In one of my many recent midnight Google searches I came across a WebMD article called What It Costs to Have and Raise Twins. You got me, WebMD. What does it cost?
Well, it depends.
It depends on your income bracket. It depends if you have to buy everything new. It depends if you fall for the marketing tricks to get you to buy bottle warmers and an endless supply of pre-packaged food snacks. It depends if you value frugality, repurposing, or sustainability. It depends if you need childcare or have two working parents.
The short answer is it can cost an exorbitant amount–$26,000 in the first year alone. But as the article makes clear, this assumes that you decided to upgrade your house and and car in that year, which probably increased your housing and transportation expenses: you probably had to buy new furniture to fill the bigger house, you now use more utilities, your new car hogs more gas, and you may have moved further away from work to find more living space.
Middle income folks can expect to spend just south of $500,000 to raise twins. But if you fall in the upper income bracket, that number swells to over $800,000. They more money you have, the more you will spend.
It gave me pause to read those numbers and had me thinking about how easily I will spend a little more here and there when I feel flush with cash. What’s a $5 coffee or $20 baby item when it’s been a good week? It’s worth remembering that like plants, humans don’t really need all that much. My dad taught me that. “Is that a need or a want, Natanya?” he’d ask me when I pined for something new. “Can what you already own be mended or repaired, first?”
From him I learned that new doesn’t equal better and that creating space for self-reflection can dampen the desire to spend money out of convenience or out of simple lust for the shiny new thing. As I have already done when considering our house purchase impulse, I am trying to now make space to reflect on other buying assumptions I hold about baby gear, raising twins, and being a “good” mom.
If I can separate the “needs” and the “wants” perhaps I’ll be able to avoid the purchasing traps that will end up costing me thousands (if not hundreds of thousands) of dollars down the line. And that will be so very worth it.