You are pregnant and your pants are getting tight.

You envision yourself running like a wild hyena to the maternity clothing store to tackle your prey – comfy clothing.

Hyena

Your mission is palpable. It must be accomplished now.

STOP!

Not so fast.

Turn around and head home. I’ve got a better plan for you.

This is an ultimate guide for you to save money on maternity clothes.

Read this before buying anything!

Ok, so the wild hyena? She was me.

When I was pregnant with my first child in 2011, one day I woke up and it was like I ate bad tacos the night before. I felt bloated, gross.

Except, I didn’t have tacos. It was my new found muffin top.

I need to get comfy fast. I headed to the popular maternity store and bought a bunch of clothes without any research. Or quite frantly, any thinking.

I spent $300 in one trip on a couple of pairs of jeans and a couple of shirts.

Not smart.

I bought the wrong sizes.

But after that, I got smarter.

Spending a small fortune on maternity clothes you are going to wear for less than a year is not smart. Let’s aim for inexpensive maternity clothes.

To not make my mistake, here’s what you need to do.

{This post may contain affiliate links. See my disclosure policy here}

I am going to answer the following questions:

  • How do you budget for maternity clothes?
  • How do you save on maternity clothes?
  • What maternity clothes should I buy? Or not buy?
  • Where can I find affordable maternity clothes?
  • How can I change my current clothes into maternity clothes?
  • Do I need to buy maternity clothes?

1. Set your Maternity Clothing Budget.

If you’re like; “What, I need to set a budget for this!? Pfft.” Read this – How to Make a Budget – 11 Easy Steps to Get On Track.

Read this – How to Make a Budget – 11 Easy Steps to Get On Track.

To set your budget, determine how much you can afford to spend on maternity clothes. Keep in mind, most people can spend very little with the tips and tricks I’m about to layout for you.

If you’re banking wads of cash, great but you don’t need to spend it on a maternity wardrobe. Read this post that lays out a plan for Financial Planning for Baby. As you will read, there are a lot of other ways you can use this money. You are going to need it!

Key Takeaway: Budget as little as possible.

2. Raid your own closet.

Take a look at your existing clothes with new eyes. Here is what to look for:

Dresses are your friend.

  • Look for loose-fitting, stretchy fabrics.
  • Best Styles to look for: Maxi, trapeze, empire, moo moo, wrap, ruched, bodycon, surplice, T-shirt dresses.
  • Don’t buy “maternity” dresses unless they are a great deal.

Skirts

  • Maxi skirts are one of the best things to wear when pregnant. You can wear it either above your belly or below for two different looks. Also, they are so comfy.
  • Pencil Skirts are also great. They are pretty stretchy and can fit above the belly.
  • Wrap Skirts.

Tops of all shapes and sizes.

  • Plain. A plain t-shirt can go a long way. You can dress it up with a jacket, scarf, or big chunky necklace.
  • Long. For shirts, look for longer ones to cover your growing bump. As your bump grows, your shirts shrink.
  • Ruched. If you have any shirts with ruching on the side, these are golden. As your tummy grows, your shirt will grow outwards and instead of shrink up.
  • Ruffled Sleeves. Unfortunately, your arms might grow from side to side. You want some loose fitting ruffled sleeves to avoid an ugly pinch.
  • Cap Sleeves. They are not much of a sleeve but still give the top of your arm a little coverage.
  • Tank Tops/Camisoles. Wear with a cardigan, denim jean jacket, or kimono over top.
  • Flowy. Very technical term, I know. Tunics, Peplum, Empire,-waist and Dolman tops work great.
  • Open Cardigans. Awesome for layering and providing comfortable coverage.

Bottoms.

Accessories.

To dress up some of your more plain clothes that you will rely on during pregnancy, take stock of your current accessories:

  • Scarves are amazing for giving your outfit a punch of color or texture.
  • Long necklaces are great for giving length to your neck and chest.
  • Big earrings, bracelets will make you feel nice.

DO IT NOW:

  1. Take all the clothes out of your closet you think will work for maternity clothes and put them on your bed.
  2. Do a quick calculation in your head as to how much these clothes cost.
  3. This is what you are saving by not buying the “maternity” versions of these clothes.
  4. Decide what these new-found savings will be put towards.
  5. Give yourself a pat on the back for being a smart cookie.

