How to cope and plan for the cost of caring for, and growing, twins and even triplets. Whether you’re expecting multiples or not, preparing for a new-born is an exciting and unexpected time in your life. If you’re adding twins to the mix the overwhelming realities of the cost may start to trigger your worry, especially in these economically precarious times. Times may be tough, but that doesn’t mean that you can’t get the most out of growing your two, three, or even four bundles of joy.
All it takes is a little hustle and a lot of love and you can stretch your money further than you think. Pampers Parenting Institute Expert, Sister Yolanda Mpilo, provides a few tips on how parents of multiples can stretch their budget and help alleviate the stress that comes with all the costs that accompany adding new babies to your family.
Make your own food
While breastfeeding lasts for a good while, it doesn’t take long before solids enter the equation. The problem is, baby food off the shelf is certainly not what you would call value for money. When you add more than one baby to the mix, costs can skyrocket and leave you strapped for cash.“The idea of making your own baby food should not be daunting. It may seem like a massive effort but all it requires is steaming veggies on a stove, adding some water and then sticking it in a blender.
That’s it,” says Sister Yolanda. You can find plastic baby food containers that you can then fill and stick in the freezer, giving you a week’s worth of food and a lot more money left in your pocket. “This is often much healthier for your children and gives you the ability to vary their diet by providing a wider range of flavours.”
Buy pre-owned where it makes sense
New clothes are another item of budgetary contention for parents. If you walk through the aisle of any major baby store, you start to get the feeling that the cost of raising children is much higher than you thought. Yet, much like cars, buying new is not always the way to go. “New parents won’t understand, but you will be surprised at how fast your children grow out of their clothes. Unless you have a special occasion, keep your babies’ clothes generic because they won’t be worn for long!” says Sister Yolanda. It is also not necessary to buy double of everything or have things look identical.
You can borrow some items from family members and friends. Things such as a changing table, baby gym, a baby swing can be shared between the babies.“Now that you are furnishing a room for more than one infant, there are plenty of pre-owned items that are perfectly fine. Look at pre-owned changing tables, cribs, car seats, prams, and high chairs for a start. Most people are selling these items after one use, but be sure to test their integrity before handing over the cash,” says Sister Yolanda.
On that note, some things simply cannot be bought pre-used. Nappies are a prime example of this. Luckily there are products out there that cater to this.“Retailers sometimes have twin-pack promotions, such as the current Pampers special on Takealot, where parents of twins can buy nappies in sets of two and even receive a discount if you look at the cost per nappy,” advises Sister Yolanda. “There are many examples of these kinds of packages so parents of twins should lookout for any and all deals that help them buy more and save more.”
Some services that parents subscribe to, also offer pregnancy benefits. Check with your medical aid providers, retailers, etc. if they have pregnancy programmes/benefits that you can take advantage of. Some offer expectant parents hospital bags (filled with supplies for mom and baby’s stay at the hospital), while others have Nappy Rewards programmes.
Dischem is a great example of programmes that do not cost an extra cent. “Having a baby is a life-changing experience, let alone having two. Parents should not be shy to ask for help from loved ones and make some time for themselves whenever they can. Pre-planning, including making a budget, is key to ensuring that parents don’t find themselves financially, physically, and emotionally overwhelmed keeping up two babies at once”, concludes Sis Yolanda.
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