From door handles to baby gates to the cabinets under the sink, we do a thorough job of child-proofing our homes.

But do we make sure our finances are child-proof?

With children come new expenses. Expenses that can get out of control if we don’t have a plan.

This 3 part series is part of that plan.

Here are the first 7 tips for child-proofing your finances…

1. Get Free Products

Sign up for baby clubs of products you use.

They will send you coupons for things you’re already buying.

Free products

You can also get samples from your OBGYN or pediatrician. I did not pay for prenatal vitamins the entire time I was pregnant (and for a couple months after I gave birth). My OB gave me what I needed.

This can also be true for some prescriptions at the doctor’s office. I can’t tell you how many times I didn’t have to buy a prescription because I asked the doctor for free samples.

2. Don’t Say “No” to Baby Showers

They take time, but what you get is completely FREE.

If you get stuff you won’t use, just return it for stuff you actually need.

3. Use Cloth Diapers

Using cloth diapers is not only great for your baby’s skin, but it can save hundreds over the span of the diapering age.

use cloth diapers to save money

I chose to do a mixture of cloth and disposable. I use disposable when my child sleeps so I don’t have to change him every time he wakes up (plus, it’s easier to get him back to sleep).

I also use disposable diapers when we go into public or when someone else watches him away from home. Then I don’t have to tote dirty diapers.

I end up using 1 or 2 disposable diapers a day instead of 6-10 or even more!

I have heard of babies using upwards of 20 per day!

You can also use wash cloths instead of wipes. You can dampen them with water and add a little Witchhazel to the mix if/when they get a diaper rash.

4. Breastfeed

If you are able to, breastfeed your baby. It saves time and money.

With our first child, I was unable to produce enough milk, so I breastfed as much as I could, then supplemented with formula for the rest of her diet.

Also, be sure to check with your hospital or insurance provider if you need a breast pump. Sometimes they are free or at least discounted. You can also rent one from some hospitals.

5. Be Smart About Baby Food

Solid baby foods can be made in a blender or food processor. You can feed your baby whatever you are eating (make sure to introduce foods according to what your pediatrician suggests).

Homemade baby food

You can also buy canned veggies and process/blend those for quick feedings.

For the ease of it you could try canned pumpkin or unsweetened apple sauce. It’s already a good consistency.

6. Don’t Pay Retail for Your Car Seat

Make sure to get your car seat from a trusted source.

Always check to see if the car seat has been in an accident and check it’s expiration date (they have expiration tags on the bottom).

That being said, a car seat can be a great hand-me-down from friends or family. Or you can always reuse one from an older child.

Another tip: check with your insurance company. Some of them offer new car seats for $25 and most insurance companies will reimburse you for car seats that need to be replaced.

7. Plan Ahead

Have a small bag in the car with a few diapers, some wipes, a change of clothes and some snacks.

This will keep you from having to make “spur of the moment” purchases when something unexpected happens.

The Rest of the Tips

Good news! That’s not all. There are 14 more tips.

This is the first article in a 3 part series. Part 1 | Part 2 | Part 3.

Don’t miss all 21 tips!

Photo Credit: artnoose, Ken Hawkins, Lori Ann, Harry Chen