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Saving on Twins

July 24th, 2013 at 10:35 am

I had twins at a time when I was undergoing some financial problems and this resulted in my desperation finding out all possible ways where I can save on twins. I ended up spending far less than what I had spent on my single born children before.

Phase 1: Preparing for the birth of my twins.

When I was six months pregnant, I had started accepting that I was going to have twins and I have to find ways to support and feed them. It was a very difficult time for me as I was also recovering from many debts.
The first shopping I did for them was their baby clothing .I went for designer names and ended up using a credit card as I could not pay that full amount of equivalent of $500 cash.
This made me think twice as I was in the process of recovering from debts.
I decided to make a list of all the urgent things which I needed to have when going to hospital and after leaving hospital and how I would get them cheaply.
I was stark until after visiting my obstetrician at seven months of my pregnancy. On this visit, he advised me to join the South African Multiple Birth Association (SAMBA) and to also get in touch with the local members in my suburb in Durban.
I phoned SAMBA immediately and they sent me forms. I had to pay for equivalent of $15 as of now rate per year. This money saved me a lot of Rands/ dollars.
They immediately gave me contacts of about five members in my suburb and they started sending me their newsletters.
My first contact, gave me an appointment to go and have a cup of tea while discussing some of the challenges of bringing up twins and how one could address them.
After two days, we meet. It was a very relaxed environment .She had a pair of twins, one boy and one girl of five years. Hence I was bound to get the best advice at this stage of expecting twins.
While having a cup of coffee, she advised me on the following issues:
• To go for second hand things on things like sleeping baskets, prams, beds, toys etc--.She actually offered to sell me the double pram of her twins which I bought very cheaply.
• To organise a baby shower and ask everyone at least to bring a pack of diapers. You cannot believe that this was the best advice I got that day. I never imagined how expensive diapers where by that time as my younger child was about 10 years older than the twins.
• To always look at items where you buy one and get one free.
• To breast feed more especially in the first six months as it is free instead of baby milks.

These were very good tips and I had to put them into action. I had already got a second double pram from my first contact as mentioned above. I had to find out from some members of SAMBA or a charity shop in town which was selling second hand things for babies and children whether I could get some of the other items.
Fortunately, one SAMBA member had two bassinets and she also sold them to me at a very cheap price. By this time I had decided that the babies will stay in my bed room and I will delay to buy them baby cots. In any case they were going to be small until about four months.
In the charity shop, they were many second hand toys at cheap prices.
I decided to invite my friends for a baby shower and I asked each one to at least come with a pack of diapers.
This was a very exciting day. I had to buy some cool drinks, told my older children to help with decorations in the house. They all offered to bring a plate of eats as they were thinking about my expected expenses of the twins.
We ended up having a lot of eats and room was full of diapers plus a number of many baby items.
I did not realize by then than these diapers will get finished in two months.
I also realised that I spent a lot on my first shopping as most of the items I had bought were also bought by my friends.
I just did not have to spend any more money until the twins were delivered.

PHASE TWO: THE TWINS ARE BORN

Finally, I delivered my twins on 22 July 2006.I delivered them by Cesarean section at eight and a half months. The first one to be delivered was 2.4 kg and the second one was 2.2 kg .They were both very fine and we spend three nights in the hospital.
The first week at home was very rough in terms of feeding them in turns and also have different sleeping and waking up times. I was also just recovering from a cesarean section.
I decided to breast feed my twins full time as I was on a four month maternity leave.
I started realizing how the diapers were going down very fast .In the first two months all the diapers I got on the baby shower were finished.
I decided on the following measures:
• I had to shop around for the cheapest place to buy diapers and I was just going to use them at night or when we are travelling. I was going to start buying them in bulk as it was still much cheaper.
• I bought cloth diapers/nappies for everyday use.
• Since I was working, I decided to employ a full time maid. It is not very expensive in South Africa as compared to many developed countries. If you are in a country where house maids are very expensive, it is better to make arrangements with your relatives/grannies to help you on twins so that you have enough time to do the washing or even have time for shopping or just to relax a bit. You do not only have to save money on twins but also on your energy.
• I decided never to buy designer clothing for babies who do not even understand designers.
• I started asking for shops which had coupons. These coupons started helping me a lot.
When the twins were four months, I was planning to go back to work as my maternity leave was over. Their feeding patters had to change drastically as they demanded more solid food and I was not going to be at home full time to breast feed them.
I decided to buy a food processor so that I would prepare their food instead of pre made food in the stores as they are very expensive.
I started extracting my breast milk but by the age of six months that milk was very little.
Their patrician recommended that I should start them on the baby power milks. This was going to be an expense.
I decided to buy these milks in bulk and it turned out to be cheaper.
Being a member of SAMBA helped also a lot .There are shops where you present a member card and you get some discounts.
Some of the shops which offer discounts to SAMBA members include:
1.Littlemiracle
www.littlemiracle.co.za
2.Babies R Us
3.Baby Chair
www.babychair.co.za
4.Miracle Baby
5.Naartjiekids
6.Glumber Hub
7.Jozikids
www.jozikids.co.za
8.Littlelumps
www.littlelumps.co.za
9.Kindermusik
www.kindermusik.co.za
10.Toptots
www.toptots.co.za
For those in USA,they can get discounts at:
11.Huggies
http://www.huggieshappybaby.com
12.Pampers
http://www.pampers.com

