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By Elizabeth Sneller, Itsabelly Multiples Expert

When we first learned we were expecting triplets, the first comment out of my husband’s mouth was “GREAT, I bet we are going to have three girls, and we are going to have to pay for three weddings.”  I was annoyed, but deep inside, I was very fearful that we weren’t going to be able to afford our precious babies.

Financial concerns rank high as one of the largest stresses of expecting twins.  The thoughts of purchasing double or triple of everything caused me many restless nights during my first trimester.  Our take home pay was about to be split in half, and we would have three additional mouths to feed.

Fortunately, I am here to report that we are saving more money than ever, and our lifestyle still allows us date nights at good restaurants and even some great vacations.
In these economic times, I thought I would share some ideas of what my family has done to save money since the birth of our triplets.

1.  Have salon treatments such as hair coloring, pedicures, manicures, and waxes done at your local beauty schools.  I love our Aveda Institute.  It still has the atmosphere of a “high end” spa, yet the treatments are extremely affordable.  I always asked to have their best student work on me, and I have never had a beauty school disaster.

2.  Plan your menus according to what is on sale.  The savings really add up when you only buy what you need.  In addition to saving money, I have found that this method of shopping has allowed our family to eat much healthier.  Itsabelly’s Guide To Going Green With Baby has great tips for making your own baby food, which is not only more affordable, but also better for your infants and the environment.

3.  Make a budget, stick to it, and use cash whenever possible.  I am a big fan of talk radio financial expert, Dave Ramsey.  His website explains that “a budget is just spending your money with intention, and many people say they’ve found even more money when they created a realistic budget and stuck with it.”  It almost physically hurts me to spend cash, and I find that I really evaluate my purchases more when I have a set amount of cash to spend.  Studies show that people tend to spend 12-18% more when paying with a credit card.  We use Dave Ramsey’s envelope system, which has allowed us to save a  lot money. Click here to download free budgeting forms from Daveramsey.com.

4.  Recruit help caring for babies through your local nursing school.  Many nursing programs offer extra credit to their students that volunteer their services in the community.  These students also make reliable and inexpensive babysitters once they get to know your babies.

5.  Shop at high-end consignment shops and “Mothers of Twins” garage sales.  Most moms I know rarely dress their kids in the outfits that they paid a lot of money for due to the fact that they don’t want those clothes to get ruined.  Often times, these adorable outfits only get worn one to two times before they are outgrown.  Why pay full retail for like new clothes, when you can buy them for a fraction of the price on consignment?  Local Mother of Twins clubs typically organize garage sales in the spring and fall, and if you are expecting multiples, you can shop the member sale the night before the public sale.  These garage sales are great places to purchase gently used equipment and matching “twin” clothes.

6.  Don’t be afraid to negotiate and use the phrase “is that the best you can do?” as often as possible when making purchases.  My mom always told me that “you don’t get what you don’t ask for” and by using this money saving phrase you can save money on things like medical bills, furniture, insurance, utilities, and vacation rentals.

7.  Organize a babysitting Co-op with other moms of multiples.  Even if it is just one other family, you will be able to alternate date nights and not have to pay for a babysitter.

8.  Buy in bulk.  Warehouse stores offer great savings on wipes, diapers and formula.

9.  Ask about “multiples discounts.”  There are a number of stores that offer multiples discounts including Babies R Us and Oshkosh.  We are currently shopping for preschools and many are willing to offer a discount if you ask.

10.  Consider Breastfeeding.  Everyone knows the benefits of breastfeeding your babies, but when you consider buying formula for two of more babies at a time, the financial benefits are tremendous.

11.   Recycle and trade toys with toy swapping websites such as www.toyswap.com or www.toystotrade.com.  This can be a huge money and storage saver and it is also great for the environment.

Budgeting for Baby Multiples Advice