And I won't go into the benefits of buying household items secondhand. We have purchased 75% of our furniture secondhand, but I dare you to come to my house and tell me what we bought new and what we bought used. Not to mention all of the fun random stuff that you can find.
As for the Dollar Store, you would be surprised at the brands they have available. If you are throwing a birthday party, go to the Dollar Store first. If you crafting, go to the dollar store first. We get most of our art supplies from the dollar store, not to mention birthday gifts, stocking stuffers, party favors, pinata filler, wrapping paper, and so on.
2. Buy clothes off season. If at all possible to guess what size your children will be this time next year, shop clearance racks. I have found that the best time to go is in January when stores are trying to clear out winter clothes to make way for Spring. And in the summer go shopping at the end of July for summer clothes. You can get things at thrift store prices around these times. Best values: Winter Coats. You won't have as big of a selection, but I have always been able to find something.
3. Use expensive diapers at night and the cheaper ones during the day. It took me a long time to figure this one out. And if you use cloth diapers, more power to you. (That just wouldn't work for us, for a number of reasons that you don't want to know. . .) So, as an alternative, find the cheapest diapers that still work for you and use those during the day, then buy the expensive ones and only use those at night. Doing this has effectively stopped my need to change the sheets on the crib every. Single. Night.
4. If you have a baby sign up for coupons. Most baby companies (diapers, formula, wipes, etc.) have a coupon program. Generally, you can sign up while you are pregnant either online or at the Dr.'s office. Just Google the brand along with coupons (i.e. search: enfamil coupons) and it will bring up a form to fill out. I didn't use formula with my last baby, so I gave the $5 checks to some friends who could use them. I do, however, use just about every diaper coupon that I get.
I know. Four is kind of a random number. But here comes the fun part. I gave you all of my tips, now you share yours with me!