Jul 23 2008

Strategies for saving money on maternity wear

I’m not quite to the point of needing maternity clothes, but I know that the day will come soon when my regular clothes no longer fit.

I’ve never enjoyed shopping for clothes, and I certainly don’t want to spend much money on items I’ll get to wear for just a short time.

Here are some ideas for saving money:

Go through your closet and take a quick inventory of what you already have. Don’t forget to look at your husband’s clothes, too. Shane has some track pants and sweatshirts I’ll be able to use. I’ve grouped together loose-fitting tops and skirts that I should still be able to wear for awhile.

Before shopping for anything, make a list of what you need. That way, you won’t be tempted by clearance sales or eBay deals and go overboard. I want a few pair of jeans, black pants, long-sleeved shirts, a few t-shirts for layering or for warmer days, a sweater or two, some button-up shirts, pregnant lady undergarments, and a few dresses, for example. I have yet to decide how many of these items I want to buy.

By sticking to my list, I should have enough outfits to get me through a variety of situations–from everyday wear to church to dinner out.

Set a budget. Now that you know what you need to buy, you should be able to estimate how much it will cost. Not sure how much a pair of maternity pants will cost? Check a few online stores to see the going rate, and try to beat it.

Personally, I’m going to do my best to clothe myself for under $175–maybe even under $150 if I can find some incredible deals. I don’t want to spend much money on these clothes since I’ll just be in them a short while. I hope to have several children, so I might get some use out of these clothes again in the future (depending on the season), but I’d rather spend my money on things for the baby–or heck, even a babymoon :).

Borrow from friends! If you have friends who recently had a baby, perhaps you can borrow some of her maternity clothes. I don’t know anyone who can loan me clothes, but that’s ok. I’ll just get to be the lender for when my friends need something!

Consider using a “belly band” to allow you to wear your pre-pregnancy pants for a longer time. I bought one at Motherhood Maternity for just under $17.

Go thrifting! You never know what you’ll find a good thrift store. Since inventory changes all the time, if you enjoy thrifting, you might want to make several visits to their maternity racks. So far, I haven’t had any luck finding decent maternity clothes at my area thrift stores. Everything has been incredibly ugly!

Hit up clearance racks. So far, I’ve had some luck at Target and Old Navy. Both have clearance sections for their maternity lines. I picked up a black dress (I think it looks great as a non-maternity item, too!) for $7.48 and two 3/4 length cotton T shirts at Old Navy for $3.99 each. In Pennsylvania, you don’t pay sales tax on clothes. Yay.

I plan to make regular visits to these stores to find great items that have been significantly discounted.

Decide where to splurge and where to save. If there’s one item of clothing I’m willing to spend a little more on, that would be a good pair of jeans. No frumpy mom pants for me, thankyouverymuch! I like a long inseam, which unfortunately can’t be found at stores such as Motherhood Maternity. Old Navy and Target might have long jeans, but the stores here don’t have their preggo jeans out yet. Old Navy online does have jeans with a long inseam, however.

Try eBay. I’ve seen huge lots of clothing sell for a fairly reasonable price. Only bid if you like a majority of the clothes listed, and are confident you’ll be able to work them into your wardrobe. No sense in buying a 20-piece box of clothes if you only like five items.

Some people run eBay stores that offer maternity clothes NWT (new with tags). You can get some great deals here! Since you can’t return them to the seller because of a sizing issue, try to try on the item in a brick and mortar store first, if possible.

One of the Gap stores here in tahn carries the maternity line, and I plan to visit it soon to try on their pants. If I like them, then I’ll try to buy them on eBay. Many auctions are going for under $25 with shipping, which is a decent price, especially considering Gap jeans can cost up to $78 regular price! Twenty-five bucks is my price to beat, as that’s the price of Old Navy maternity jeans on sale right now.

Don’t buy your wardrobe all at once. This is hard for me, because I just want to get it over with! However, I don’t know when my belly will “pop” and I don’t know how I’ll carry. I could carry low and compact, high and wide, or way stuck out there like a watermelon smuggler.

I’m going to shop for my clothes in a few stages: Things to get me started, things to fill in the gaps, and things to wear when I’m massive.

Use MyPoints gift cards. I’ve earned a few gift cards from them so far and I almost have enough points to redeem a $25 gift card. I’ll probably get it for Target or Old Navy, but I’m leading toward Target since I’ll be able to use the card for other things in the store I might need (baby things, groceries, etc.).

Haven’t signed up with MyPoints yet? E-mail me so I can send you a referral link! I’ll get some points for that. Thanks!

