One of the first books I bought when I was pregnant with Alex was Baby Bargains. I knew that this parenting gig would be expensive! I followed the book's advice and bought a new crib and new car seats (to avoid unknowingly buying a recalled item). In addition, we have been fortunate to receive nice gifts and hand-me-downs for Alex, and I try to "pay it forward".
When I do need to purchase other items for Alex, I lean towards used items if possible. One of my favorite stores is Kid-to-Kid, where I consistently find good quality items there. I've also had some success at yard sales and Goodwill, but you have to look through more items to find what you need.
My recent good deals have included Mega Blocks, pajamas, and other toys. Alex seems to be enjoying his "new" toys. If I can't find the item used, I try to find items on sale or use a coupon.
I have found another benefit to used items besides saving money. It also saves me some stress. Toddlers get messy! Between art projects at daycare and food, stains can happen. If an item of clothing is ruined, then I don't worry about it. As Alex grows out of his clothes and toys, I am happy to pass them along instead of worrying about the money spent on them. Ok, I'm off to check the laundry...