For those in different countries please find out from your local Multiple Birth Associations.
Through SAMBA,I also connected with three mothers who were having twins of nearly the same age as mine.
We started organizing diapers all together in a bigger bulk than individual bulk. This turned out even more cheaper.
One of the mothers advised me that I could even borrow some things from mothers who have bigger twins.
I did not want the idea of borrowing though.
As the twins were turning one year, they were a bit uncomfortable in their bassinets. I started contacting some mothers who are members of SAMBA to find out who was willing to sell baby cots.
One mother offered to borrow me her baby cots. I was hesitant but finally I agreed as I was really struggling to reduce my debts.
It is very surprising that the heavy burden you carry when you are told that you are expecting twins become very light by the support you get from everyone.
When my single born children were born very few people offered something.

PHASE THREE: TWINS AT AGE 2 TO 4

At age two the twins had become very active in the house. Some friends of mine advised to take them to a Day Care Center.
The nearest Day care center was about $ 100 per month. Since I had employed a full time nanny. I decided not to take the twins to the day care center at this stage. As I pointed out earlier, nannies are very expensive in developed countries. An alternative is to get free child care like grannies if they are still around or if they do not live very far from you.
There is a town, where I know that there are three non working mothers who are helping out other four working mothers to look after their twin kids up to noon at very cheap fees. They all have twins.
By age two they had also overgrown their clothes and shoes which most of them were given to them through baby shower. It was mum’s turn to buy more.
I decided on the following:
1.I would buy over size clothing in order to wear them longer. At two years, I was buying for three or four year old age.
2.I would buy them either very cheap toys on sale or second hand toys. I realized that kids get fed up with toys quickly so there was no need to spend very expensively on toys. I also had to train them to share toys so that they could play with different toys at the same time. Hence I could buy two different toys.
3.I was always at the lookout for discounts for multiple births.
4.I had to continue cutting down on my other expenditure e.g. we were eating at home more often and I was buying most groceries in bulk and always looking for sales.
5.They could share their clothes hence I did not have to buy same clothes with same colour every time.
6.I had learnt to have two budgets, one for my house groceries and the second one for the twins which included their food, clothes ,diapers etc—
7.I could also use coupons where possible
8.There were twins’ club sales in Durban area. I acquired many cheap second hand items through these sales.
9.At the age of four years, I decided to take them to a nearby Day Care center which was very fair in prices. It was costing equivalent of $ 100 per month. Day care centers in developed countries are more expensive than this. The main reason why I decided to take them is to get used mixing with other children and to start getting used to holding pencils and crayons while colouring.

