Congratulations, you're having a baby! If this is your first baby, you'll be spending some money for all the things your new addition will need but don't spend a lot of money on a maternity wardrobe. Here are a few tips that will help you save a lot of money on your clothes.
One of the most important things to remember about this time in your life is that you're really only going to need true maternity clothes for about four to five months. Be practical about your needs. Don't buy expensive maternity clothes for "just in case" events unless you know you'll really need it.
Don't assume that all you can purchase are clothes labeled 'maternity' especially in the first few months when you might need a bit more room but you're not looking really pregnant yet. Many styles, like the newer baby-doll shirts allow a generous bit of fabric in the front. The same applies to pants in that early on, you might need a bit of stretch in the waist but you won't fill out maternity pants yet. Pants with elastic waist bands will fit the bill.
Let me touch briefly on saving a bit of money on bras and undergarments while you're pregnant. Don't spend money on maternity underwear. They're designed to stretch out over your tummy but it's really more comfortable and easier to wear bikini underwear and let it sit under your tummy (trust me and lots of other women on this one). You'll find that early on, your breasts will get larger and you'll need to go up in cup-size. Later on, you'll notice that you might not need a larger cup size but you'll need a bit more room around. Don't go out and buy another new bra. You can find bra extenders at sewing centers. They don't require sewing and just connect to your current bra at the hook and loops. They are about $2 compared to $30+ for new bras.
Here are the other ideas to help you save a lot of money on maternity clothes:
1) Borrow clothes from friends - My girlfriend started her family before I did and she actually offered her maternity clothes to me to use during my pregnancy. In the same way, I offered her some of my own maternity clothes when she was pregnant after me. We actually exchanged the same clothes four times before I sent them onto my sister-in-law and she and her friends exchanged them several more times.
When borrowing maternity clothes, DO make sure to take care of the clothes and launder them properly. Make sure to return them when you're done using them unless you've been clearly told not to return them (I was a bit upset when a coworker gave away some of my maternity clothes without my okay because she thought we were done having children).
2) Thrift stores - So many women quickly get rid of their maternity clothes when they think they're done having kids. They don't want to look at the "fat clothes" any more. Although I wasn't in the market for business-type maternity clothes, I was amazed at how inexpensive some of those types of maternity clothes were (after having seen them for full-price in a maternity clothing store).
3) Consignment shops - Sometimes you might need a dress or outfit for a special occasion. My brother was getting married when I was VERY pregnant with our third and I chose to not be a bridesmaid but was going to do a reading and needed something special. I found some very nice maternity "special occasion" dresses at a local consignment shop for a fraction of their original cost.
4) eBay - If you do a search of "maternity clothes lot size ___", you'll find a large selection of maternity clothes available. You can find sellers looking to sell "lots" of clothing or individual pieces.
5) Craigslist.org - Craig list is a great place to find a lot of things, not just maternity clothes. You can search your area of the state and contact most sellers through the e-mails provided. Many sellers are looking to sell entire wardrobes for very little. For safety, never meet up with any seller alone and don't tell the seller your exact address.
6) Box Stores - Many of the large chain box stores now carry maternity clothes; Target, Wal-Mart, Kmart and Kohl's, just to name a few. These stores are much cheaper than the specialty maternity clothing stores I was mainly limited to when I was pregnant. Stores like Kohl's always offer up coupons that can help you stretch your maternity clothing budget even further. Don't forget to look outside of the maternity department for clothes that have a bit more fabric, stretch or style that doesn't limit it to just those of us who aren't pregnant.
7) Tag Sales - Some newspapers will advertise tag sales. Keep an eye out for tag sales that advertise maternity clothes. Although tag sale season may not time out with your pregnancy, it doesn't hurt to be open to the possibility of finding some great deals at them.
Trust me when I say that your little bundle of joy will help you find plenty of ways to part with your cash but it doesn't have to start before they even come into the world. With these tips, you can save a lot of money on your maternity clothes.