sides, might possibly get some clothing gifts.  Pre covid-19 we had also talking about trading some clothes with explicit gender references with friends whose kids genders are reversed.)

Luz

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Re: TWINS! How to budget?
« Reply #4 on: March 30, 2020, 03:09:05 PM »
With a singleton, these were our increased costs for the first year (we're mustachian by necessity):

-Housing $120 (stayed in 1 bedroom, but kept the house a little cooler)
-Laundry $125 (extra load of laundry twice a month)
-Food $250 ($10/week to get puree ingredients for 6-12 months)
-Transport $0 (kept our 1 car)
-Child care $0 (I stay home)
-Heath Care (out of pocket) $7,500
---$4,050 for birth including doula, childbirth/infant care/cpr classes
---$2,000 for pregnancy complications and infant health issues (nothing serious, but still costly)
---$1,450 for therapist specializing in the perinatal period (my best purchase and such a great investment in my mental health as a mother and my husband and I's relationship as parents- highly recommended!)
-Health Insurance $0 (remained the same)
-Misc $1,715  ($360 pregnancy, $50 postpartum supplies, $705 monthly supplies, $600 gear)
-Activities $75 (membership to mom's group and related discounted activities to the zoo/museum or potluck items brought to playgroup)
-College Savings $0

The categories were based on the following article (I wanted to compare our situation): https://www.nerdwallet.com/blog/insurance/cost-of-raising-baby/

We're hoping to move to a bigger place this summer before #2 is born. Our first's nursery was the walk-in closet for her first 2 years of life. It was fine, but sticking the baby in a walk-in and the toddler in her own room will be helpful for everyone's sleep. I'll do another load of laundry per week once #2 arrives. We'll get a bigger car if we have a third (our current one is 2 doors and won't fit 3 carseats). Monthly supplies will hopefully be just a little more with 2 since we're planning to potty train our first before the second's birth. We've spent little in gear and pregnancy supplies for #2 (though the same in postpartum supplies) because we already had most of it. I've bought some toddler things (potty, booster seat for table) so the baby can have the old stuff.  Grocery bill has gone up about $15-20 per week since the baby became a toddler/I got pregnant (she eats a lot and so do I because I'm chasing her around and burning calories). Our toddler has been pretty healthy after those first few months of health issues. But we went to urgent care once for a possible ear infection (it was just teething) and it cost us $400. Thankfully, there haven't been other trips besides well visits thus far.

For pregnancy/postpartum/monthly supplies and gear (some of which was from our registry or bought secondhand), here is my list:

Pregnancy/Postpartum
3 Nursing Bras
2 Sports Bras
4 Stretchy Camisoles
Maternity Clothing (leggings, maxi skirt, 4 dresses, 4 shirts, sweater)
Bella Band
TED Hose
Peri Bottle
Rice Socks
2 Pillows/Pillowcases
Graduated Compression Shorts
Waterproof Mattress Cover
------
Prenatal Vitamins
Stretch Cream
Witch Hazel
Epsom Salt
Diapers/Pads
Colace
Lemon essential oil for delivery

Sleeping
Crib/Mattress
2 Waterproof Covers/2 Sheets
2 Fleece Wearable blanket sm/med 0-6ish months, early walker xlg 12m
White Noise (2)
Monitor
Black Out Blinds
Soft Reading Light

Feeding
Breast Pads x 2 sets
Burp Cloths
Brest Friend Nursing Pillow
2 Bottles (0-3, 3-6, 6+ nipple flows)
Breast Pump/Extra Set Parts/Hands Free Bra
Nipple Shields
Baby Scale
Comfy Chair/Foot Rest
------
High chair 
2 Apron Bibs
2 Forks/Spoons, Soft Cup
2 Straw Sippy Cups
Splat Mat
Steamer Basket/Ice Tray

Changing
Pad/Cover/Liners
Hairdryer
Drying rack

Bathing
Hooded Towels (2)
Washcloths (10)
Bathing Sponge in place of baby bath

Medicine Cabinet
Clippers
Thermometer
Tylenol/Syringes
Aspirator/Saline
Silicone Teethers
Outlet covers/Cabinet locks
Vit D drops
Sunscreen
Toothbrush/Paste