PHASE FOUR: THE TWINS ARE NOW FIVE AND SIX YEARS

According to the system of education in South Africa, it is imperative that by the age of five years, a child start preschool year to prepare to Primary one.
It was time for my twins to start preschool.
Fortunately the Day Care center they were attending at the age of four had the preschool facility. I was very lucky because it was very good and very reasonable in price. The prices varied if the kids were there for eight hours or if they were there for six hours. Since I had a nanny, I decided on the six hours to keep my costs low.
By this age they had started being interested in books and pictures. Books were very expensive in book shops especially the hard cover books. Hence I decided to buy second hand books and it was cheaper than buying new books. I could get a book of $0.50.
I also decided to be a member of three public municipal libraries in my area so that I could borrow books.
You cannot manage the saving I made instead of buying new books .I never thought about all these alternatives when my single born children were growing up at this age. I was just buying them new books. I really spend far more on them than the twins.
The other measures I took included:
1.Signing up with Amazon to go for sales on clothes
2.Check for sales on Baby Gear for big toys
3.Sign up with eBay and check on sales on educational toys and sales on second hand items.
4.The charity shop in my area should also sell some good second hand educational toys.
5.I would buy t- shirts or pajamas where you buy one and get one free.
At the age of six they were ready to start formal schooling in Primary one. I selected a school which was not far from my work place to save on petrol/gas.
I would drop them on my way to work and pick them up on my way home. The school fees were also very reasonable.
The school had a second hand shop selling old uniforms. I decided to mix the old and new things. This saved me some substantial amount of money.
In this school they separate twins to be in different streams. This helped me a lot as one of them was always dominating the other one.
Each one had their lunch boxes and I could prepare them their sandwiches, drink and at least one fruit.
There was a truck shop at school but it was very expensive so I could give them pocket money for at least one day in a week to buy something in the tuck shop.
It was also not healthy for them to feed on snacks from the tuck shop everyday.
This routine has continued up until this year, 2013 when they are in Primary Two.

CONCLUSION

In conclusion, this eBook was outlining my personal experience of how I managed to keep my costs low on twins. However there are other methods which I might not have applied but I discovered later or other methods which could be used when residing in different countries.
In my conclusion, I am going to outline the various methods which could be applied broadly by parents even living in different countries.
The following are:
1.Create a monthly budget for food ,clothes ,baby milk ,diapers etc--
2.Buy in bulk
3.Do not go by expensive brands as babies and kids do not know the difference
4.Compare prices of different stores and go for sales
5.Borrow or swap items
6.With boy/girl twins, buy unisex clothes when they are still young
7.Join multiple births Association in your country, state or province as this membership will expose you to shops which offer discounts to sales, other mothers with multiples in your community where you could exchange items or buy second hand things.
8.Check for sales on baby gear for members of multiple births associations.
9.In the above interaction with other mothers of multiple births you can form a local club where you can buy items in bulk especially diapers.
10.Buy cloth diapers/nappies to use during day time. Only use diapers at night or when travelling.
11.Find out about stores or shops which has sales or coupons
12.Organize free child care e.g. grannies
13.Do not buy whatever you need once. Buy items of urgent need at a time .E.g. when the twins are still babies, they can sleep in bassinets and when they grow more, and you can then buy baby cots.
14.Organize a baby shower and do not buy anything until you know what they have not given you. Please you can ask each you at least to give you a pack of diapers.
15.Register with stores e.g eBay or Amazon and look out for sales or second hand items.
•Visit your nearest charity second hand shop which sales babies or kids things.
•In the first six months, breast feed your babies mostly. It is more health and it is free.
•Whenever you see sales especially on diapers buy in bulk and stock pile.
16.They are mothers who buy packs of chux and cut them in pieces and wet them with water. They use them as wipes instead of buying wipes or only using them at night or travelling.
17.Always look out for clothes where you see buy one and get one free.

18.Buy the twins different things or at least colours and as they grow up encourage them to share clothes.
19.Buy them different toys so that they share and first check in second hand charity shops or any sales.
20. As they turn the age of four years start buying them books but go to second hand shops. They sell the second hand books very cheaply in most countries.
21.Join public municipality libraries and borrow their books there instead of buying.
22.Take them more for picnics instead of restaurants and when you want to take them to restaurants take them on week days than weekend as some restaurants have specials during week days where they can even offer them free toys.
23.When they start eating solid foods, buy food processor and prepare their food as it is much cheaper than buying premade foods in the stores.
24.Pay close attention to any possible tax deductions that you may be eligible depending on where you live.
25Always browse newspapers ads for special bargains.
26.When the twins start attending school, look for second hand uniforms if that possibility is there.
27.During holidays if the baby gear cannot fit in your car, you can contact members of the multiple birth associations of where you are going to borrow one for some days. You will be surprised about the support and help you will get from these mothers whenever you are.
28.Teach your twins to put their needs first before wants and they should always stick to basics.
29.Generally on your side as parents of twins you should cut on your expenses and start saving for the education of your twins. Start the education insurance of your twins as early as they are immediately born. Most tertiary education facilities are very expensive worldwide.
I hope that my experience and some of these tips will help the future multiple births mothers to prepare better for their bundles of joy with less any stress and less surprises.
For the present multiple births mothers, I hope that they could pick some few tips which will help them to save some money and be able to put those savings on the upbringing and education of their loved children.











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