Your wallet starts to take the hit even before they arrive, so prepare your finances as early as possible. We've 58 tips 'n' tricks to help give your baby the royal treatment on a commoner’s budget, whether you're expecting number one, three or more.

Level-term life insurance pays out a set amount if you die within a fixed term. It's always at a set amount regardless of when you die during the term, eg, £200, 000. While this is one policy you of course hope won't pay out, it's well worth looking into. But it's very easy to pay £1, 000s more than you need to over the life of the policy – even if you get it through a comparison site – due to huge commissions.We've a step-by-step guide to help you work out if life insurance is right for you, with key dos and don'ts and tips for getting it the cheapest way. How much you'll get will vary widely, depending on your circumstances, but this could potentially mean £1, 000s in extra cash to help. There's no reason boys can't wear pink and girls can't wear blue. But if it matters to you, and you plan to have more kids, invest in more gender-neutral colours like green and yellow. So be very careful when fitting your baby's car seat, and read the instructions fully. Fail to comply with car seat safety rules and you can be hit by a fine of up to £500 – and, more importantly, your child may not be safe in an accident.

It'll help familiarise you with what's required and stop a moment of panic in the hospital car park on the way home!

Just make sure you only take them up on the good ones!

You take a 20-minute online course on baby and child health, then do a quiz.

You need to apply before your baby is six months old, and can pick up from 150 collection points (or pay £6 for delivery). It's aimed at parents, though it is open to all. Many will want to buy a present for their baby's first birthday, but you don't need to spend a fortune on a gift to make them happy. Young kids judge presents by how much fun they have with 'em, not the price tag. She's a lifesaver and we've shared many happy sleep-deprived playdates. Create a profile and you'll be matched with local mums. Tags such as 'wine lover' and 'mum of multiples' will help you find like-minded mums. Then you can browse other mums' profiles and message them to say 'hi'. Mush recommends that you always meet other mums in public places the first time. After all, babies want cuddles, not luxury outfits. If it's your first pregnancy, you'll probably be a bit overwhelmed thinking about what stuff you might need. Much better with a blanket and a few toys on the floor. Whether reusables or disposables, it's possible to make big savings. But as a very rough guide, you'll need about 25-30 nappies and at least three wraps. Studies estimate parents could save anything between £100 to over £1, 000 using reusable nappies and there can be even more savings when the nappies are used on second and third kids. So for a larger family, the savings can really mount up. There are several types available, so it's worth trying a few. Wash covers (wraps) at 40 degrees if possible, so they last longer. Use quick-drying liners so you can dry them without using a tumble dryer. Some councils offer free starter packs or vouchers/cashback to help you save on the cost of buying reusable nappies. Check with your council to see if it offers a similar incentive scheme.

When you see these offers, it's a good idea to stock up. If bulk-buying nappies, avoid too big a stockpile, especially in smaller sizes – growth spurts mean your baby may not use them all. The price difference can run into the £100s when you're buying thousands of nappies per baby. Of course, make sure your baby's botty has no adverse reaction to shifting brands though. If you die without a will and there is no one else with parental responsibility, the courts decide who looks after your child. There's no minimum commitment, so if you want, you can simply cancel after your first delivery. Remember – don't forget to cancel your trial before the 30 days are up to avoid being charged, plus stop your subscription once you've got all you need.

You can do this in the local registry office for where the birth happened, or it can often be done at the hospital before the mother leaves. Once you're with the registrar, it generally takes about half an hour to complete the process. If would like a more detailed one, there are extra fees. It's a handy little freebie, so make sure you make the most of it while you can.

Doll Baby Buggies

Plus some can also get free eye tests, depending on where you live. Plus pregnant women or women who've had a baby in the past 12 months get free dental treatment with a valid maternity exemption certificate. In total you'll be able to use the scheme to pay for up to £10, 000 of childcare per child each year – so you could get an extra £2, 000 per child (up to £4, 000 if your child is disabled) each year. Everyone with any assets such as savings or a house, and loved ones they'd like to look after, should consider making one. It's well worth tackling as soon as possible, both for your baby and for your peace of mind. If you haven't planned for it, inheritance tax may take a hefty, unexpected chunk. Don't leave a financial nightmare for your family. Even if you've already got a will, make sure it's current.

