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Multiples Money Matters

Often the joy of expecting twins or triplets can be overshadowed by the financial implications. How much will it cost to raise twins? How will we afford them? Wont it be twice as expensive to raise two children together? Do I need two of everything? How will I mange to pay for childcare if I want to go back to work?

Raising twins and triplets is an expensive business but just because you are having twins doesnt mean you need twice as much but, you do need the right advice on the best way to make the most of your money. Research by the Liverpool Victoria Friendly Society in 2004 found that the average cost of raising one child for the first 5 years was around 46,695 and in February 2010, they reported the average cost to raise a single child to age 21 has soared to 201,809 - the equivalent of 9,610 a year or 800 a month!

Unfortunately for parents of twins or more, two, three or four babies simply cannot live as cheaply as one and with maternity leave, pay and entitlements remaining the same as if you were carrying one baby, raising twins or more comes at a high cost. The research indicated that new parents face a 9,152 bill during the first twelve months of their new baby's life, taking into account expenditure on equipment such as buggies, cots and prams etc and for toddlers, between the ages of one and four, the costs are around 13,014 per year for one child.

Given parents of twins, triplets or quads do not often have any hand-me-downs from previous children, the costs of twins can be 50% more and can escalate enormously when larger purchases are considered like a bigger car, larger family home and when childcare and education related costs are take into account.

As a multiple pregnancy can be more physically demanding, it is recommended that you start your maternity leave earlier at around 28 weeks. Although this advice is for the health of both you and your babies, this fact, combined with the fact you are preparing for more than one baby, can present a financial dilemma. If you take maternity leave, your joint income may drop by around 25% but you now have to also pay out for all the baby-related items you are going to need this can add a real strain to any family budget.

Theres a common misconception that if you are having twins then you need two of everything, whilst this may be true for some things, there are many items where its important to use the right product and we will help you through the maze of nursery equipment. Parents can economise by knowing what you really need and not wasting money on unecessary items. Our New Parents Equipment Checklist will help you identify the important twinstuff but here are a few tricks of the trade to make the most of your money:-

Join TwinsUK - Tamba 10% discount, Loyalty Points and Offers

Join a Local Twins Club - Get practical advice and trade items

Have a Baby Shower - Don't be shy asking for specific gifts or vouchers

Share & Share Alike - Twins can share cots, playpens, toys (for a while!)

Free Food! Breastmilk is free, puree family meals and freeze

Buy in Bulk - Get everyday items like nappies/wipes at wholesaler

Cut the Coupons - Stock up when items you will need are on offer

Seek Free Help - Trainee Nursery Nurses/Nannies look for placements

Double Discount - Ask for discounts and take advantage of offers

Dress Differently - mix/match clothes to double their wardrobe

Don't Duplicate - For occasions ask for different toys or one large toy

Know your Rights - Maternity/Paternity Benefits (

Plan Ahead - Babies, childcare/education costs are big so start saving now!

For working women who would like to continue a career, the costs of childcare can be staggering. Nurseries charge up to 35 per day per child and even with discounts, can still be 1000 plus a month for twins. Nannies are a good alternative as the cost is per family and there are nanny-share schemes. Pre-school clubs cost around 17 per child per day and childminders can cost from 3-5 per hour per child.

Delyth Raffell, Founder of TwinsUK, says your childcare management needs to remain flexible. As a working mum, I struggled with finding the right work-life balance, but, in the early years, I found a nanny proved the best option and then pre-school nursery. Now theyre at school, I use the after-school club once a week and a childminder in the holidays. It a juggling act every week but it just about works!

Realistic financial planning is very important and a first step before deciding to return to work is to weigh the income gain against all expenses, including the hidden costs such as the stress of managing a career and children. You must also consider the positives of working on your self-esteem by not completely losing yourself to motherhood as not all benefits are financial but can be rewarding.

One way of easing the strain in later years is to start saving as early as possible, even before they are born! There are tax-free savings accounts available and some of you with older twins may have invested in Child Trust Funds. These are no longer available but the Junior ISA takes their place from November 2011 and for both types of account, you can save up to 3600 per year (for each child) until they turn 18. Many of us simply don't have enough to save this amount as parents but one idea is to ask friends and family to contribute to their savings for their birthday or Christmas. With any luck by the time you have to pay for their college education, you should just about have saved enough!

Looking for more information, then you may be interested in our Practical Help and Financial Factsheet for Twins and Multiples

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