When buying online, use Ebates (or MyPoints, if it’s a better deal) to get some cash back on your purchase. Right now, you can get 4 percent cash back with Ebates at Target.com, 5 percent back at Motherhood Maternity online, and 3 percent cash back from Ann Taylor Loft.

With MyPoints, you can earn 5-10 points per dollar spent at Target.com, 4 points per dollar at Old Navy.com, and 2 points per dollar at Ann Taylor Loft, for example. If you’ve never made a purchase on eBay, you can get 500 points when you register and make a bid.

Got any tips to share?

24 Responses to “Strategies for saving money on maternity wear”

  1. Many children’s consignment shops sell maternity clothes. You may pay more than at a thrift shop, but they should have a much greater variety. This is something I didn’t know when I was pregnant, but after I had my daughter, I consigned all of my maternity clothes and made quite a bit of money – certainly more than if I had sold them at a yard sale.

  2. Don’t forget to check Kohls…I just found a great sweater that looks like it has a buttondown under it for $9.80 on the clearance rack.

    Dressy enough for work or church…but comfortable enough for everyday!

  3. Kacie, you are forgetting I’ve got 2 kids. That means maternity clothes galore! I’m too short to share pants, but have plenty of tops I can get to you! :)

  4. It’s a great time style-wise to be pregnant, because empire waists and blousy tops are IN. One of my girlfriends bought a belly band, a couple of high-waisted dresses, and a few tops (none of which were maternity) and she was fine. She was HUGE, so if she can do it, I think nearly anyone could. The clothes were great post-pregnancy, when she was working off the baby-weight because they weren’t too body-conscious, and they’re still in-style!

  5. Hey there!
    Yeah, be sure to check out the clearance racks at Gap. I just got a pair of nice maternity jeans there for $10! And I’ve also checked the regular Gap clearance racks and found a few stray maternity items (that others have returned, I think). My SIL is pretty small and she was able to get by on a lot of her husbands stuff for around the house, borrowed a few things, and bought a couple of those peasant style tops that are good post-preggers too. I’ll let you know if I find any awesome deals out there. :)
    PS. our sono is tomorrow! I can’t wait!!

  6. I was going to make the same suggestion as Tammy’s. I invested a lot of money in maternity clothes. I couldn’t get many hand me downs because I was so petite even when pregnant. But with my last child I found a mternity shop that sold very stylish maternity clothes.

    I would suggest investing in a few pairs a pants with the section for the tummy to nestle into. They will be a life saver. Also if you are anything like me…once my tummy was pretty big it was hard to sit crossed legged or with my legs together for that matter. So go for long dresses if you decide on getting some.

    Are you planning on doing anything like getting a mold of your tummy, our taking pre-pregnancy portraits?

    Hadias’s last blog post..The Children’s Shade Garden

  7. Not pre-pregnancy…I meant photos while you are still pregnant?

    Hadias’s last blog post..The Children’s Shade Garden

  8. We’ll do photos of some kind (we’ll do them ourselves) but probably no belly mold.

  9. I didn’t read all the comments so i don’t know if this has been said… BUT with your existing jeans, Take a stretch hair tye, and loop it through the button whole, then loop the rounded ends of the hair tye over your button for instant extra room =) I know women who were able to go their entire pregnancy wearing their own jeans thanks to this trick. =)

  10. The hair tie trick is a great one for pregnancy or for uh…Thanksgiving dinner :) hehe. I’m going to try it on my pants, and depending on how I carry, maybe I can get away with it for awhile!

  11. Old Navy.com has had some good clearance lately on maternity clothes. It might not be the right season for you, but it’s worth taking a look. If you’re interested in having additional belly bands, you should check into buying some kind of stretchy fabric to make a couple. I couldn’t find a way to work $17 into my budget during my pregnancy, so I bought half a yard of white and black swimsuit fabric, and my mom sewed them into a tube for me. It cost me less than $5 for both fabric pieces, and I had enough to make four belly bands!

    I also saw on another website that someone made them from a ribbed, stretchy tanktop-like material. You could buy fabric like that, or you could keep an eye for some clearance tanktops. Just buy them small and cut the top off! No sewing required!

    I am also dreading shopping for maternity clothes. I have some items from my first pregnancy, but I predominantly needed fall and winter clothing during my first pregnancy. This time around I’ll need some summer items as well. Thanks for the suggestion of ebay. I’ve never check them out for maternity clothes.