Baby Checklist

Solicitor-drafted wills can be cheap or free to make or amend. Setting aside a little time for yourself can pay dividends, so try to give each other time off.

We sit in the kitchen batch-cooking food for the week while mum has a lie in. Don't put it off – making plans and provisions now will help to ensure they're safe and cared for if the worst happens. When you discuss it, first make sure those you've asked are prepared to do it, as it's a big commitment. Some parents find money is very tight when a little'un arrives. While this may sound tempting, it's important to understand that though you won't have to pay anything for the duration, you'll still be racking up additional interest on your mortgage each month. So the total amount you'll eventually have to pay off will increase – and your mortgage will take longer to clear as a result. If you have savings which can see you through your maternity leave, you'll likely be better off using these rather than increasing the amount you owe on your mortgage. Select your preferred brand and size, and it shows where they're cheapest, plus special offers. They just want clean, comfortable and safe clothing, not the latest labels and trends.Maternity pay is higher in the first six weeks, as you get 90% of your average weekly earnings before it's capped. The statutory level's the minimum you should get, but your individual contract may provide more. For a stick you wee on, pregnancy tests can be surprisingly pricey. Choices website to find your nearest sxual health support service. If you are going to shell out, don't assume pricier pregnancy tests are more accurate. Just because a test is from a pound shop doesn't make it less reliable.

Don't be afraid to ask for extra help from family and friends – whether it's doing the washing up or taking the baby out for the afternoon. All niceties of being a host go out the window after little sleep, sore nipples and stitches!

It has a helpline, 0300 330 0700, for practical and emotional support in pregnancy, birth and early parenthood. It can help with all sorts of issues, including help with feeding, post-natal depression and more. Gingerbread has a freephone single parent helpline for one-to-one confidential advice and info. It's paid by an employer for two weeks, usually to the baby's father, once the child has been born. This is the minimum employers must pay, but yours may choose to pay more. This means you're entitled to any pay rises given while you're away, and you still build up entitlement to any holiday days while you're off. You've also the right to return to your job if you take ordinary maternity, paternity or adoption leave. There are often extra discounts available if you've tots in tow. However, it does say it's at the manager's discretion. Adults pay for a usual ticket and under twos go free. It's unlikely you'll want to cook much in the first few weeks, let alone find the time to.It's worth noting any interest earned on money specifically given to them by a parent is only tax-free up to £100 interest, per parent or step-parent. So if your child earns more than £100, the whole lot is taxed at the parent's rate. Yet there are quick tricks to help bring costs down. Think about which features are most important to you. Is having a lightweight number more important than one with all the bells and whistles?

There are masses of different types, so draw up a list of your priorities. Also ask friends and family if they've any unused prams or pushchairs you could borrow – if you don't mind the type, it may save you having to buy one at all. Depending on the type you've got, it may even be possible to buy just the detachable carry cot if you've got the frame already, so check on the retailer's or manufacturer's website to see if it's possible for your model. Some forumites advocate getting your baby used to noise early, yet it's still handy way to get some peace after a sleepless night. If you've little time and heaps of similar small items, consider selling them as a bundle. This works especially well with baby clothes. If you're buying pricey baby equipment which you plan to sell after you've used it, forumites recommend hanging on to the boxes if you've got space. Selling items in their original boxes may help to fetch a better price, though only sell when you're sure you won't need the items again. But for many, they simply aren't worth it. When they reach 18, they can do whatever they want with it – including blowing the lot. It's also a handy way to have a clear-out while helping others.

You could be paid to take part in online surveys, which are often short enough to fill in during breaks between feedings. Some surveys can pay between £1 and £5 for just a few minutes of your time. There's lots more you can do to make extra cash, even while at home looking after kids.

