Raising children can be a costly adventure. Every parent wants to give their child the best possible start in life but managing the extra costs is a major challenge for many people. Fortunately, there are many ways you can cut those costs and save money. Here are ten ideas that can help you save a great deal of money.

1. Take advantage of any government support, benefits or child tax credits you may be entitled to. Check government websites to determine what is available as well as information on how to apply for various benefits.

2. If at all possible, build yourself a financial safety net before your child is born. If you don’t have the pressure of returning to work too soon you can save thousands in childcare costs. Nurseries and child care centers can be very expensive and the longer you are able to care for your own child, the better.

3. Consider breast feeding. Although baby formula is convenient, it is also very expensive. Breast milk is completely free and offers many nutritional and health benefits.

4. Resist the urge to outfit your baby in the latest infant fashions. Babies grow out of their clothes very quickly and as a result, it is easy to find gently used baby clothes. Ask friends and family for hand-me-downs and check out yard and car boot sales as well as charity shops.

5. Borrow or buy used baby equipment. All of the equipment babies need for comfort and safety can add up to a great deal of money. While it’s important to equip yourself with a new car seat that meets safety standards, most other items like bassinettes, cribs, prams, pushchairs, potty chairs etc. can be borrowed from friends and family or purchased used at a fraction of the cost.

6. Wait for baby sales. If you want to buy new items for your child, find out when specialty shops and department stores are having their special baby sales. This is the best time to shop for any nursery fixtures and other baby paraphernalia, as the stores are clearing out their old inventory to make room for fresh stock and you can get what you need at deeply discounted prices.

7. Make your own baby food. It’s easy to do and all you need is a blender. Homemade baby food is not only much less expensive than store bought processed food; it can also be more nutritious and potentially safer. You can cut costs even further by buying the raw ingredients in bulk and freezing meal portions. As you control the ingredients, you can ensure that your child is getting all of the nutrients and vitamins they need.

8. Join a toy library. Toys can be expensive and children can lose interest in them quickly. Community toy libraries can give you access to a large range of stimulating toys for your child at minimal cost.

9. Make the most of baby freebies and discounts. If you search “baby freebies” or “free baby samples” online you will find that there is a wealth of free baby stuff available. You can get free samples or discount coupons for diapers, wipes, formula, bath accessories, parenting magazines and videos, children’s books and myriad other items. Companies that specialize in baby products, vying for loyal customers, are more than happy to provide you with free gifts.

10. Join parenting groups or on-line chat groups specifically for parents. There are a number of groups that are devoted to sharing information and tips on how to cut down the costs of raising a child.

Saving money on baby costs just makes good sense. It is not going to deprive your child of anything they need to thrive. And you can always invest the money you save in a college fund.

My name is Muzammil Bashir. I’m the Senior Editor of Freestuff Find some great freebies because ‘everyone loves a freebie’.