    Risha’s last blog post..Diaper giveaway

  12. I found myself most comfortable in my husbands t-shirts and sweatpants on the weekends.

  13. Congrats again on your pregnancy. Some people get along fine with their husbands sweatpants and shirts, and the belly band will take you A LONG WAY. I wore mine fore MONTHS and MONTHS. I think I was still wearing it 3 months post-partum. I strongly recommend getting a nice pair of comfortable maternity jeans. Most people say maternity clothes are worn for only a short while, but it will feel like forever, so get something (or borrow something) that you will like and enjoy wearing for about a year. Also – I did not need ANY maternity underwear. I think the ones I bought were a waste. As long as your underwear goes under your belly, you will probably be able to continue wearing them (although everyone is different). Me personally – I had to spend a ton of money on new bras…which was pretty awesome I must say! ;) anyway, I hope your pregnancy is going well!!

  14. Be careful about wearing normal clothes as maternity clothes. I was so excited that a regular black skirt fit me through most of my pregnancy, but then when I put it on after my baby was born, I realized I had just stretched it out! Same thing with a bunch of shirts. So, while I thought I was saving so much money by just wearing some of my old clothes, in reality I didn’t since I needed to go out and buy some more clothes to replace the stretched out ones!

  15. Lol! That’s certainly not in the plan. I’ll be mindful of that–thanks for the suggestion.

  16. great tips! my best friend is due any time now and i don’t think she spent much on maternity clothes at all…she borrowed from friends for most of it.

    also, pregnancy photos are so nice! an old friend of mine had some done with her and her husband. she wore a white button up blouse that was unbuttoned halfway up so her belly was exposed, and some black pants. her hubby wore just jeans, and they had the pictures done in B&W against a white sheet backdrop (and floor drop), so they were really artistic looking! she had them blown up and hung in the hallway leading to their son’s room.

    tiffanie’s last blog post..here’s your time to shine

  17. You are right to not buy all your clothes at once. I got a lot of things at about 10 weeks, way before I was showing! Now at 6 months I’ve realized a lot of my maternity clothes will probably not fit in the last month and a half or so, depending on how huge I get.

    I know you’re not big enough, but for your readers, I have found some wonderful things at Lane Bryant on clearance that fit better than a lot of maternity clothes! AND they don’t tie in the back–yay!

    I wish I had bought a great pair of jeans in the beginning of all this. The best pair I have is too big and continues to be too big in the legs and butt despite how big my belly gets. They annoy me every time I wear them. I live in the Old Navy maternity black yoga pants, which I think run about $17 and can pass at black work pants. SOOO comfortable.

  18. @Vanderbilt Wife–What is up with maternity pants being huge in the butt and thighs? I know some people gain weight all over, but good grief!

    I tried on some maternity pants at Gap today but they didn’t have any long ones. Won an eBay auction though ($22!), so hopefully I’ll get those soon.

    I hope they’ll be somewhat slim in the thighs and butt, but then again, I might grow a lot there and need the room. heh

  19. I see Stacy beat me to it. I came to post about the same trick except I used rubber bands instead of hair tie.
    I was blessed with so many hand me downs I only bought a few articles of maternity wear.
    I also found some nice stuff at consignment shops. There are also shirts for breast feeding moms so if you plan on breastfeeding, definitely invest in some of those special shirts.

  20. I wore my Motherhood Maternity jeans (that I got at a thrift store for $5) about 4 times a week for the whole second half of my pregnancy. They fit perfectly (not big in the butt and thighs like others that I tried) and looked really good too.
    I got all my stuff at thrift stores, Target clearance, and Ross. I spent less than $150 for everything, and I had to dress business casual for work (no husband sweats, unfortunately!). I started shopping in thrift stores about a year before I got pregnant, because man oh man is most of the maternity stuff in thrift stores u.g.l.y! Lots and lots of 80’s dresses with flowers all over them, and ginormous mumus. But every once in a while, I’d find something good. I stopped looking for maternity stuff at about 7 months pregnant, but then it started to get really hot and I had to go looking for some summer tops. I was sure our baby was going to be late, and I had just bought a super cute top – and then he arrived the next week, 10 days early!
    Love what you did with the black pants – hope your pregnancy is going great :)

    Frugal Babe’s last blog post..Cloth Diapers Really Are The Frugal Way

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Hey! I'm Kacie, wife to Shane and mother to Jonathan (7), Vivienne (5) and Amelia (2) . I write about my family's finance: how we save money, improve our spending, and plan for the future.

I hope I can inspire and encourage you to improve your situation. See disclosure.

I'm adopting a much slower-paced posting schedule, and treating this as a hobby blog now.

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