My wife and I had been married for 3 years when we found out that we were expecting our little boys. Now going on year 4 of our marriage, we have two little boys, how is our life going to change? What new traditions will we start together as a family of 4 now?

So here is what we have started thus far for our new traditions:
1) Saturday morning breakfast – every Saturday morning, the boys and I get up at 6am, I feed them a bottle and we come downstairs and watch the news together.
2) At our church, which is a Methodist church, we observe communion once a month. Even though we take the boys to the nursery during the service, we do get them and take them to the front of the church for communion. For my wife and I, communion is a very sacred thing and we want our boys to experience that with us, as a family. The boys are too young obviously to partake in communion, but the ministers pray over them as we proceed to take communion.
3) My wife and I alternate the feedings with the boys. Most week nights, we both feed the boys at 6am and at 7pm and then obviously on the weekends, we have them all day, but we alternate feeding the boys each night, so tonight I get one and then the next night, I would feed the other baby. And whoever we feed, we put down to sleep that night.

My wife and I have tried to combine some of the traditions that we had already established and now we are creating new traditions with the boys.

What traditions have you started?

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To help prepare our two boys for their future, we setup a savings account for them at our credit union. To start off, we put $25 a month, per child to open the accounts, but have tried to maintain depositing another $50 per child a month. We have also been able to add about another $200 per due to gifts from their christening at church. This year, instead of gifts from both my grandparents and also my wife’s grandparents, they will be giving them money for Christmas to help with our long term savings goals for the boys.

A few things to consider:
1) Setting up an account at your local credit union. The benefits that I found were: no monthly fees, higher interest rates, and they provide a monthly newsletter, so when the boys get older, they will be able to color the handouts and also learn more about saving money.
2) Ask parents/grandparents for money for your children than a gift, esp. when the children are young. Why get a toy that will have a short life span, when money can grow in interest over the years.
3) You are teaching your children a valuable lesson about money and saving money. Our goal is $50 a month per child, not factoring in interest, gifts from others, etc. So by the time the boys are 18, that will be a nice starting point for the boys.

Hope these help.

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As I’ve stated previously, we are on a budget this year and for years to come. Our financial goals have changed and we have to change with them. We now are trying to pay down debt and save for the boys future, so our view of Christmas shopping had to change as well.  In a day in time where our society is over spending, we decided to take a different approach.

With only 10 days away from Christmas, my wife and I decided that this year we are giving photos of the boys to our immediate family. To save money, we took the photos, had them printed for about $0.10 a piece and then bought frames, which were on sale. Then for the rest of our friends and family, we decided to have people over for dinner one weekend. As we get older, the need to receive a gift lessens and the need to be with friends and family increases.

With this being our boys first Christmas, we have decided to get them a few small things, as we have found out that their grandparents will be getting them the more expensive toys. I think that it is more important to spend less on them this year, when they don’t really understand what Christmas is yet.

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My wife and I are often times amazed at the questions that we are asked while we are out in public. Some of my favorites and in no particular order:

Are they twins?
Did you get them at the bulk asile?
Were they a BOGO (buy one get one)?
Did you use drugs?

I would love to say that these questions are not asked very often, but I would be lying. But, the way that we look at it, is that we were blessed with twins and that it is our responsibility to raise these two boys. Now, we can either laugh off these comments or respond and most times, we just laugh them off, but there are occasion that I do have to run my mouth.

Are they twins? – Nope. We had 1 and then while walking around the block, we saw the other just sitting on a bench by himself and thought, why not?
Did you get them at the bulk asile? – Yep, they were right beside your last two brain cells.
Were they a BOGO (buy one get one)? – Are you really comparing my children to shoes? You have to be kidding me.

Life is short, have fun and don’t take things too seriously.

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Just a quick thought, but so often I hear people talk about living for the weekends and I realized, that I too live for the weekends, but not for the same reasons. I am fortunate to have bosses that encourage a work life balance and provide and environment that is family oriented, but because I only get to see the boys for an hour or two a day, on the weekend I get them all day.  I get to play with them in the floor and get them laughing at silly things. Or hold them when they cry. Or read to them before they take a nap.