Supplies
Baby Wash
Baby Balm
Diapers/Wipes

Clothes
———newborn
3 months: sleepers (14), onesies/bottoms (3), fancy (1)
bibs 0-12 months (7)
sunhat 0-12 months unisex
booties 0-6 months unisex
cardigan 6 months, 18 months
fall beanie and fleece jacket 6 month, 18 month unisex
winter hat and snowsuit 6 month, 18 month unisex
------ mobile
9 m/18 m/3T/5T: pjs (5), outfits (10)-6 dresses, 3 pants/tights, 4 short/2 long sleeved onesies, fancy
Swim diaper + rashguard suit + water shoes (6, 18, 3T…)
Socks (5: 6-12, 7: 1-2/2-4) unisex
soft soled shoe 6-18 months (non-skid/leather) unisex
------ toddler
clothing: see mobile, above
sneakers 18 months unisex
dress sandal 18 months

Going Out/Around the House
Convertible Car Seat
Bouncer Seat
Thick Blanket
Infant Wrap
Baby Carrier
Stroller
Nursing/Car Seat/Shopping Cart/Blanket Cover
Car Shade/Tinting
Pack n Play for travel
Pacifier Clips (to attach toys to baby)
Tote Backpack
Zippered pouches for inside diaper bag

Toys
------ (Infant)
Mobile
Mirror
Links or Manhattan Toy
Crinkle Tags
O Ball
Rattle/Egg Shaker
Indestructible Books
------ (+ Mobile - 24 months)
Doll/House/Accessories
Animals/Characters
Blocks/Stacker/Sorter: Building
Cars/Boats/Trains/Planes
Balls/Gross Motor (balance bike)
Musical
Dress Up
Play Kitchen/Supplies
------ (+ Toddler on)
Puzzles/Books/Tapes/Music/Board Games/Games
Art Material

*Toys are often gifted at birthday/Christmas or found on Facebook marketplace.

It IS very different for everyone, but it would have been so helpful for me to see other people's lists/budget. I second finding a really good kid's consignment store. And aside from your registry, waiting until you need something to buy it (though putting in a little research when you decide to go for it)... and keeping the receipt because your babies might not like it.

The first year can be intense because babies are so needy and you're simultaneously adjusting to a new normal personally and in your marriage. Negotiating a financial approach that works for both of you now may help reduce resentment from either party in the long term.
« Last Edit: March 30, 2020, 03:46:57 PM by Luz »

MountainTown

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Re: TWINS! How to budget?
« Reply #5 on: March 30, 2020, 06:19:57 PM »
Wow thanks so much for the detail!!! Itís going to take awhile to absorb it all. Let me just respond first that I am pretty on board with the argument to not move now. But not wife is seriously not. Like hard on our marriage serious.

I backed out of a few real estate deals two years ago and I think she feels a bit wounded by this. Also...this pandemic is going to make things way more difficult because we both work from home. The one spare room is not a nest and thereís no room to nest because we are both working here. It also just makes me agree with her that...life could get pretty cramped if I am in a stay at home order and she is also home nursing and I have no where to quietly work. My job also requires a bit more security than most and must be totally private even from her.

I would love to be able to convince her to hold...but I really am not succeeding at it and I certainly want her to be happy. If we do stay here I feel it has to be a choice that she really is behind.

And yes taking an immediate hit on our equity terrifies me. Then again...who knows? Iím pretty sure I thought every year prices couldnít get any higher and they did. Exponentially.

Another Reader

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Re: TWINS! How to budget?
« Reply #6 on: March 30, 2020, 06:27:57 PM »
First, congratulations on the twins!

Second, the housing market is going to take a spill.  How bad the fall will be and how long it will last is not yet known.  If you wait 60 days, you will likely have more choices and more negotiating leverage.  You can still be moved in in time for the birth, or not too long after that.  If you buy now, you will almost certainly take a bath on the purchase.  See if she will agree to keep looking while you wait for the market to move in favor of buyers.  And don't be afraid to make low offers, especially as the crisis deepens.  A year from now, you will be glad you did.

