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I was lucky enough to have an entire wardrobe for the first year of my daughter's life before she was a month old! How can that be? Ah, the magic of hand-me-downs.

I'll admit that I wasn't very excited about this option at first -- after all, my daughter was brand new, didn't she deserve new clothes? I'd already gotten a bunch of new stuff at my baby shower, so when my sister-in-law offered me a couple bags of baby clothes I took them "just to check them out." I remember sitting on my couch as I displayed each garment to my husband. I couldn't believe it -- everything was practically brand new! Most were even better than brand new; the stiffness was gone, nice and soft for my daughter's tender skin.

Soon a new batch came from a cousin, and I realized I was set. I divided the bounty up according to age and stashed it in the closet, ready to go when I needed it. I was so excited, a whole wardrobe at no cost to me and no new consumption! Every time her baby garb grew a little snug I couldn't wait to pull out the next bag of clothes; what a deal! I realize how lucky I was to be a part of this hand-me-down circle.

Diaper leaks and an endless fountain of spit up (is she keeping ANYTHING down?!) drive countless wardrobe changes, so a hardy supply of basics is a must. And as every new mother realizes, by the time you carefully select the cutest coordinated outfit, pay more for it than a new shirt for yourself, get it home and wash it, she'll already have outgrown it! So, keep an eye out for relatives and friends with kids a bit older than yours and accept their discards with a smile!