1. Breastfeed. If at all possible, breastfeed your baby. Not only does breast milk provide the best nutritional value for your baby, but it will save you a ton of money on formula. If you wish to pump, most health insurance now covers breast pumps. Also, used pumps can be bought for a good price or manual pumps can be just as, if not more, effective than electric and cost a fraction of the price.
2. Cloth Diaper. If you are better at keeping up with laundry than I am, cloth diapering can save lots of money. Babies use an average of 100 diapers a month and diapers can range in price from $0.16 to $0.58 per diaper. So the price for disposables can really add up! Cloth diapers require a larger initial investment, but will be much more cost effective in the long run.
3. Avoid non-essentials. Wipes are essential. A wipe warmer, however, is not. Stick to the basic necessities and make sure baby can be fed, clothed, kept clean and has a place to sleep. A good money saving tip is to skip the bassinet and go straight to the crib which will last much longer (or practice safe co-sleeping!)
4. Don't go overboard on baby clothes. Babies grow fast. They won't be able to wear any one outfit for more than a couple of months. Don't buy 15 fancy dresses in one size. Be practical. They only need a few outfits in each size and something to sleep in.
5. Buy used. Because babies only wear clothes for a short period of time, they're the perfect item to buy used. They will have minimal wear and tear and will generally be like new! Thrift and consignment stores are great places to look for baby's clothes, toys and big ticket items like cribs and high chairs. Also check sites like Craigslist and Freecycle for cheap or even free items. We were able to get a fantastic, name brand crib completely free!
7. Make your own baby food. Pre-packaged baby food can be another source of wasted money. You can easily make your own baby foods for much cheaper in a blender or food processor. Alternatively, when you start solids, you can use baby led weaning and skip the purees altogether. The World Health Organization recommends not starting solids until 6 months of age.
8. Buy in bulk. If you're not using cloth, buy in bulk. Diapers, wipes and formula are all items to look for in bulk stores. Typically, the larger the package, the deeper the discount. The one thing to keep in mind is to not buy more than you can use. If your baby won't fit in newborn diapers for much longer, don't get the mega pack. Also, watch for coupons and specials. Target often does buy two, get a $10 gift card on their diapers which can be a great way to save in addition to their cartwheel offers.
9. Re-purpose items. Receiving blankets, clothes that don't fit and cloth diapers can all work as spit up rags. Laundry baskets work as baby bath tubs. Scarves and blankets work fine as nursing covers. Many items can work wonderfully in ways that were not their intended purpose.
10. Take what you can from the hospital. The hospital should provide you with diapers, wipes a bulb syringe and maybe more for baby. For the mother they often provide mesh underwear, feminine pads and sometimes toiletries. Take what you can to use at home!