This question comes from John, who emailed and said that he was shocked about the finances and the expenses when having a baby registry for his twins, and wondered if I had any advice for him for coping with that.
Two or One?
Now John, one of the things to remember with twins is you need to ask yourself, “Can I get by with one of this thing?” whatever this thing is going to be. Maybe it’s a bouncy seat. Maybe it’s a baby bottle. Maybe it’s a blanket. Anything that you’re going to buy for your twins you need to ask yourself, “Can we get by with just one of these items?”
The answer is not always going to be yes, but oftentimes if you think about how the item will be used, you can save money by purchasing only one of that item. Your twins may end up taking turns and sharing that item and they’ll be just fine. Also, by putting a quantity of one on the registry, you’re more likely to receive that product.
Register for What you Need
Another way to avoid the trouble of sticker shock when registering for your babies is make recommendations of the things on your registry that you really, really want, that you know you need to have for your twins, and put those on the registry. Don’t put a lot of fluff or extra items or nice-to-have items on the registry. Only put the things that you know you absolutely need for you and for your family.
That way when people come shopping on the registry they will be able to focus on what you have on the list. They won’t be distracted by some of the things that you don’t really need.
Filling in the Gaps
Once the registry has been purchased and once you’ve had your baby shower for the twins and for your family, you need to try to fill in the gaps of what’s left. In this case, it’s okay to ask for or receive cash as a gift because that can be used to meet any of the needs that you’re going to have with your twins.
If you need to go out yourself and purchase things, always consider the option of buying something used. Baby clothes and baby gear are used for such a short period of time that you can often find very high quality, even new items, at local consignment shops and stores like Goodwill, Salvation Army, or thrift stores that will help you find stuff that you need for not a lot of money.
Another thing to remember is that you can reach out to your friends and your family for specific things that perhaps are too large to fit on the registry. Maybe you don’t feel comfortable putting in an expensive stroller or a crib on the registry. You can reach out to those friends that you’re most close with and ask them to help contribute to a group gift to make that possible.
So yes, registering for baby gear for twins does shock the system, and it is kind of a foreshadowing of things to come and the expenses you’re going to face as you raise these twins from birth and beyond. But there are ways you can help spread the burden out with some of your friends and family who are generous enough to donate to your registry or to you directly.
This question was originally addressed on the Dad’s Guide to Twins Podcast Episode 43: Financial Shock of Twin Registry, Starting Same Schedules, Final Weeks of Pregnancy.
(RELATED: Don't reinvent the twin parenting wheel. Get my 7 Things Every Dad of Twins Needs to Know.)
Picture by Stephen Cummings