Children are expensive. Clothes, diapers, juice, organic milk, and all the latest gadgets and toys add up. And we’re not even talking about private school or college… yet. But there are plenty of ways you can cut costs and make sure they have what they need without emptying your bank accounts.

Don’t buy anything new for your new baby. I know it sounds cruel, but you’ll be amazed how many people are dying to pass along that bassinet (it’s just taking up space in their house), and those cute outfits that got worn once (babies often skip a size). Also, no one can resist buying stuff for a new baby, and the presents are going to pour in. Register and then relax. You’re going to have more than you need. 

Make friends with other moms in that prenatal yoga or birthing class. How can it save you money? Other moms are eager to tell you where they got a bargain (the cheapest diapers, wipes and other essentials.). And they may be up for babysitter shares or babysitting swaps. Both help cut costs, and make you feel less isolated when your only companion is a shrieking six-week-old. 

Be open to hand me downs. While not being pushy, you can let people know (with kids of the same sex but older) that you’re open to receiving anything they want to pass down. Lots of people love to clean out the closet and feel good about doing it. Just make sure you return the favor (it’s a Zen thing) and pass on everything you don’t want or need any longer. 

Go to yard sales. Kids toys are expensive, but the well-made stuff lasts. I bought wooden alphabet blocks, Thomas the Tank Engine trains, Legos, and books at yard sales. My son could care less that they weren’t new and I saved a bundle. 

Use the library. Not only does our local library have a weekly storytime, but they also have tons of children books, CD’s, DVD’s and videos we can borrow for free. My son looks forward to our weekly trips, and he gets to experience a plethora of new authors and stories without me having to buy them all. 

Learn how to say no. Your child is going to ask for a lot of things over the course of their life, and the sooner you learn to say no the better. It’ll keep them from being spoiled, but it will also help them learn the value of a dollar. And that’s priceless.