Baby Car Seat

Makes you realise corners of coffee tables etc are danger zones. Remove anything that could be easily pulled over, eg, tablecloths and cables. Ensure household appliances are well out of reach, eg, irons, hair straighteners and hairdryers. Check any safety gates are fitted properly and tightly secured. Secure any furniture units to the wall, so they can't be pulled over. Remove any small objects – as well as ornaments, hunt for any overlooked stray coins or buttons they could pick up from the floor. It also has a free helpline on 0808 802 6869. If you buy masses of newborn gear they may grow out of it before they've worn it all, so it's worth stocking up on larger sizes too. Just enter your details and it'll show how much you may be entitled to. This'll help check your eligibility for all the main benefits, including council tax and housing benefit, income support and many, many more. There are masses of benefits available to help families and those on lower incomes. However, if you've already got kids and are expecting twins or triplets, you'll probably still qualify. If you're adopting a child or becoming a surrogate parent, you might also be able to get the grant. Make sure you claim within 11 weeks of the due date or within three weeks of giving birth. They offer a range of free services, including advice on breastfeeding, maternity help and parenting support. Yet they aren't just for advice – some have great free play areas and other activities for tots. Free services vary depending on your area, and the centres also offer some paid services. So if your child's due in four months, that's four months to add to your savings for baby items, so cut your cloth accordingly. Even if the baby's already here, it's never too late to do this. It'll take time to work through, but it's time well invested for your family's future. It's worth noting you should be wary of secondhand kids' car seats though, as they may have been damaged in an accident. Yet you can easily save over £1, 000 a year by doing the 'downshift challenge'. Over the years, supermarkets have hypnotised us into spending more and moving up the brand chain. Many people gradually buy increasingly more expensive versions of the same thing. If you can't, stick with the cheaper product. Drop just one brand level on everything and the average bill's cut by a third.On a £100 weekly shop, that's a whopping £1, 700 a year less. Ask them what they can smell: it'll usually be bread or a bakery. The scent makes us hungry and likely to buy more food, so the supermarket profits.

You can use 'em to test if they're right for your little 'un or just fill your days for less by hopping from freebie to freebie.

You can get a free one-class trial of its music classes, which are aimed at tots from three months to four years and involve singing and percussion instruments. This class is aimed at newborns to four-year-olds and features singing, instruments and puppets. It's for kids aged 18 months upwards (younger if they're steady on their feet). Find a class , then fill out the form to book a free trial. To book a free trial, fill out this form. Also look out for smaller independent groups near you. If you've got clothing stored from previous kids, now's the time to dig it out and reuse. Buttons can be tricky to manoeuvre on a wriggling newborn, so anything with pop-studs you can just pull apart can be a huge time saver and a godsend!

Even pop-studs can be tricky to manoeuvre on a wriggling newborn, so anything with a zip can be a huge time saver. It'll also be a godsend at 3am when your little darling's done yet another explosive one!

If you decide to breastfeed your baby, there's no need to spend a wedge on specialist nursing gear. Wearing the right clothes can make breastfeeding much easier, but with a few simple tricks, you can easily feed in normal, flattering high-street clothes – lots of which you probably already own. Plus if you want to buy new clothes, opting for standard clothes means you can wear them once you've stopped breastfeeding too. Go through your closet and hunt out anything that gives your baby easy access: tops and dresses with buttons, zips or wrap fronts. This one is a lifesaver and perfect for cooler months. In breastfeeding parlance, 'one up, one down' is when you wear a strappy vest under a normal t-shirt, top or sweater.

You can then pull up the top, and whip down the vest for easy access without exposing your tummy. Facebook group is a wonderfully supportive community of women on a quest for high street buys that look great but are also easy to feed in. The best bit is members post photos of themselves in outfits, so you can see what the clothes look like on other mums. Check out these current high street bargains. Plus if you've ever lost vouchers you can access the codes online for instant redemption, or get the vouchers re-issued. So you're worried about cut-offs with a newborn to look after, you can contact your local water company and ask to be put on its special assistance list. There are no hard and fast rules on this, so it will depend which company you're with as to what's available. So before you buy anything , use these money mantras to help keep your cash in your pocket. Gyms want you to think their prices are fixed – they're not. So, if you decide to become a member, remember to haggle. These are great for an educational (and free!) family day out. Many financial products are much pricier for smokers.The health risks are huge, and if you're pregnant the stakes are even greater. Quitting may not be easy, but both your family and your wallet will be much better off. An average smoker can save £40, 000 over 20 years when you add up not buying cigarettes, plus savings on common financial products such as life insurance.

I was 12, came from a house where both parents smoked even though we had no money for holidays, etc. There's loads of free and cheap support available. Babies grow up so quickly, so try to spend less time worrying and more time enjoying yourselves together. Their first laugh is a sound you will never forget.Kids are hard work, but the best thing in the world.

We aim to look at all available products. This is a warning for parents of all teenagers. For all the latest deals, guides and loopholes - join the 12m who get it.