This may seem like a no-brainer; of course you want to find great deals on anything you buy. But some brands and stores charge 2-3 times what any sane person should pay for maternity-specific items, and it just blows my mind that people willingly pay for them!
So, as a bargain-only shopper, I feel like I need to issue a PSA when it comes to shopping for maternity clothes: style CAN be affordable! And if I'm being totally honest, it SHOULD be!
Maternity clothes are notorious for being way too expensive for only being in your wardrobe for 9 months. Since I personally can't justify paying some of the outrageous prices they ask for clothes in general these days, I've started to combat that with purely bargain shopping, i.e. I only purchase things that have been discounted. Period. This is especially true for maternity clothes.
When I say 'discounted,' I mean a number of ways that an item can cost a reasonable amount. Stores like Ross and Burlington Coat Factory have maternity sections that are guaranteed to be 2-3 times cheaper than full-price stores. Places like Target, Kohl's, Motherhood Maternity, as well as others sell maternity items that tend to be more expensive, but they also often have great sales, deals, and clearance sections that can keep you within a budget. So when I say 'discounted,' I mean an item from one of those cheaper stores or an item from one of the more expensive stores that has been significantly reduced in price.
If you are trying to save money when it comes to maternity shopping or are just curious as to why I don't think full-priced items should be your first choice, read my 5 reasons below and see if this approach may be right for you, too!
#1 You can save money (or buy more items for the same amount you would have spent)
If you're into spending less in general and/or your goal is to stock up on as many great pieces as you can, buying clothing that has been deeply discounted is a simple and obvious solution to clothing yourself for these ever-changing 9 months of your life.
Below I have offered a shopping cart comparison to show you just how dramatic the savings can be. On the left are items I have actually purchased at discounted prices (where I got them from and how much I paid for each is written below the picture). On the right are pieces I matched as closely as I could to the ones on the left and were all found in Motherhood Maternity's online shop (prices written below each item as they were on the day this post was written).
Disclaimer: My husband took the pictures on the left for me, and as awesome as he is, he is no professional photographer. Also, I am not a model and I was 27 weeks pregnant when the pictures on the left were taken. The ladies on the right definitely had a great photographer and wear their clothes better than me, but that's not the point of this post!
WOAH. The items on the right would cost you almost 3 times what you'd pay for the ones on the left. Does that not blow your mind?!
With an overall savings of $126.49, you could allocate that amount to another area of your budget, save it, or use it to buy more maternity items. It's a simple truth: buying discounted items absolutely give you more bang for your buck!
#2 If an item gets damaged, the loss doesn't hurt as much
I'll give you two examples. The first is a pink v-neck I got at Target after redeeming my Cartwheel rewards points for $10 off any apparel. The top was originally $14.99, so I paid $4.99 for it in the end. I wore it and washed it a handful of times before I noticed a little hole developing right around where my belly button would be. It was just a small tear, but with my expanding belly, it has become more noticeable. I don't know where the tear came from, but am I heartbroken about it? Not really. I paid $4.99 for this shirt! I still wear it around the apartment because that's a judgement-free zone, but it really doesn't bother me that it's no longer wearable in public. If I had paid full price for it, I'd be a whole lot more upset.
The second example is the super adorable and super discounted dress I got from Ross (pictured above). I wore it once to a wedding then washed and dried it without thinking about it. It is made out of this very soft linen fabric that definitely needed to be hung to dry. My bad. I pulled it out of the dryer and immediately realized what I had done. It had gone from a knee-length dress to a blouse that barely went past my hips, and I was a little bummed about it. But, I reminded myself that I only paid $6.49 for this dress, and I got over it.
As okay as I was about losing it as a dress option, my husband knew how much I loved it and told me to look up un-shrinking clothes. I told myself before I started that if it didn't work, I wouldn't stress about it. I gave it a shot using this process from Easy Life Hacks, and it actually worked. But had it not, I still wouldn't have shrunken away a lot of money and therefore could accept it better than if I'd paid a lot more.
Between wearing, washing, and drying, our clothes go through quite a bit. Normal wear and tear or the big uh-oh's like holes and shrinkage are much easier to cope with when you know you didn't hand over a big chunk of change for the item. Clothes definitely have a diminishing return, so why overpay for them?
#3 You can still find cute, trendy, and stylish clothes
Now, I want to state this for the record: I am not a fashion blogger or even remotely a 'fashionista.' I buy clothes that are comfortable to wear, make me feel pretty, and suit my personality. So, your style and my style may be very different.
But, when I look at the clothes I have purchased from bargain stores and at discounted prices, I don't feel like I have sacrificed style to save money. I feel like I got the same styles I see on Pinterest, Instagram, and other women in real life for a fraction of the cost - and that is a great and empowering feeling!
Choosing to shop at a store like Ross or only the clearance section at Motherhood Maternity is not in any way a sign of surrender to being trendy or stylish. They are simply an alternative, budget-friendly way to still look and feel great in your maternity clothes!
In addition to the items pictured above in the shopping cart comparison, I've also snagged these great pieces below to make for a cute, trendy, and comfortable maternity wardrobe that I really, really love wearing and paid such reasonable prices for!
Now, you tell me - do these clothes look cheap or out of style? Hopefully you agree with me that they definitely do not! (If you don't agree, it might be the quality of pictures or maybe our style is just drastically different - which is okay, too!)
#4 Some items may only be worn during the 9 months of pregnancy, which is just a fraction of your life
On a side note, you will probably continue to wear most of your maternity items during the first few post-partum months. The belly doesn't magically shrink back (wouldn't that be nice?), and it's nice to have forgiving clothes.
But I know for me, once I started to get back in shape (via running) and looking like my old self, I wanted to add new clothes to my wardrobe to reflect the work I was putting in. These will still be bargain buys as I don't do any other kind of shopping, but they will eventually replace my maternity clothes. So having saved money on said maternity clothes will really come in handy when I am ready to go shopping again!
#5 it's thrilling!
If you are money-conscious, sticking to a budget for maternity clothes doesn't have to be boring or tedious - you can find amazing deals on perfectly good maternity clothes while maintaining your financial goals! You just have to be committed to the cause. You have to know where to look (bargain stores, clearance sections, store ads) and know what you are capable and willing to spend.
It might sound drastic or sacrificial, but I can tell you from experience that I love my discounted maternity wardrobe, and I (and my husband) love that I didn't overspend on any item in it. I hope these 5 reasons have shown you the value of bargain shopping, particularly for your maternity needs!
Have a go-to bargain place that you love? Please feel free to share in the comments below! And if you give bargain shopping a try, let me know how it goes!