"Oh wow. It's twins." And just like that, all of my grand plans for a painted nursery, snazzy pram, loads of baby outfits, a designer high chair - even splashing out on a babymoon went out the window and I became completely practical in just meeting the basic requirements of what we would need for our little ladies. Don’t get me wrong, you can still have all those things with twins! I however decided I would rather use that money to stay on maternity leave for longer. So here are some of the ways I researched and implemented to save money that you might like to consider with your up and coming bundle (or bundles!) of joy.
Make sure you maximise your maternity leave options At present many Adelaide employers offer a minimum of 12 weeks paid maternity leave to permanent employees who have worked with them for around 6 months or more. As far as I know you can also gain the minimum wage government assistance until Federal government changes the 'double-dipping' legislation.
Consider your maternal healthcare, hospital and delivery options If you have private healthcare you can choose to deliver in a private hospital. There are also great public maternity programs where you receive excellent and dedicated maternal and post-natal care for free.
Here is the SA Health site listing all the SA hospitals offering maternal health care - Website: content/sa health internet/health services/womens health services/maternity hospitals
Nursery furniture, prams, highchairs, baby swings, carriers, breast pumps etc. Go through a list of the basic MUST have items first and see if you can borrow them from friends or family who might have theirs in storage or might be giving them away. If you let people know that you are open to hand me downs, people are often very generous! Next see if you can get them second hand. There are many buy, sell, swap Facebook pages, e-bay, gumtree or even second hand stores you can purchase good quality items at a fraction of the cost. If you are using some items for a short time you can hire them, but that is quite costly, you would probably be better off purchasing them and then reselling and getting your money back once you have finished with them. The market for baby paraphernalia is extensive (and excessive)! You can get anything you want for your baby, many things that you think they might need. For those optional items it is better to wait until the need arises before purchasing, I have so many mums tell me that they got caught up in process and bought many, many things they never needed or only used for a short time. I love nice things, but my goal to stay home for longer with my girls overrode any desire to spend up big.
Here is a comprehensive list of all the op shops and their locations around Adelaide.
Adelaide Op Shops Or search on Facebook for these pages to get some bargains; Adelaide Families on a Budget
Buy Sell Swap (in your local area or broader)
The Mummies Market
Baby Bargains Adelaide
Maternity clothing You are in maternity clothing for such a short period of time. I recommend you just buy affordable clothes a bit larger, although I have friends who would not have needed to with their little bumps, the size I was with twins required a few 'tent' dresses! I was really lucky to be able to ask friends to borrow their maternity clothes and luckily the season matched – we were both pregnant over summer and were similar sizes. This went for maternity bras as well – which can become very expensive as you grow in size; with twins I had three re-fittings before the end.
Nappies I spent a long time while I was pregnant calculating how many nappies I was going to need per week with twins and all the various cost options – some calculations said up to 150 per week! I wasn’t keen on the work and outlay of cloth nappies for two but found generic brand supermarket nappies at $11 for 56 much cheaper than Huggies. Have a look around for bulk offers too and do your calculations based on cents per nappy to you know you are getting the best deal. You can also ask for people to give nappies in various sizes at your baby shower rather than other less practical gifts.
Try the following retailers for their generic brand nappies or keep an eye out for huggies on sale:
Campbells Cash and Carry and other wholesalers
Wipes There are many hacks for wipes that are far better for the environment than buying expensive packs of fragranced wipes at the supermarket. I do however use these for my nappy bag and buy them in bulk at about 2c per wipe. At home I use CHUX cloths. I bought a roll of 100 CHUX wipes from my local Kmart and each one was huge so I cut them in half which got me 200 wipes. I folded them all to access easily in a large Tupperware container. I keep an ice cream container of 2cm of water on the change stand and wet a wipe every time I need to use it. These go into a soaking bucket that I do every day or so – and they get softer and softer with each wash! I have been going on these for well over a year now and no rash or impacts on my babies bums.
Breastfeeding and Formula options I am blessed that I was able to tandem breastfeed my twins exclusively for their first year - actually 15months. I calculated that this has saved our family over $2,500 in formula! Not everyone makes the choice to breastfeed or is able to, so do your research into purchasing bulk formula or on special and what brands meet nutritional requirements at all the various supermarkets to save yourself money.
Baby clothing Babies go through clothes so quickly and it is quite likely you will be given a whole lot of cute (often completely impractical) outfits for your little one – so don’t go berserk on the shopping! I readily put my hand up and said I would take any hand me downs and have basically dressed my messy active twins for the whole 17 months in free clothes. Get back to basics with what you will need and start with those before buying up on ‘going out’ outfits. A singlet, loads of zippies, socks, a couple of jackets and beanies for the different seasons, wraps, sleeping bags. Perhaps head to to an op shop to see what you can find at a fraction of the cost.
Reborn pre-loved baby gear
Baby food and baking Supermarket pre-packaged baby snacks and food are very expensive and even though they often report being healthy, sometimes their nutritional content is questionable. Bake your own bulk snacks and then you know what is in them and they are often more filling which mean you need less. Many people go down the track of baby led weaning (which in hindsight would have saved me a LOT of time in baking with my twins!) but it is not always possible. Make bulk purees with left over fruit and veg at the end of the week and freeze in ice cubes ready to be defrosted, look at online baby cooking recipes and bulk bake them. I make zucchini, carrot and pumpkin cheese muffins in bulk, banana pikelets, bran loaf, tuna Mornay, lasagne, salmon bake, chicken, veggies and gravy etc. There is a huge amount of information online with food options to ensure your baby gets a wide variety of nutritious foods or you can borrow a baby baking book from a friend, or from the library.
Baby entertainment I don’t recall there being so many opportunities and programs structured to entertain and develop babies and children when I was a kid! All these things are brilliant but very expensive, especially if you times that by two. So we have focussed on free options. Join your local toy library to continuously update your children’s toys without adding to the long term clutter of the house. Trade toys with friends – nothing is more exciting to a child than all the toys at a friend's house, so clean, label and trade a box of toys with a friend for a period of time. Ask for hand me downs, if anyone has finished with toys they are looking to donate. Your local library will also do free baby bounce or Rhyme time sessions, make the most of these as an opportunity to connect as well as stimulate and socialise your little one.
Here is the South Australian Public Library networks link to baby programs at each site.
First birthday party – traditionally first birthday parties are a big milestone to be celebrated and so they should! It's been a massive effort on behalf of the parents and a huge amount of development and adjusting on behalf of the babies. But it doesn’t have to be a lavish Pinterest-worthy affair – or perhaps that is a priority to you and you can instead look of ways to shop around and do it on a budget. I know a family that asked everyone to bring a plate of food to share instead of a present and to donate a gold coin towards their education savings fund rather than a present and had a really beautiful day a with a lot less pressure.
These are just some ideas to take into consideration and it is all about what it is important to you and your family. By all means spend money on the areas that are a priority to you and seek to save money in other areas that are less important. Add a comment below on any great money saving tips you have come across with your little ones and share with any new mumma's to be!