This is for all you pregnant people...
1. I use plastic bibs instead of cloth - this doesn't work well when baby is drooling due to teething, but it is great when baby is eating. Just wipe off food and drink, and toss in the wash every now and then. I wish I had done this from the start, instead of wasting time and a lot of money on stain spray and rewashing bibs.
2. I buy juice in big containers - sure, the Gerber four-pack is cute and convenient, but so what? I just make sure that the juice I buy is 100% juice (and either on sale or I have a coupon for that week), and then I transfer the juice into a small reusable Rubbermaid bottle for when I'm on the go. I did buy the Gerber juice for vacation, however.
3. I use a reusable bottle for water - when I have to make formula on the go, I use water that I've packed that morning from a reusable Rubbermaid bottle, or from a reused 20 oz. bottled water container (I wash them thoroughly after each use). Since I only use filtered water for my son's bottles, this way I know what I'm putting in his bottle is actually filtered, not to mention cheaper and more ecologically sound.
4. I didn't use formula unless I had to the first 8 1/2 months. Need I say more? Unless circumstances prevented it at the time, most bottles had all-natural. I stopped once he started crawling, and I estimated that I saved $150 each month for those months.
5. I use store-brand formula. I didn't do this at first because my son used Alimentum, which doesn't have a store-brand version. But once he could have regular formula, switch! The nutritional info is nearly the same, and some store brands are made by the same companies that make name-brand formula.
6. I buy store-brand diapers - unless there is a sale AND I have a coupon, I use Target's brand of diapers (WalMart doesn't work well for boys). I pay around 14-16 cents a diaper for size 4, and I have paid 11 cents. When you go through 8-10 a day, the savings really add up! I will say, however, that Luvs diapers are reasonably priced if you buy a real brand. I also use Huggies Overnight diapers during the night - otherwise, I'm up at 2 AM with a crying son, changing wet sheets and pjs.
7. I make my own baby food - I buy fresh or frozen fruits and veggies, cook them, and then toss them in my food processor with a little juice or water, and voila! Much cheaper than most baby food, which is 40-60 cents a container. I don't used canned fruits and veggies because most of them have sodium, and there are concerns that metal might seep into the food from the can and impede brain development. For meat, I make a plain version of what I'm making for dinner, and mash or puree it. Now that my son is older, I occasionally give him what we're having, depending on the seasoning. This sounds time-consuming, but for the fruits and veggies, I do it all in a few hours and freeze it in individual portions.
8. I make my own baby wipes - I gladly used store-bought wipes from my showers, but once I ran out, I only had to buy wipes a few times before I decided to make my own. I actually prefer the homemade ones, as they are wetter and not as rough. I do buy wipes for when we are traveling and to put in his wipes case in his diaper bag, but it takes months to empty a container.
9. I buy baby clothes from consignment and thrift stores, or on retail clearance - I don't have a problem with hand-me-downs, and it's not like my son cares, so why not? This way, I get to buy more clothes for the same amount of money. As for retail clearance, some clothes will eventually go on clearance for less than what you would pay at a thrift store. You just have to keep checking. I've gotten shirts and shorts for 90 cents, brand new.
10. I buy toys at consignment shops and thrift stores - I examine the toys very carefully, and I check to make sure that they haven't been recalled.
11. I buy gender-neutral clothes - as hubby and I don't know when or if about the second munchkin, I try to buy mostly clothes that a girl could get away with wearing. I will buy "manly man" clothes for my son, but usually only for church or an event.
12. I got rid of my diaper genie - to me, this item didn't work very well at containing odors, no matter what I tried. Since we empty all our trash at least once a day, I just use the trashcan for wet diapers. For dirty diapers, I place the diaper in a plastic bag, tie it up, and then place it in the trash. I find that the bags that newspapers come in and bags that produce come in are just the right size. I actually get two uses out of these bags. After I put the first diaper in, I knot it close to the diaper, cut it loose, and then tie a knot where I just cut. The second diaper will then be placed in a bag that has a knot at each end. Since I only get a newspaper once a week, and only a few produce bags a week, this really helps. Dollar stores will sometimes carry baggies for dirty diapers, 100 for $1. If you can't find those, bags for doggy pooper-scoopers work just as well, and they cost 1/2 as much as the Munchkin or Eddie Bauer bags made for this purpose.
13. I use washcloths instead of napkins or paper towels when feeding. My son is messy, and rather than use napkins or paper towels to wipe face and hands, I use one of the dozens of baby washcloths that I received as shower presents. I just rinse it out and toss in the wash the next time I do laundry. I don't worry about stain spraying these, because I figure they'll be worn out by the time the next kid arrives anyway. I do make sure that I only use solid-color washcloths for this, however. I save the cute ones and the white ones for bathtime.
Whew! I hope this helps someone out there! I'm sure some of you veteran mothers have even more tips that I have never even thought of!