You may or may not be interested in knowing that I am a hard-core budgeter. When it comes to managing money, I am a woman with some serious goals. Reflecting on almost 2 years of twin parenthood, I’ve noticed how little stress money and finances played in our lives. Why? Because we were prepared.
During my twin pregnancy, my husband and I came up with a solid plan in case there were any complications (spoiler: there was).
It’s so easy to finish off a month wondering where all the money went, but I want to help you learn how to tell your money what to do. In this post, we are going to talk about how to determine how much these twins are going to cost you every month.
Budgeting for Twins First Year
Most of the expenses for babies occur every month, though there are a few things that you only need to buy every few months or so. The best way to approach this is to have a budget category that rolls over every month so that you are always prepared for those occasional expenses.
Diapers come in many sizes, the most common being newborn through 6. Generally, babies use more of the smaller sizes due to more frequent elimination and smaller capacity of the diaper. The cool thing about most diaper brands is that the different sizes are often the same price, though the larger sizes have fewer diapers in them. This makes for easy budgeting numbers and easy exchanges if you outgrow a size! Hint: Walmart and Target are particularly great about diaper exchanges–just make sure they sell the brand/size of diaper you are exchanging or they won’t take it back.
Premium brand: Pampers Swaddlers
I used these diapers through size 1 with my girls, mainly because they were used in the hospital and I knew they were not irritating. The best price for these, hands down, is with Amazon Subscribe & Save.
- Economy sized diaper packs priced between $26-$32 depending on the store
- Approximate monthly cost (assuming two boxes and no coupons): $64
Store brand: Target, Wal-Mart Parent’s Choice, and Amazon Cuties
I eventually switched over to Target brand diapers; the price is excellent and every few months there is a gift card promotion (hint: do this all online and use the gift card for more diapers the next time around otherwise you will spend it at the dollar spot).
- Target brand: approximate monthly cost (assuming 2.5 boxes/month and no coupons): $55
- Wal-Mart Parents Choice: approximate monthly cost (assuming 3 boxes/month and no coupons): $40
- Cuties: approximate monthly cost (the deal here is with subscribe and save): $50
Estimated budget range for diapering: $40-64
This is a hard thing to estimate because some babies have different types and amount of poops than others. Based on my own experience, as well as some market research, I’ve estimated about 500 wipes/month for the purposes of budgeting. I also try to get smaller sized packs, when on sale, to keep in cars and diaper bags.
Premium brand: Pampers Sensitive
- Average price $12-14 depending on store
- Average price $9-12 depending on store
Estimated budget range for wipes: $9-14
Mamas who breastfeed exclusively, you ROCK and are doing the best thing possible for your babies! Your monthly expenses for breastfeeding are likely very low, and maybe only include the cost of bottles, nipples, and storage bags if you’re pumping.
My girls were able to have some donor breastmilk after my unsuccessful attempt at breastfeeding. For the majority of the first year, they were exclusively bottle-fed with formula. Younger babies have different demands than larger babies, so I’ve calculated the estimates below based on an average of 30oz per day per child. This may be a health overestimate for your babies, so consider that when calculating your own budget.
My only pieces of advice are to discuss your feeding plans with your pediatrician and to choose one brand and stick with it.
Premium Brand: Enfamil Gentlease
- The best prices I’ve found for this name brand have been Amazon.com (subscribe and save) and Costco.com
- Based on about 30oz/day per child, the average cost will be between $310-360 depending on where you purchase. If you know your formula demands of your baby, plan on spending about $0.20 per reconstituted fluid once that your baby drinks.
- My rule of thumb while my girls took this formula was to never buy it without a coupon or other sort of savings method!
- Ask your pediatrician for samples! The only way the reps continue to give them samples is if their samples get used! Your pediatrician can also request a full case worth of formula for you directly from the manufacturer.
- Target: using the bulk option online, you can get the same amount as above for $186 (and that’s NOT before any promos).
- Wal-Mart Parent’s Choice Gentle: again using the bulk option, online price is about $160
4. Solid Foods & Snacks (6-12 months)
I am a big proponent of making your own baby food, especially with twins & multiples! A little bit of prep time can save you a LOT of money in the long run.
Making your own food: Approximate cost $75/month total for both babies (average depending on age)
- These are fairly pricey and can range from $1.30-$2.30 per pouch. Take advantage of sales!
- From 6-9 months, your babies may be able to share a pouch, averaging 3-5 pouches per day total = $160-180 / month
- From 9-12 months, if your babies each eat 3 pouches / baby meals per day, this will be more along the lines of $250/month including snacks
Purchasing Baby Food: Bargain brands (Little Journeys from Aldi, Parent’s Choice from Wal-Mart)
- Little Journeys from Aldi
- If you have an Aldi in your area, you must check out their small baby section
- Little Journeys purees are organic, and ring in at $0.75 per pouch. This is a great deal!
- Snack puffs are about $2/cannister
- Parent’s Choice from Wal-Mart
- Pouches are nicely priced at $0.88-$0.98/each and have organic choices as well (best prices in store)
- From 6-9 months, your babies may be able to share a pouch, averaging 3-5 pouches per day total = $70-110 / month
- From 9-12 months, if your babies each eat 3 pouches / baby meals per day, this will be more along the lines of $145/month including snacks
5. Other Miscellaneous Costs
In an effort to always feel that we were able to purchase whatever the babies needed at the time when it came to clothing or other items, I made our monthly baby budget a roll-over budget (also known as a sinking fund), meaning that anything left over rolled over to the same category the following month. Some people like to use cash envelopes for this type of thing; whatever fits your family best is a great idea.
- I kept the tags on everything we got as gifts (and we got a LOT). Most things were from Carter’s, so if the girls needed a bigger size or were going to grow out of something, I was able to return things to the store and exchange for what I needed. Honestly, I did this a lot the first 6 months, because how often did my girls need cute fancy outfits for going out? Like, never. We spent most of our first months in sleepers and onesies.
- Places like Once Upon a Child or other local resale shops often have a LOT of gently used (and often tags-still-on) baby clothes. They will often have sales when onesies are $1 or less.
- Reach out to family members for gently used hand-me-downs.
- If you want to have trendy, new baby clothes all the time, be prepared to add at least $50-100 to your budget every 2-3 months
- Our girls got a lot of toiletries as gifts–baby shampoo, lotion, bum cream, etc
- Our monthly budget for these items was less than $10/month in the first year
- I did splurge on brand name baby laundry detergent and stain spray during the first year. This averaged another $5-10/month
Activities, eating out, etc
- Simply put, I don’t count these items in the baby budget! We have separate budget items for spending money, restaurants, travel, etc.
I hope this gives you a good idea about how to plan financially for your first year with twins. As you can see, being strategic in certain areas (particularly feeding!) can save you a ton of money each month! On the low end, if you’re breastfeeding, you can likely budget about $100-200/month for the twins first year. Do you already budget your finances or is this a new concept for you? Let me know in the comments below!