After the shock wore off about having twins the next thing my husband and I faced was how were we going to pay for all these kids, diapers, food, and the fact that we now needed a bigger vehicle! Which leads me to a topic I find important and that is Budgeting. For many I understand that is just as bad as doing your taxes. I really do believe that having a good and flexible budget is highly important for every family. It makes life a lot easier if you have a financial plan to work with and adjust as your life grows and changes unexpectedly. I understand that not everyone gets excited about budgeting and many prefer to live for each day and not worry about whether they will have money tomorrow. I am not one of those people.
Everyone has their own style and preference when it comes to budgeting and working with money. I enjoy the methods of Gail Vaz-Oxlade. Gail has a very informative website that can show you how to get started and provides you with the tools to create and manage your own budget. http://www.gailvazoxlade.com/index.html for more information.
Once you have a budget established you then know what you have to work with. You can see the areas where you can trim the fat and places where you cannot afford to compromise. We have even found keeping a strict grocery budget has helped us not waste uneaten food. We only buy what we need and what we plan to cook during the week. I hope that we can carry forward with our current budget of $125.00 a week with some careful planning and our vegtable garden.
Here are some places you can easily start for saving money and making room in your budget.
Quick Money Saving Tips:
1. Cable/Satellite: Do you really need that many channels? Look over what shows you enjoy the most and what you can live without. Most times you can call your Cable/Satellite provider and design your own channels and in the end save money. We simply cut out a few tiers of our cable system that we didn’t really use and saved ourselves about $15.00 a month. Plus another way to save here is check the internet, some channels post their latest shows online. By catching up and watching online you can further save money. Beware though their are websites online that offer more than just TV shows to watch and upload current movies that may still be in theatre. Make sure that whatever money saving ways you find online work with your own family ethics.
2. Cell phones: Again review your usage and needs, call your provider and see what can be done. Or review your home phone needs. Sometimes it is more economical to just have cell phones instead of a home line. We cut back to one cell phone, and changed it to pay as you go, buying a $100 card once a year has worked out great for us in the long run. We previously spent $50 a month for two phones. So the savings were huge for us.
3. Electrical & Heating: Many of you may think this is an area you can’t be flexible with. But making a few changes in your habits that in the end also help the environment can save you money in the long run. Turn your heat down a few degrees at night. Put your TV, computer, entertainment equipment on power bars (with surge protection) and turn them off at night. If you didn’t know many electronics use Vampire or Ghost power when not in use. Powering down and unplugging these items at night can save you money too. The internet is full of other great green tips that will save you money in the end. A favorite blog of mine is by a couple that lived a whole year completely Green, Our Green Year http://ourgreenyear.blogspot.com/. You can find some great ideas on their blog that can save you money and promote a green lifestyle.
My last suggestion isn’t really part of your budget but can help you as you plan for those life changes. That is borrowing. Before you run out and buy something brand new see if you can borrow it first. When we first found out about the twins our families jumped at the chance to throw us baby showers. It was so easy for us to run out and ask for every item out there again. We had kept our crib, swing, saucer and travel system. From there we researched, talked to other twin families and read books on what twins will need during that first year. We did have to purchase new carseats but we have been able to save by borrowing and checking websites like Kijiji for gently used items for sale. Many parents to be may find friends and family willing to pass on gently used items for free. Make sure that if you get clothing or anything from friends and family you double check to see if they would like the items back, if so make sure ask them to mark and label everything they give you so that you can easily set it back aside for them.
Other great ideas for borrowing items are find local mom groups, or form your own. Being apart of a network of parents is great, not only can you find other people to talk to and find answers to your questions many are quite willing to help out. A friend of mine has a daughter who is right between my own girls. We swap clothing all the time when we find we need a few pieces to fill out a wardrobe and really don’t want to go spend anymore money on clothing. Networks you can also try products before buying if it is a must have items.
Anyways I could go on and on about the benefits of borrowing and maybe I will in another blog but for now I’ll simply say don’t spend money on something you may only own for a few months if you don’t have to and you know people who are willing to share items they currently are not using go for it.
Keeping track of your money is a smart move especially when life brings about big changes. Babies are not cheap and twins are even more costly. Planning ahead is a great start to your journey because simply keeping twins in diapers and fed, if breastfeeding isn’t an option for you, can quickly add up to a scary amount.
If you have any great money saving ideas or ways you prepared and saved for the arrival of your twins please post your comments below. As any expecting parent of twins or parent who already has twins knows wondering where the money to pay for everything is one of the first things you worry about and we can all use great tips and advice.
From our Happy Family to yours
Have a question or a topic you would like more information on. Leave me a comment and I’ll do my best to help provide you with the answers you need!