One of the best pieces of financial advice I follow is to “focus on the big wins.” That means that instead of worrying about $2 here and there or clipping every last coupon, you should spend the majority of your energy on areas where you have the potential to save hundreds of dollars. Here are two examples for parents of triplets. Two extremely large expenditures that are overlooked as areas for potential money savings is clothes and food. Baby clothes are expensive. A tiny pajama set can cost around $10 after taxes. I know the cost can vary but humor me for the sake of this illustration. If you have three babies and want at least 3 pajamas for them (assuming you can wash the pajamas in between to have spare sets), that still costs $90- just for pajamas. Chances are most people want more than just 3 sets of pajamas to prolong having to do laundry each day. With infants growing at exponential rates, if you consider the size range from newborn to 12 months (preemie/newborn, 0-3 months, 3-6 months, 6-9 months, 9-12 months), you have at least 45 sets of pajamas (5 age ranges, 3 sets per triplet) that you’ll need to cover the first year of life. That’s $450 in expenses from pajamas alone, and that is using a very conservative number of pajamas.
As you can see from this math, clothes are definitely an area where you can benefit from a big win of savings. Ask anyone you know if they have any hand-me-down clothes you could use for your triplets. Even just a few hand-me-downs will save you hundreds of dollars. Accept anyone’s offer to give you clothes of any size. You probably will be pleasantly surprised with the quality of hand-me-downs. I have received nicer hand-me-down clothes than I would ever buy for my kids had I gone to a store. We were incredibly fortunate to have four sets of friends who gave us hand-me-downs for all different ages. We didn’t have to buy one pair of pajamas until the babies were 12 months old, and even then, we only had to buy about 4 pajamas total- 2 for the girls and 2 for our boy- to even out our stash of pajamas for the week. It took time to ask people for the hand-me-downs, follow through, pick things up, sort through them and organize them according to size, but that time was well worth it. We saved hundreds of dollars by seeking out hand-me-down clothes.
Another potential area for huge savings is food. If you love cooking and planning meals, you are a rare bird with a wonderful gift. The majority of us hate both planning and preparing meals, especially with sleep deprivation thrown into the mix. However, planning for meals will save you a lot of money that would otherwise go towards pre-made foods, takeout, and restaurant foods. As an added side bonus, home cooked meals are almost always healthier. Make it a habit to start meal planning and grocery shopping before the triplets arrive. I suggest taking it a step further and having a designated day in the week for planning and grocery shopping so that the habit is engrained and well established when the triplets are born. Find out which meals your family likes, which meals take more time to cook, which meals require the most ingredients that may not be used in the future, etc. Learning these things will help you when you are sleep deprived and don’t have the energy to take time to think about dinner. By making it a habit, you’ll already have meals for the week thought through and the ingredients ready. Meal planning has certainly saved us thousands of dollars.
It’s still smart to try and clip coupons on diapers and formula. But just don’t forget there are other huge areas of savings that can make a big difference in your first year with triplets. If you don’t have a lot of time, I would focus on these two “big win” areas first.