From Trish Regan, TODAY contributor and co-anchor of CNBC's "The Call" (M-F 11 a.m. - 12 p.m. ET), When I was about four months pregnant, I braved my first trip to one of those giant supermarket-style baby stores. Wow. I had never seen anything like it. The store was packed floor to ceiling with every imaginable product. There was even an entire row just for bottles! My head spinning, I did a full walk-through of the store, even making my way downstairs to its lower level, which was decked out with strollers, cribs and about 40 different kinds of bouncy seats. Who knew there was so much STUFF that a baby could possibly need? You could spend a fortune. The key would be figuring out exactly what was essential. Luckily, a friend who had just had twins wrote up a list of essentials for me, which I've been referring to diligently as I’ve been shopping online. It's definitely helped me separate what I will actually need from what I think looks like something I MIGHT need. I still have a few weeks to go before the babies arrive and I think I'm pretty much set. I have a lot of things on order (hopefully the cribs arrive in time!) And although babies do need a lot, it's important not to get carried away. And for parents of twins, the reality is, you actually don't need two of everything. Here is a short list of money-saving tips I put together for new or expecting moms. I hope it's helpful to you! Live nowA helpful budgeting tip before the baby arrives: Pretend your baby is already here and start living on a “baby budget”. In other words, begin pulling out of your monthly budget the money you’ll need. Consider what it’s going to cost you for your child, including daycare, formula, diapers, etc. That money should all be placed in a special account. So, if it will cost you $1,200 a month to cover these expenses, start pulling $1,200 a month out of your budget and put it into savings. It will help you realize what your new budget will be like while at the same time, enable you to save. Establish a childcare emergency fundStart a childcare emergency fund -- three months of childcare expenses or as much as you can afford. Reassess your living spaceMany mothers think they’ll need to move to create more room for the baby. If you can do this cheaply, fine. But rather than move to a more expensive home or apartment, consider ‘decluttering’ your current space. Babies don’t need much space and you’re better off saving your money for all the unexpected expenses that will occur. Make sure you have a will
Name a guardian and purchase term life insurance so that if something happens to you, your child will be provided for. Term life insurance is inexpensive compared to whole and will give you much piece of mind. Save for college now
Eighteen years may seem like a long way off, but it will go by quicker than you think. So, start saving for college now. Look into state 529 plans. They enable your savings to grow tax-free. Breast feed
Not only is it better for your baby and for you, breastfeeding is free while formula can cost $2,000 a year. A breast bump can be rented cheaply or purchased for about $300. Be a minimalist
As much as you may think you’ll need all the different baby gear, toys and paraphernalia, the reality is: You won’t. Try to get by on just the basics. It means less clutter in your home and your wallet will thank you. Buy generic and in bulk
Don’t blow your budget on the hippest new stroller or on designer baby clothes. Your baby won’t know the difference, but your budget will. Diapers are a lot cheaper at Costco than they are at the corner market. (Plus, you can never have enough diapers!) Twins
When expecting twins, paying attention to budget issues is even more important. You don’t need two of everything. Instead, allow your babies the opportunity to learn how to share from the beginning. For example, only one baby tub is necessary (since you can’t bath them both at once), only one changing table, and there’s certainly no need to have two of every toy. Having twins also means, two kids in college at the same time, two kids at the doctor’s office, two kids in braces. It’s double trouble for your budget. This is why it’s critical to be vigilant with your money. Know where it’s going and think twice about what it is that you really need. Don't forget to save for YOURSELF
As much as you may need to focus on the expenses of a new baby, it's critical that you continue putting money away for your own retirement in a 401k plan. That money is saved tax-free and it grows tax-free so there's a double benefit. Have money-saving tips or tricks of your own? Share them here.