If you are a first-time parent, your excitement of bringing home your first child can give way to a spending spree like none other. Babies have a curious effect on moms and dads everywhere, and people who are usually budget-conscious will shell out tons to make sure that they’re doing right by their new child. This is understandable. After all, parenting is the most difficult and important task any of us will ever take on, and we want to make sure we’re doing everything right.

The fact of the matter is, however, that spending a lot of money doesn’t equate to good parenting. Save your money on newborn stuff for your child’s college fund. Here are some tips on avoiding the expense traps to which so many new parents succumb.

1. For every item marketed to newborns you consider purchasing, see if there’s a cheaper equivalent.

There are millions of baby products out there, and they all seem so utterly necessary. However, most of the time, many of these products are simply a rehashed, repackaged version of items you may already own or could potentially purchase at much cheaper prices. For example, tables designed for changing diapers are pretty much the same as any regular table. Diaper bags can be fashioned from tote bags you probably already have.

2. Seek secondhand items from friends and family.

Many families keep baby items, whether because their harboring some sense of nostalgia or because they simply haven’t gotten around to having a garage sale yet. Since babies grow so fast, many used clothing items are hardly worn out, so they’re basically as good as new. Ask your friends and family, they’ll be all too happy to get rid of some of their unused baby products.

3. Buy diapers in bulk.

Diapers will perhaps be the most frequent purchase you’ll make for your newborn baby. They can start to add up to a lot, so be sure to buy diapers in large, bulk quantities, which are often heavily discounted.

4. Make your own baby food.

Baby food is expensive. Those little jars of Gerber add up to a pretty penny, when they really don’t contain any food items that you can’t whip up yourself. What with all the preservatives and other additives in pre-packaged baby food, making your own will be healthier for your baby, too. Just purchase a small food processor and blend together some veggies or fruits, and voila! Instant baby food.

5. Babies are easily amused, so don’t shell out for fancy toys.

When I had my first child, my baby would quickly become bored with all the toys that my husband and I spent literally hundreds on. She’d chuck these cutting-edge toys for simple things like wood blocks. When it comes to toys, keep it simple.

These are just a few ways you can save when your new bundle of joy arrives. It goes without saying that parenting is one of the most difficult things you’ll ever do. Focusing on caring and nurturing, however, doesn’t have to be expensive. Don’t let commercials fool you into thinking otherwise.

This guest post is contributed by Olivia Coleman, who writes on the topics of online colleges and universities. She welcomes your comments at her email Id: olivia.coleman33 @gmail.com.