So dads, do you live your life for the weekends too?

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In this economy, I think that everyone has to budget their money. And with twins, it is even more important, because their Doctor visits, Diapers, Formula, clothes, daycare, etc. So my wife and I sat down and looked at where we were financially and started making some tough decisions on what we needed to cut out. I will break out what we did before the boys were born, what we have done since the boys were born and what we are working on now.

Before the boys we did the following:
1) Read the Dave Ramsey book The Total Money Makeover
2) Used the Debt Reduction Calculator and we keep this updated on a monthly basis. This allows us to know where we are at any point in time each month.
3) After we found a nanny and decided on a price for her to keep our boys, we started taking what we would be paying her each week and putting it into savings. We needed to see what life would be like without that money. And because I have been asked a few times, we used to find our nanny and were very pleased with the service.

What we have done since the boys were born:
1) Canceled our gym memberships and instead, we take the boys to the mall and use that as our family exercise. This has saved us approximately $80 a month.
2) Cut back on eating out. We are fortunate that our boys are pretty well behaved and are very laid back when we are out in public, but cuts needed to be made and that was an easy one. So instead of eating out 2 – 3 times a week, we only eat out 1 time every two weeks. We now cook more at home and cook more so that we have enough leftovers for 2 – 3 meals. (I’m working on an entry on recipes and sites that can help with cooking) This has saved us approximately $80 a week, and actually probably closer to $100 a week if you factor in taking our lunches now.
3) Coupons and more coupons. See more about what we our coupon experience. This has saved us approximately $25 – $30 a week.
4) I would stop at Starbucks at least 5 days a week and wouldn’t think twice about it. Now, I only go once a week. A savings of $20 a week.
5) Hand Me Downs – Don’t judge. The reality is that kids only wear clothes usually a few times before they have outgrown them. With twins, double the cost, it only makes sense to hook up with someone with older kids that have outgrown their clothes, it definitely saves a lot of money.

What we still need to do:
1) Almost 2 years ago during a snow storm, pre-twins, my wife and I upgraded our Comcast package to the $200 a month plan. Now, we watch only a few channels, primarily The Food Network and sports, so we will need to scale our cable package down.  And we love Comcast and the service that we have gotten thus far, we just don’t need to spend $200 a month right now.
2) Signup for the Dave Ramsey Financial Peace University class.
3) Learn how to process our own food to cut down on paying for solid foods.
4) Increase our coupons, as this appears to be a huge savings for us.
5) Buy in bulk. Unfortunately for us, our house is small, which makes buying in bulk very limited, but when we can, we do stock up on the essentials, like diapers, formula, toilet paper, paper towels, etc.

I hope that these tips help. I have a feeling that this will be updated on a regular basis. If you have any ideas/suggestions, please feel free to share them with us.

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The day that we found out that we were pregnant, my first thought was “How much is this going to cost me? Weddings, college tuition, etc.” Then a few days later we were told, be open minded to twins and then it really hit, 2 weddings, 2 kids going to college at the same time, etc. With all of the added costs, we are limited in what we can do financially, but college is important and the cost is only rising.

Instead of my wife and I carrying the entire burden of paying for our son’s college tuition, we have asked that our parents contribute instead of buying them Christmas gifts and Birthday gifts. And since I have been a member of USAA for the last 20 years, we are looking at the USAA college savings plan.

Talk with a financial planner and ask what they recommend for the best way to pay for your children’s college tuition. But start as soon as you can, as the cost of college is only raising.

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On the way to work today the lady in front of me slammed on her brakes, causing me to rear end her. Many thoughts have since gone through my mind since the accident, but the one that comes to be mind is grateful:
1) I am grateful that the boys were not with me. Even though it was a minor fender bender,  I would rather them not be in a car accident;
2) I am grateful that we have great insurance with USAA. I can’t image being with another insurance provider.
3) I am grateful that no one was hurt.

So, even in dealing with this inconvenience, both from a time and more importantly financially stand point, I am grateful.

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