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Double, double, toil and trouble: the true cost of twins

Alex Ritchie avatar
Alex Ritchie
- 5 min read
Double, double, toil and trouble: the true cost of twins

Having a baby can be one of the most exciting – and expensive – times in your life. But just because you’re having twins doesn’t mean the price tags should multiply as well.

RateCity research has examined the biggest sources of financial stress for new parents and how you can cut down on expenses while making the most of the help available.

Bigger Car:

For many parents of twins, you may notice that your humble, two-door car is looking rather toy-sized when you consider fitting two car seats and a duel pram in it. That’s why one of the more expensive items you’ll need to buy is a bigger car.

Websites like carsales.com.au or carsguide.com.au are a great resource when shopping around for a car. They also have a huge range of used cars, which would be a more economical choice when you’re budgeting for twins.

It also pays to compare the most economical car loans. Avoiding paying monthly fees or large upfront fees will also save you big in the long run.

Three car loans without monthly fees:


Baby Basics:

If you’re not lucky enough to have a baby shower, or if you aren’t gifted every item your twins need, you will need to buy all your baby things.

It can be tempting to buy everything new, however you can save thousands just by shopping second-hand. Websites like gumtree.com.au or buy, swap sell pages on Facebook can be a safe and reliable resource for savvy shoppers.

Example:
A new Valco Baby Snap Duo Pram can set you back $499. RateCity research found a second-hand version of the same stroller for $220 in great condition on GumTree.

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Loss of income:

One of the scariest parts about having a baby is the realisation that one or both parents will have a period of zero income. Luckily, the Australian government provides families with paid maternity leave and newborn and child care rebates.

And as twins have a shorter gestation period, maternity leave will need to be taken earlier than that of a single child pregnancy. According to the Fair Work Ombudsman:

  • Eligible employees who are the primary carer of a newborn or adopted child get up to 18 weeks’ leave paid at the national minimum wage.
  • These payments are made to the employer first, who then pays them to the employee. These payments can be paid before, after or at the same time as other entitlements such as annual leave and long service leave.
  • Parental Leave Pay from the Australian Government doesn’t change paid parental leave from an employer – an employee can be paid both.

Unfortunately, employers are not obligated to pay employees maternity leave. If you are lucky enough to work for a company that does, this will be stated in your employment contract.

What about dads and partners?

Dads and partners (including same-sex partners) receive 2 weeks paid leave at the national minimum wage.

The Australian government also provides families with child care benefits. These can assist with the costs of approved and registered care, such as long, family or day care, outside school hour care, vacation care, preschool and kindergarten.

According to the Australian Department of Human Services, (ADHS) the current approved care rate for a non-school aged child is $4.30 per child per hour, or $215.00 per week. Payment rates for school aged children are 85 per cent of the non-school aged rate.

You can also receive additional Newborn Upfront Payments for multiple births. ADHS advises that you may receive the following for each child:

  • Newborn Upfront Payment, as a lump sum of $540, and
  • Newborn Supplement, at a maximum rate of $1,618.89 if you are eligible for the whole 13 weeks, even if you already have other children.

Spouse Super Contributions

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Something else to consider is that if you or your partner will be taking time off work, then you will not likely be receiving super entitlements from an employer.

However, did you know you or your partner can make a spouse contribution to the other’s super account, or arrange for contribution splitting?

According to Industry Super Funds, spouse contribution allows the working partner to claim an 18 per cent tax offset on super contributions up to $3,000 that are made on behalf of the non-working or low-income-earning partner. More than $3,000 can be paid, but the working partner would not be able to receive the spouse contribution tax offset.

Contribution splitting is another option you can choose to support a spouse’s super. If the non-working or low-income-earning partner is under 65 years and not retired, the working partner can split their super into their super account. These can only be split at the end of the financial year, and some super funds may charge a fee to do so.

Disclaimer

This article is over two years old, last updated on July 5, 2017. While RateCity makes best efforts to update every important article regularly, the information in this piece may not be as relevant as it once was. Alternatively, please consider checking recent savings accounts articles.

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