Having twins can be twice as nice if you’re prepared for the added expense. And just because you’re caring for two doesn’t mean your price tag has to double.
Certain expenses you’ll only have once, like decorating the nursery or buying a bigger car. Some retailers offer discounts for twins, and if you’re trying to cut costs, your twins can share items like clothing, toys, a baby carrier, or playpen.
In general, the cost of having and raising twins depends on where you live, your family income, and whether you have health insurance. Charges tend to be lower in the South and higher in the Northeast.
Here’s an idea what to expect through the early stages of your twins’ lives.
Having Twins: $15,000 or more
One plus one is five? That’s right. The cost of having twins, $15,293 in 2012, can be five times greater than having a single child, $3,430.
In a recent study published in the American Journal of Obstetrics & Gynecology, researchers linked the higher costs of having twins with more frequent office visits, longer hospital stays, the need for C-sections, and a greater risk of conditions like high blood pressure, heart disease, diabetes, and anemia. Twin babies also are more likely to need intensive care after birth.
Onetime Baby Expenses: $3,000 or more
Most baby gear is made for single children. But don’t despair: You can still find a handful of baby essentials designed for two.
Here’s a sample of gear for twins:
Double stroller: A bit larger than the traditional baby ride, double strollers come in two models: side-by-side and single-file tandem. The side-by-sides range from $100 to $1,400, but generally cost $350 to $450. Tandems run a little less, at $250 to $300.
Twin bassinet: Wooden twin cribs can be pricey, so if you want to save, consider a cloth twin bassinet, which can cost about $175.
Carrier for two: Like to keep ‘em close by? Strap your double load onto your torso with a twin baby carrier. You might pay about $140 for a side-by-side model and about $400 for one with a child in the front pouch and the other riding piggyback.
Your Twins’ First Year: $25,880
If you’re average, middle-income parents, you can expect to spend $25,880 on your twins in their first year, according to 2013 figures from the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA). “Middle income” is a combined gross income of $61,530 to $106,540.
Keep in mind that the $26,000 -- about $2,170 a month -- includes start-up costs to make room for your growing family, like buying a bigger house and car. With more children, you can divide expenses. Twins can share a room, toys, and clothing. You also may be able to find other twin discounts.
Here’s how the first-year expenses break down for a middle-income couple:
Housing: $8,140. Includes utilities, furniture, and appliances.
Clothing and diapers: $1,580
Health care : $1,800
Child care : $6,180
Other: $1,820. Includes books, toothbrushes, and electronics.
Expenses for Raising a Family
What you’ll spend to raise your family depends on how many other children you have, where you live, and whether both parents work.
How many children you have: With more children, you can share costs like housing, transportation, food, clothing, and toys. Older children can pass down items like car seats and cribs they’ve outgrown to younger siblings.
Where you live: Cost of living affects baby expenses. For example, transportation, health care, and housing costs tend to be highest in cities.
Whether you need child care: After housing, it’s the largest expense for young children. Child care services often give sibling discounts. Otherwise you can save on child care if one parent stays home or if relatives or friends pitch in with free care.
Raising Your Twins: $490,680
You might say your twins are “worth” half-a-million bucks. The USDA estimates middle-income families will spend $490,680 to raise twins born in 2013 through high school. If your income is lower, you’ll spend $353,100. If it’s higher, you may spend $815,640.
That doesn’t even include college costs. So it’s never too early to start padding your nest egg for your twins’ future.