Temporary solutions: Ways to save on maternity wear

Congratulations! You’ve just discovered that you are pregnant, and the shopper in you can’t wait to hit the stores to look for new clothes for your soon-to-be changing figure. But, even the most enthusiastic shopper can fret at the thought of spending a fortune on clothes that are, let’s face it, worn only for a short amount of time. Before you make your credit card balances blow up with new maternity outfits, here are some simple tips that will help you to become a penny-wise momma-to-be!

Shop smart in the stores

Nationwide retailers from Macy’s to JC Penney regularly place merchandise onto clearance racks in order to make room for new arrivals. Trips to clearance aisles are a wonderful way to start building up your maternity wardrobe. Clothes and accessories in clearance are typically marked down anywhere from 20 to 85 percent off the regular price. So, when you make your next visit to your local dress store, resist temptation, and keep walking past the beautiful displays in the front and head straight to the back, where you will find the clearance section for the best sales.

Another good tip: sign up for your favorite store’s mailing or e-mail list (or even become their fan on Facebook) to find out about weekly or monthly sales or to get coupons.

Consignment shops

Say you have an invitation to your cousin’s wedding. You’re six months along, and although you know you will need to wear something special, you are hesitant about shelling out so much money for a dress that you are only going to wear for a few hours. Well-respected consignment shops may be a great place to find gently-used maternity clothes at a fraction of the cost. Consignment shopping provides you with several benefits, including:

• Finding better prices than at resale stores.

• The seller typically gets a better price than if he sold his items to a resale shop. The consignor (you) also typically gets a better price. For example, you might get 70 percent off your purchases.

• The variety and quality of items can be a lot better than those purchased at a garage sale.

The World Wide Web of bargains

When I was pregnant with my first child, the very idea of waddling my way through crowds at my local mall was not my idea of a fun day out. If fighting the crowds at the mall is not your thing either, you can comparison shop and find some fantastic savings online! Kimberly Hines, a mother of two, saved money by searching online for sales on maternity clothes.

“I would just wait until I would see that something that I wanted was on sale, and then I’d buy it online. A lot of the websites that I shopped from home on often had free shipping or half-off shipping specials, so that was a huge plus for my budget.”

Have you had your eye on a pair of Lavish by Heidi Klum capri leggings, but you just can’t bear to pay the full price? Try eBay! You can bid on new and used clothes and you may get lucky and find a great deal.

After your pregnancy, you could consider selling your gently-used maternity clothes on the site to get a return on your investment! Craigslist is another site where you can find maternity clothes. You can search your area and contact most sellers through the e-mails provided. Many sellers are looking to sell entire wardrobes for very little. (For your personal safety, never meet up with any seller alone and do not give him any address or other personal security information.)

Rentmaternitywear.com allows you to rent a designer dress for one to two weeks. You choose the dress (or dresses) you want, and they will send your choices via FedEx for a 48-hour-try-on period. If the dress you chose does not fit, you can easily return it for a free second chance. If the dress fits you perfectly, all you have to do is show up at your holiday party looking fabulous. When the party’s over, just send the dress back to them right in your mailbox. Rentmaternitywear.com also offers brand new dress rentals for a little bit more money.

The power of frugal accessories can go a long way

Take a good look at your pre-pregnancy clothes and chances are, you will notice that several items are capable of growing with you for a portion of your pregnancy with a little help from some useful gadgets.

Belly Bands (babybeminematernity.3dcartstores.com/White-Maternity-Belly-Band_p_8.html) consist of a stretchy band of fabric that is placed over your open jeans to create a new belted waistband. Belly Bands are available in several colors, and you can find them at many maternity stores and online.

Or, there are other types of fabric patches that conveniently insert into your jeans’ fly to build a patch between an open zipper. No matter what type of band you choose, you will be able to wear pants that will fit well and stretch along with your expanding belly bump.

Not only is your belly expanding, but your breasts will change size and shape regularly throughout the next nine months. Every mom-to-be’s body is different; however, if you have found that your cup size has remained almost the same and you are just not ready to shell out $30 for a maternity bra, a bra back extender may become your new best friend. Bra back extenders (www.kaboodle.com/reviews/-motherhood-maternity-bra-back-extender) help you to continue to comfortably wear your pre-pregnancy bra longer. Working in tandem with a two- or three-hooked bra, an extender can allow you to increase your bra size between 1 1/4-inches to 3 ¼-inches. They do not require sewing and just connect to your current bra at the hook.

Hip hand-me-downs

Michelle Salvo, a mom of four, found that the best thing to do during her pregnancies was, “to take any and all hand-me-downs from my friends and family. Maternity clothes are so expensive to only wear for nine months, and for me, it was really a lot less time than that, because I didn’t wear maternity clothes until I was about six months along. So for me, I was only really wearing maternity clothes for three to four months.”

And, let’s face it; because of the short amount of time that a mom-to-be wears maternity clothing, it is generally in good condition, and can offer you an inexpensive alternative.

Jennifer Lacey is a freelance journalist, specializing in pregnancy and parenting issues, whose work has been featured in numerous national and regional publications and websites.