5 Things Friday: A Frugal Girl’s Tips to Maternity Shopping

I’ve heard there are some crazy peeps out there who don’t think it’s worth buying maternity clothes. Some mumbo jumbo about how you’ll only be wearing those clothes for a few months so why even bother.

That is pure crazy talk to me.

Which is saying something because I’m pretty darn stingy (doesn’t frugal sound so much nicer than “stingy?”).

Buying maternity clothes is absolutely worth it. Here are some things to think about before you vow to make do with your regular clothes:

  • Pregnancy is uncomfortable. Oh, you’ll see. Be kind to yourself by allowing every comfort that’s possible (in this case, in the form of clothes that fit).
  • Pregnancy also makes you kind of…emotional. There may or may not come a time in your pregnancy where you go to put on your pants….and those pants may or may not fit…and tears may or may not be shed. This hypothetical scene IS avoidable!
  • There is like 1% of the pregnant population who will fit right into their pre-pregnancy clothes immediately following giving birth. The other 99% will have to wait awhile to get back to “normal” (spoiler alert: it’s a new normal). There is no shame in wearing panel pants and baggy shirts while you’re in that transition period.

But seriously. There are so many reasons to get yourself some maternity clothes while you experience the weird and exciting time of your body getting bigger than you thought possible. (I’m really selling pregnancy here, aren’t I? Ha! For the record, being pregnant is awesome!).

And, contrary to popular belief, you DO NOT have to spend half of your life savings on maternity clothes. Here are some of my tips to keeping it affordable:

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I don’t take pictures of  myself very often these days…but this shirt has been a fave through this pregnancy. It’s this plus size shirt from Target (and on clearance!)
  1. Know what your options are in your area: Here in Flagstaff, we have all of 2 stores that offer maternity clothes: Target and Ross. There aren’t many pregnant ladies here, I guess. But even when I’m shopping in Utah (where everyone is pregnant;), I’m surprisingly disappointed with how few options are available.  If you have one of these stores in your area, it’s worth checking to see if they have a maternity section: H&M (super cheap plain t-shirts), Old Navy, Target, Ross (jeans for less than $15), and TJ Maxx. Wow, that list is teeny. Anyone have success with other stores? I will say that Motherhood Maternity can be great if you watch their sales (or go to their outlet store).
  2. Shop clearance: if you are frugal like me, then I don’t have to tell you to check the clearance section, right? But seriously, I’ve found some of my very favorite maternity clothes in the clearance section for less than $10. Most maternity sections are only rotated seasonally, so keep an eye out for when they start bringing new clothes, and check then. Also, if you’re not superstitious (or a little stitious;), I’d honestly start shopping the clearance section as soon as you’re trying to get pregnant (or before), so that you can have access to the most variety. Another great option is to buy online. Or, better yet, buy clearance online. Old Navy has a huge selection of maternity clothes on online clearance (although, watch the sizes before you get excited; often they only have less popular sizes available).
  3. Maternity clothes don’t have to be “maternity” clothes: When I was pregnant with Wendy, I was all about the cute, fitted maternity clothes. This time I’ve leaned more towards oversized regular clothes (which might have to do with the fact that I’ve been pregnant during winter versus summer). Maternity specific clothes are often way overpriced just because it’s got the maternity label. But if it’s your flavor, shop a few sizes larger than you normally shop (at normal, non-maternity prices) and you’ll be set. It won’t be fitted. But it will be comfortable. (Target has a plus size section that has really cute stuff.)
  4. Only buy what you know you’ll wear: When I was pregnant with Wendy, everyone was like, “Skirts are the best for pregnancy! They’re so comfortable!” I’m sure this is true, but the fact is that I don’t really wear skirts except for on Sundays. So I bought a few maternity skirts…and then never wore them (surprise, surprise). Avoid over-buying by buying what you need when you need it. I mean, be prepared and have some clothes on hand before you need them (to avoid the crying pants scene). But you don’t need to completely replace your pre-pregnancy wardrobe. With my first pregnancy, I seriously rotated between two pairs of pants (leggings and shorts) and about 5 shirts. This pregnancy has been just about the same (just replace the shorts with jeans and the shirts with sweaters). Of course, I have more maternity clothes than that (stuff for working out, stuff for special occasions, etc.)…but those shirts I wear all the time are the ones that are the most comfortable, as well as the ones that are most practical for my day to day.
  5. Feel free to splurge where it’s worth it: Some things are totally worth spending a little extra money on, whether it’s a hard to find item, something you know you’ll use all the time, or just something that makes you feel pretty. I know lots of women who buy those beautiful flowy dresses to wear for a maternity photo sesh. Personally, when I was pregnant with Wendy, I knew that I needed some shorts. They were surprisingly hard to find and pretty expensive but I knew that I would use them. And I did. Almost every single day. Luckily, they’re great quality so I knew I could use them for any subsequent pregnancy. Treat yo’self.

{I honestly have plenty of maternity clothes that I love and would love to recommend, but since I mostly buy on clearance, they’re items you can no longer find. However, here are just a couple of tried and true favorites that you should be able to find anytime: H&M 3/4 leggings (probably the most comfortable leggings ever. I’ve worn the crap out of my pair and they are totally shot…need to buy some more…), Motherhood Maternity leggings (very comfortable and cute patterns-keep your eye out, they often have a 2-for deal), and Target bodycon dresses (with sleeves and to the knees, so no need to layer. Yay!).}

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Old pic, but such a comfy dress! Maternity clearance from Target (for like $8!).

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