Captain FIRE

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Re: TWINS! How to budget?
« Reply #7 on: March 30, 2020, 07:14:09 PM »
Re housing, as an 8 mo pregnant woman myself, let me just put it out there that right now is a terrifying time.  I don't know:
- if there will be a hospital bed for me
- by the time I deliver, if my husband will be permitted in the hospital while I labor
- if I'll have to have a mask on the entire time I'm in labor (it was awful for the ~30 minutes I had to wear an oxygen mask with my prior labor, I can't imagine one on the entire time)
- if I'll get infected before then and pass it to my kid, with unknown impact and/or be quarantined from her at the hospital and not even allowed to hold her
- if I'll get infected at the hospital and pass it on to everyone when I go home
- if I'd be better off switching to a scheduled c-section so I can go early when there is a bed (but potentially risk COVID-19 more, from infection in the operating room to more chance of getting infected the longer I stay)
etc.

I already know my son and the grandparents won't be allowed to visit afterwards, which is really hard.  It's stupid thing to be sad about in light of everything else, but I always loved the sibling photo the hospital bed, and I won't get to have that photo/memory.  And I don't know how my son will be, knowing I'm in the hospital and he can't see me for a few days.

So...there's a lot out there right now that's scary that can't be controlled, some of which you might be worrying about too.  And the nesting urge is strong.  I get it doesn't make sense to move right now, given so much financial uncertainty and likelihood of housing values dropping.  But, be understanding about the impact this pandemic might be having on her that's specific to pregnancy. 
« Last Edit: March 30, 2020, 07:23:44 PM by Captain FIRE »

jafr1284

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Re: TWINS! How to budget?
« Reply #8 on: March 30, 2020, 10:49:57 PM »
Hi I am an identical twin. Any questions about how to raise us send me pm haha. Have fun. P.S. my parents painted our nails to tell us apart but i dont think it worked because the still call us the wrong name all the time.

Noodle

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Re: TWINS! How to budget?
« Reply #9 on: March 31, 2020, 11:37:23 AM »
Congrats on the baberinos. Twins are a boatload of work and also a boatload of fun, based on my family member who has them. In the case of a singleton, especially with economy so unsettled, I would say do everything you can to wait on the house purchase but truthfully--in my observation multiples are so exhausting that I cannot imagine buying a house and moving with infant or toddler twins. Plus if you are hoping for help from extended family you need somewhere to put them. That said, the longer you can hold out the cheaper a house is likely to be (and the clearer you will be on your work situation) so perhaps you can persuade your wife to wait a bit given that you will at least get more for your money. There is a lot to be done aside from actually shopping for a house anyway--getting the financing taken care of, weeding your stuff and starting to pack while your wife can still move around easily, researching schools and neighborhoods, etc.

As for all the other stuff, the people who are saying to wait and see how things actually play out before doing a lot of shopping are right. You will need one of some things and two of some things, and you won't actually know what until you see what the kids do. For instance the twins in my family shared a crib for quite a while (I think that is supposed to be comforting to them and help them sleep, since they are used to company?)

rachelann27

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Re: TWINS! How to budget?
« Reply #10 on: March 31, 2020, 11:44:59 AM »
I had twins this past December, and so far I am honestly surprised at how little we have spent. We have a great support system, and a ton of stuff was given to us. I honestly have only purchased one outfit for them, and it was for their newborn pictures. Since they were born in flu season and now covid 19, we basically haven't left the house, so they are in sleepers most of the time. I just recently switched them out of newborn clothes in 0-3 (they were born six weeks early, so they are tiny), and I was so sad to see how many newborn outfits we never even touched (luckily, like I said, I didn't spend any money on them!)

The biggest expense so far has been formula. I breastfeed and pump, but as they have begun to eat more, I have supplemented just so I am able to get some sleep and skip night time pumping. Once I go back to work, the biggest expense will be childcare. As far as toys, swings, bouncers, etc...the only thing we have needed two of is boppy newborn loungers, as it is a place for them to lay when someone isn't holding them. Don't get two bouncers or swings or anything like that until you know that they both really like being in them. Of course your boys may be different, but my girls have never both wanted to be in our bouncer at the same time, and even when one is in it, it isn't for long. Gift cards to Target and Buy Buy Baby have been the most helpful gift I've received. We were able to purchase things as they came up and we realized we didn't have something.

