Knocked up: Cutting the cost of maternity clothes

Once upon a time there was a pregnant woman. She soon realized she couldn’t wear her “fat” jeans for long and had to buy real maternity clothes. She went to the store and bought an entire new wardrobe and spent a ridiculous amount of money. She then went home, poor. Sound familiar?

When I became pregnant with our first child I was pretty excited about having the belly. I wanted to wear cute maternity clothes and I hoped like crazy that I would be one of those cute pregnant women who only carried in her belly and not in her a$$. (I was neither… face and arms, bleh). Here’s a shot of me a few days before I gave birth to baby number two.

Notice the shirt barely covers me. Sigh.

I went from a Medium size to an Extra Large and almost a Double Extra Large within 6 months. What I didn’t realize was how many clothes I would go through over that 9 months. I know you all know where this is going so I will get there, fast.

It is nice to buy something for yourself to celebrate this moment in your life, but it shouldn’t be a strain on your household finances. Kids already add enough to the household budget, plus all the expenses of preparing for the child and paying for the medical bills associated. Maternity clothes is one thing for which I can offer a solution.

My sister was pregnant before me, and before her so were many of her friends. They simply saved their maternity clothes, put them into a trash bag and every time someone was pregnant, the trash bag migrated to their house. I would always purchase a few things of my own during my pregnancies and at the end, I would deposit those into the trash bag for someone else to enjoy. For at least 6 women I am aware of, the burden of purchasing everything new was relieved. With my second child I only purchased 5 new items! (most of those were late in the pregnancy when nothing would fit because I was having “giganta-baby”.)

Here are a few ideas to help reduce the cost of maternity clothes during one of the most exciting and expensive times in your life:

  1. Craigslist – A quick search every few days will give you an entire host of people looking to get rid of their maternity clothes. These are often sold in lots, huge boxes, and are crazy cheap. Also, look in the garage sale section and you will find people having sales containing these items. (Please, please do not go alone. Always take someone with you when meeting up for a Craiglist purchase.)
  2. Consignment Sales & Stores– There are numerous consignment sales and stores out there for kids and moms. You can most often get a free pass or coupons if you look on their website. During consignment sales, I would suggest going the first day and the last day. That will give you the best chance to get the pick of what you want and the best deals. Some will have maternity items and some won’t, just check their site and you should be able to tell.
  3. Zulily  I love this site. I check it almost weekly. This affiliate is a deal a day site for children’s’ clothing and moms, including maternity events. The quality is medium to high and the prices are very reasonable. Another affiliate is Gilt which carries high-end designer. They occasionally have maternity clothes however it is luxury quality so much pricier.
  4. Sisterhood of the traveling trash bag – Start a trash bag of your own for your circle of friends. I guarantee if you have any friends who have been pregnant recently, they are more than happy to lend you their clothes. It is just sad to purchase something and realize you only wore it 3 or 4 times before having to put it away. Knowing a friend is getting some use out of it makes the pain a little easier to take.
  5. Sign up for coupons – and are two sites that regularly have sales and coupons. Join their list and be on the lookout.
  6. Invest in some basics – Target has a great selection of nursing tanks that I wore during my pregnancy and for a long time after while I was nursing. They usually ran about $20 each and were indispensable to me. Find some of these basics that you will wear and buy a few of them. I would suggest having two nursing tanks or bras if you plan to nurse. Buy these while you’re pregnant and wear them before as well.
  7. Don’t over buy though – One trap that many stores will get you in is anticipating what you will need after the baby is here. Yes, it is nice to have but you will quickly figure out after you have the baby what you prefer to use. I bought several nursing bras before I had the baby and I wore them only a few times because they were not comfortable for me and didn’t work very well. I wish I would have waited on those. Purchase a variety and then wait until after the baby is here to decide which style/item you prefer.

This is one of the most exciting times in your life. It can also be one of the most stressful. Alleviating some of the financial burden will ease some of that stress. That’s what it’s all about, right? Enjoy the moment!


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