When a baby arrives, it is very easy to spend lots of money on what are perceived to be essential items of equipment such as prams, cots, clothes and toys. Saving money is difficult and presents a dilemma as you want the very best for your baby, but there are limits to what a typical income can purchase.

Finding appropriate ways to save money as a new parent means being savvy about the items that you should buy new and those that can be second-hand (or 'pre-loved').

Most people would agree that mattresses should be bought new for hygiene reasons, and to be sure that it complies with the latest standards for safety. A particularly important item is a car seat, and these should be bought new as it is not worth the risk of any defect affecting its performance. A close friend or relative might be an acceptable source, but be certain that they share your fastidiousness.

If you choose to buy some items second-hand, then it pays to be in a network of people who want to pass these items on. Toddler and baby groups are a good way to hear about items for sale. Prams and pushchairs that are good quality will generally be in acceptable condition after using for one baby although cheaper brands may be at the end of their useful life. Be choosy about what you buy and you can get a good deal. Make sure that fabrics can be removed and washed, particularly where they are likely to be in contact with your baby. Auction sites are useful places for these higher value items.

Clothes and toys can be found in charity shops at very low cost, and are often passed on by friends and family too. Babies grow so quickly it is not uncommon to find clothes that have only been worn once or twice. Look for good quality items that will wash and wear well, and you may be able to pass them on to others after your own baby has used them. Check all toys for any damage that might leave a sharp edge or loose pieces that could present a hazard.

By following these few simple tips you should be able to economise on some things, leaving more money to purchase good quality new items that you need.