Most things I have wanted to try out I have been able to find through friends or Facebook Marketplace. It seems like everyone is trying to get rid of baby stuff!

Good luck! The first few months were more difficult and exhausting than I was prepared for, but now we are at about four months, and they are sleeping more, smiling, more alert, and in general just more fun! :)

PMG

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Re: TWINS! How to budget?
« Reply #11 on: March 31, 2020, 11:55:56 AM »
Are you us?

We've got twins due in July.  We bought a house, almost on a whim.  The rental market was empty, and we were in a 1 bedroom 400 square foot that had grown increasingly small when my spouse started a remote job that requires him to work behind a closed door.  The house we bought is still small, about 800 square feet. Two bedroom (one now an office), and we're gonna be a full once the babies get here.

Lots more I could say.  Sharing a lot of the same worries as other posters, such as @Captain FIRE.  thank you @Luz for that amazing list! I think I'll need to come back and reference this thread again.

OP.  Keep talking.  Keep communicating with your spouse.  Listen. Listen. Listen.  I know... I am... freaking out in ways that my spouse doesn't comprehend. Play out the different scenarios with your spouse.  If they are like me, they are needing a lot of reassurance that they will have access to the things they need and a house is feeling like a lot of security. Things are so uncertain right now... I have no answers. 

(I do really wish we hadn't bought, just in case we lose our jobs over this virus.  But... it would have been miserable trying to make us all fit in the old house, especially with me working from home now too.  There are always ways to make do.  But, this new mortgage is very scary right now when everything else scary, too.).

MountainTown

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Re: TWINS! How to budget?
« Reply #12 on: March 31, 2020, 11:11:32 PM »
PMG: Holy cow...we are you! Please you must PM me and we can be FIRE geek twinsy friends. From the sounds of it..you're house purchase was the right move. I think you stayed very conservative in your purchase and like you said making that work in a 1 bedroom house just not possible. I imagine you would have just spent more on rent.

A lot of people have remarked on the housing market...mostly people have weighed in to wait. Honestly it's like preaching to the choir and so I should clarify that what I really need is advice on how to manage my perspective on that with my wife's very different perspective. A lot of people have posted that what she is going through is really hard right now and that's why I want to convey that I get it....it's got to feel terrifying to have all these insane changes in your body, be growing these two little guys in you, putting your body at risk, and all the while just wanting to feel safe and able to make them healthy and strong. So all that being said my gut reaction is to support her in that by going along with what she wants. Mind you...she has put up with me not buying a house for quite some time and feels like she/we are "due" for this purchase. I can't argue with that...and I can't argue with people on the board that say now is a horrible time to buy.

And yet...my opinion on where the housing market was going has been pretty much wrong the last 4 years. While I don't 100% regret not buying, and was able to invest a significant share of money, I must say I certainly didn't predict this continual rapid climb. So even though all this is going on...I have no actual faith in my prediction that THIS will cause it all to drop.

In my community, houses are continuing to go under contract...houses under 350 have back-to-back showings and go in 2 days. Maybe the only glimmer of hope is that this house would have gone in an hour 4 weeks ago and there would have been a bidding war. I have caught wind of one new build dropping about 2%--2%!!

So, isn't it possible that this doesn't crush the housing market? Or that if it does...it is only temporary? I mean it all seems a bit like trying to time the bottom of the stock market. Sometimes you can and sometimes you never invest because you couldn't find the right bottom. I mean to me...my rational thinking is that this is all going down. But like I said I have been wrong a lot here so I have no reason to believe I'm right. So far--I'm not(wish I was!).

Again, my urge, and plea to her is to wait. But it just seems to be killing her inside and that breaks my heart. I want this to be a happy, fun 3rd trimester for her. I know nothing is perfect but I want her to look back on this with fond memories....

frugaldrummer

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Re: TWINS! How to budget?
« Reply #13 on: April 01, 2020, 08:01:52 AM »
Hereís my question(s) for you - can you afford the house if you become the soul breadwinner? And what portion of that 130k income is due to her work?

