While I know that people should be financially secure before deciding to have children, I also know that's not the way things pan out. I was almost nineteen when I fell pregnant and ended up having to leave home and find a way to make it work. I know the reality of the situation is that even if you have an income it can be tight financially without factoring in another human life. The magazines will have you believe that you really need everything they print, Mothercare will make me you die a little inside when you tally up the cost of all that you need and with big headlines such as 'It takes on average £100,000 to raise a child' it is daunting. However, it doesn't have to be. There are ways to cut costs that are not dangerous or neglectful.
Cut out the formula
I am a complete advocate for breastfeeding. Not only is it free, there's no preparation for feeds, it has dozens of health benefits for both mother and baby and it can help the mother lose weight. I understand that some women don't do it for health reasons or because they have numerous problems (I gave up after two months with both after numerous bouts of mastitis and pain) but it's a free way of feeding your baby nutrients and since babies shouldn't have solids until six months it's a significant saving.
Buy second hand
There's some taboo with buying second hand for babies but I promise you, it's the way forward. Apart from second hand mattresses and car seats any other second hand items are fine and could save you a lot of money. For instance, our cot cost £500. I bought it for £100 and spent £80 on a mattress saving me £320. Prams and pushchairs can also be bought second hand and washed/wiped down as can clothes, toys and other bedroom furniture.
I promise you that your baby isn't going to need fifteen books, twenty stuffed toys and electronic toys. In the first few months babies are honestly more interested in your eyes, fingers, the tv, the hoover - basically, anything but their toys. I bought a lot of toys the first time around brand new and it wasn't long before I realised my error. With my second daughter I already knew what does and doesn't work. As they get older sensory play outweighs any bought toy.
Go to a charity shop and wash them when you get home. Shop in supermarket clothes ranges (George at Asda do an amazing range of children's clothes). Your baby will undoubtedly spit up all over the brand new £11 cardigan from Next and stain it orange. You'll deal with at least three completely exploding poo filled nappies. Plus, I found half of the time my babies were in vests and babygro's, not the elaborately put together outfits I'd bought. Comfort and ease (especially with washing) when you're at home is the best thing. Also, your two month old does not need shoes. They honestly don't.
Make your own food
Buy a handheld food processor and it will be a lifesaver. With pre-made baby food costing anywhere between 40p and £2 a jar if you make your own vegetables, puree them yourself and freeze until needed you'll save without realising. I still used pre-made food for outings but at home I just pureed everything we were eating from pies and cooked dinners, chicken, fruit or just vegetables alone, spooned them into an old takeaway container and froze until the night before necessary when I defrosted. I made a week's worth of meals from our food shopping plus an extra £2 of vegetables.
Name brand doesn't mean best brand
If you decide against reusable nappies as I did, don't be fooled by Pampers and Huggies. I tried the value brands and while the £2 for 30 are not great, Boots own brand (less than £5 for 30+, usually on offer) are fantastic and actually hold leaks in much better than both Pampers and Huggies. Ignore the cute baby on the TV with their bum inside a Pampers nappy telling you about their fantastic new discovery of elasticated leg holes and venture out into the cheaper world.
Wipes are just wipes
While the Pampers wipes in the orange pack smell the best and the Huggies wipes are absolutely crap - on the whole, wipes are wipes. Go to Asda, Boots, Tesco etc as they all have their own range around 80p for 80-100 wipes (choose sensitive if you're unsure about using them on your baby) and save yourself almost a pound a time. Babies go through a lot of wipes, by the way.
I am in no way a baby expert and if you're ever in doubt, go with your gut. This is not a guide on how to parent or what you must do but they are a few tips that have worked for me and saved a lot of money in the process.