If you’re the parent of multiple birth children, I can guarantee that someone has said ‘those’ words to you that cause you to muster up every bit of patience and grace you can find… “double trouble, eh?”. It’s the equivalent to approaching the parent of a single child and saying “pain in the neck, eh?” to which I’m sure they wouldn’t be so understanding!
I’ve fielded those remarks for my daughter on several occasions when we’ve been out and about, so it got me thinking just how much more useful it would have been if they had said, “double the cost eh? Here, have £20” because, if one thing is for sure, multiple births have instant financial implications of baby equipment, clothes, food, toys, joining groups, fun days out and so on.
So, I thought I’d share some ideas that I’ve used over the last few years…
With so much available online these days, it’s possible to access everything you need from all over the country whether it’s new items at discounted prices, ‘free to a good home’ sites or sharing preloved items and making some money on the way. By the way, the best place to do this is obviously MuMar!
It’s amazing what people just want taken away. We gained a 10 foot trampoline for free because we were willing to dismantle and remove it from someone’s garden prior to their house move. We also collected a climbing frame that had been lovingly used until the children were too big for it. Our grandchildren have had hours of fun on them.
I have found all kinds of quality goods, clothes and toys at car boot sales, charity shops and from visiting my local recycling centres where I’ve picked up a sit on motorcycle, a hand crafted wooden train that rocks and, my granddaughters’ favourite: a gliding wooden horse. It’s just a matter of taking the time to nip in and out of these places and, just one day, you’ll hit the jackpot.
Let’s talk about shoes. They’re a massive expense in the early days when their feet grow so rapidly and they hardly get any use out of them. I have to give credit to my daughter for this one but it’s worth considering: she would get the girls feet measured accurately and then look for good quality second hand shoes on line, it saved them a fortune. Also, some of the outlet villages will sell things at discounted prices and may be worth a visit.
Another idea is to look at some of the supermarkets rather than children’s clothes stores, as many of them sell two tops, trousers, skirts on a hanger as coordinating outfits and it works really well for twins.
I’ll finish by telling you about my husband’s creative pride and joy. It was when the twins were in between a cot and going in to a big bed when they stayed over. At home they had toddler beds but, even online, they were expensive for the occasional overnight stay. So my husband came up with an ingenious idea: having been given a wooden futon for free, he cut it down and adapted it to open up so that 2 cot mattresses fitted snug on the frame and, when not in use, it was folded away neatly. Anything is possible, we just have to be a bit creative in our thinking.
So, as Christmas approaches and ‘double the cost’ hits again, why not give time to think about how or where you could source things from. You may want to think about asking family members to fund their shoes, nappies, entrance to a play park rather than buying a toy that may not last the course anyway!