I ask because many women who think they want to return to work after having a child feel differently after giving birth. Entrusting your infant to a stranger is difficult. And financially it might not actually pencil out to work full time and pay for infant care for two - it might cancel out her take home pay anyway. So I wouldnít make any financial decision that would make the difference between her being able to stay home with the babies if she decides she wants to. One thing they donít tell you about returning to work after giving birth is how difficult it is to function at work when your sleep has been disrupted several times the night before by your babies.

Also - if you usually work from home (instead of temporary pandemic working from home) can you do that work with screaming babies in the background? If not, you will need to consider this in your home purchase.

As for buying baby stuff - most people buy way more crap than they need, and tons of stuff can be purchased used for pennies on the dollar.

wellactually

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Re: TWINS! How to budget?
« Reply #14 on: April 01, 2020, 09:41:26 AM »
I replied to your comment on the other thread, but I can't stay away, I guess!

You waited too long. It sounds like you drug your feet because you didn't want to move or buy or whatever. But it's too late right now. 10% of twins are born before 32 weeks. 20% of twins spend time in the NICU. 50% of twins are born before 36 weeks. You don't have time to search, buy, pack, and move. Especially in the middle of a pandemic. Especially when those babies could come almost any time.

I 100% understand her desire to feel settled. I'm 38 weeks pregnant. It's a very unsettling time. I appreciate that you want to provide for your wife as she is dealing with all this, but the timing doesn't work.

My advice:

  • Apologize. You drug your feet and then the market shifted and a pandemic hit and now you don't have time. Your wife might be more willing to accept that reality if you take ownership over your part in it. You've known you were having twins for awhile and didn't take action and now it's not going to happen.
  • Figure out your other options.
  • Can you put your 2nd bedroom furniture in storage and clear other space and make room for the babies? This is legwork you could do without your wife having to do any extra work.
  • Can you find a bigger rental? Moving is still not something I'd recommend right now, but maybe you can find something a little bigger that you could get into for a year that gives you more room and doesn't require the same search and capital output.

You need to find out exactly how much daycare costs. I have trouble understanding how your home values could cost 350k but daycare for two infants is only 1600-1800. You need to figure out exactly which daycare has room for two infants when you need it and exactly how much that will cost. This is more work you can do without putting more on your wife.

In general, I think 350k is a lot to spend on 130k salary, especially when you have so many unknowns. And it's not like you have the same opportunity as people are describing here of going out and searching the second hand shops to slowly acquire what baby items you need because of the pandemic. You'll probably be paying some premiums. My cousin bought a digital thermometer off my registry for $20 five weeks ago and now it's listed for over $100.

Here are increased costs we considered or factored in to our budgeting with the addition of one baby:

  • Cost of birth: expect about $4k total, have saved that already (and it's close to OOP max just in case something goes wrong)
  • Increased Insurance: will increase premiums by $221/month, somewhat offset by marginal increase in employer HSA contribution
  • Potential unpaid leave: I have no paid parental leave, so we have been keeping an eye on this. Thankfully I've been able to stock up enough sick leave and vacation that I can take 11 weeks off
  • Daycare: I called all the licensed places in town that made sense geographically and got weekly prices. We visited three and picked one. Will be $240/week
  • Recurring Baby Needs: We've budgeted about $100/month here, but I expect we won't feel that for a little bit due to stocking up. Google says diapers for one can cost about $75/month, and about the same for formula if you need/want to go that route. So for twins, maybe $300/month.
  • One time needs: I've borrowed a swing and gotten a ton of hand me downs, but we did buy a new crib and dresser and used glider and cube storage thing. Also bought a rug, car seat, structured carrier, play gym, some boring diaper supplies, and postpartum care items. We didn't attempt extreme frugality and probably spent $1100-$1400 over a few months.

Focus on what you CAN do, which is a lot. Of course your wife feels unsettled, you aren't ready. If you want, keep investigating the home purchase, but absolutely do not delay on getting some things settled now, where you already are.

partgypsy

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Re: TWINS! How to budget?
« Reply #15 on: April 01, 2020, 10:39:40 AM »
I'm going to be a contrarian. Honestly if you can afford it, and you don't care that the house you buy might have a 10-30% decrease in value after you buy it, then buy what you can afford and MOVE. Try to buy on the lower side of budget if possible. If you can afford mortgage based on one salary alone, that is honestly ideal.

before getting house my Mom ALSO waited on my Dad to agree to move. Hence it was Dad, a pregnant Mom and 3 toddlers living in a small apartment. They also waited too long. Moving day was scheduled for after she gave birth. But she was late. They put off moving for 1, 2, 3 days and decided to move. Of course, she ended up going into labor and giving birth on moving day. 

Life is inconvenient. Life is uncertain. I don't think denying your wife and to-be Mom of your kids a little island of certainty (a home to come home to) during a whole mess of uncertainty because of potential non-optimal financial gain, is the right move here!

Ps I'm a twin, and we were born full term. But Ya just never know.
« Last Edit: April 01, 2020, 02:30:52 PM by partgypsy »

SomethingFishy

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Re: TWINS! How to budget?
« Reply #16 on: April 05, 2020, 09:20:34 AM »
First off, congratulations! You are going to have so much fun! Our twins are 13.5 months and they're amazing. Enjoy it. I won't comment on the housing issue, but I can give you real life numbers about the increased cost of twins!

I pulled all of our actual numbers to reply about how costs have changed. As others have mentioned, median gestational age for twins in the US is 36-37 weeks. Ours were born at 31. Our son spent 6.5 weeks in the NICU, our daughter 8. I also had pre-term labor hospitalizations at 27 and 29 weeks. Total cost: we met our $10,800 OOPMax within a month of their birth. We also paid just under $300 for hospital parking and about the same for meals from the hospital cafeteria. MCOL.

We have had a total of six sick child visits for them, at around $160 each. These were in a different calendar year than their birth, so new deductible to meet.

I wanted to breastfeed, but prematurity and complications (I had two surgeries within their first 16 weeks of life) meant that the maximum I ever made was enough for 60% of their needs. We feed bottles for the remainder. We've fed them a total of 9,049 ounces of formula since they came home from the hospital. The first 9 months was special preemie formula, which costs more. Total formula cost to date: $1,927. They're really resisted solids, and due to prematurity our ped has said to give them time, so you can add extra $ for the months worth of solids we've lovingly made and then thrown out when they were refused!

Since coming home from the hospital, we've changed 5,905 diapers. At a cost of about $0.17 a diaper, that's $1,003. Diaper rash paste is $20 a jar, and we've gone through 8, so $160.

The babies had bad reflux. That's common with preemies. They puked constantly. Thus, they go through 2-3 outfits a day, and the quilt they play on to save our carpet has to be changed daily. As a result, we do one extra load of laundry a day. We've also had very non-mustachian family living with us to help. Overall utility expenses are up about $100 a month. No one but me can turn the lights off and several family members insist on running space heaters despite the heat being set to 70! Your costs may not go up as much if you have only frugal family members, but in times of high stress, this wasn't a battle I felt up to fighting.

We looked at daycare, and were quoted ~$1800/baby for large centers. Because of our daughter's breathing problems, due to prematurity, we were discouraged from sending her to daycare by her doctors. We've opted for a nanny, and that's about $4,000/month. She's avoided all colds, so we think it was worthwhile.

Toys and clothes are bought used, I spend about $250 a year at a local Moms of Multiples sale. Grandparents gift the rest.

For us, the nanny and the medical costs have been huge, and are recurring. Nanny, healthcare, diapers, formula, and utilities have added about $5,500/month for the first 13.5 months of life. $1,500 without the nanny. Less than $400 without the healthcare costs.

Good luck and have fun!

formerlydivorcedmom

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Re: TWINS! How to budget?
« Reply #17 on: April 13, 2020, 03:09:30 PM »
Is it possible to move into a bigger rental - preferably a house rental - for now?

The first house we bought (pre-baby) turned out to be a layout we didn't like once there were actual babies and small children around.

I'd add a cushion in your budget for convenience services for the first year or so.  Perhaps a housekeeper, or more dinners out.  It's a lot of work to parent an infant, especially if both parents are trying to work full-time.  I couldn't do it with one - I can't imagine with two!