3. Next Stop is Your Partner’s Closet.

Depending on your partner’s size, you might be able to find some great treasures. Especially clothes you will wear around the house like t-shirts and hoodies.

Another good option is looking for flannel shirts and wearing a skinny belt above your belly.

DO IT NOW:

  1. Go to your partner’s closet.
  2. look for nice shirts that you can accessorize with a skinny belt.
  3. Look for other good finds like hoodies and shirts to wear for pajamas.
  4. Calculate the total cost of your finds.
  5. Decide how you can allocate this new found savings.
  6. Think about how smart and responsible you are.

4. Borrow or Share Maternity Clothes with a Friend.

A lot of us go through pregnancy around the same time as our friends. My friend had a baby a few months before I got pregnant. So she wasn’t using her maternity clothes.

Friends sharing clothes

She offered to lend me hers.

Goldmine.

In return, the next time she was pregnant, I lent her my stuff. Sharing is caring.

DO IT NOW: If your friends aren’t offering, ask them! They are probably not even thinking to offer.

5. Buy Cheap Maternity Clothing Gadgets.

Now that you have gone through your closet, it’s time to move on to other options.

At the beginning (and if you’re lucky all throughout your pregnancy), you won’t feel like a rhino. During this time, make use of the following gadgets to keep wearing your regular clothes.

  • Bellabands are genius. You wear them over the top of your pants. The great thing about bellabands is it gives you great tummy coverage if your shirt is starting to hike up.
  • Bra Extender. Once your bras start getting a little tight, bra extenders will likely get you through your whole pregnancy without having to buy a new bra. Don’t be tempted to buy maternity/nursing bras before you absolutely have to because if you do nurse, you might be wearing those nursing bras for a dang long time.

These maternity clothing gadgets will stretch your current wardrobe far into your pregnancy. Maybe all the way to the end.

6. DIY Maternity Clothes.

If you have a little skill and time, you can do a lot to your regular clothes to retrofit them to maternity clothes.

The downside of turning your existing clothes into maternity clothes is there is no going back. Once you cut them, they are no longer regular clothes.

Before cutting your clothes, ask yourself if you will be sad when you are no longer pregnant and you can’t wear them anymore. If you don’t want to cut something, look for a similar item at your local thrift store or online marketplace.

DIY Maternity Jeans.

If you are like me, you have a ton of jeans in your closet. All you need to get you through pregnancy are a couple of pairs.

Pick a couple of pairs of jeans that are comfortable and you don’t mind cutting.

Time Required: 10 minutes

Material/Equipment Required:

Tutorial for DIY Jeans:

Men’s Shirt Turned into a Maternity Shirt.

Are you thinking…yeah right. It’s going to be ugly.

I thought that too until I saw this tutorial and it totally made sense. When pregnant, we need big sizes but with some style.

Enter this easy tutorial on taking a men’s shirt and turning it into a maternity shirt. It looks good!

Time required: 30 minutes

Material/Equipment Required:

Tutorial for Turning a Men’s Shirt into a Maternity Shirt.

Other Great Maternity Clothes Hacks.

There are a ton of ways to stretch your current wardrobe into a maternity wardrobe on next to no money. Here is another awesome video with tons of ideas:

7. Buy Used Maternity Clothes for Cheap.

Everyone and their cat seems to try and sell their maternity clothes. Who could blame them? They want to try and recoup some of that astronomical cost, right?

Because of this, there are tons of options to buy used maternity clothes for dirt cheap. You have to look.

Some great places to look are local facebook groups such as local buy and sells, moms groups, and marketplace.

Another option is ThredUp. ThredUp is an online store that sells used clothing for super cheap.

Often you will see women sell their maternity clothes in lots. This can be great because if you are roughly the same size as the seller, you can get amazing value.

Here are some great options for buying used maternity clothes locally:

  • Online: Craigslist, Kijiji, and local Facebook Groups, and Facebook Marketplace.
  • Second-Hand Shops
  • Consignment Shops
  • Garage/Yard Sales
  • I’ve outgrown It Sales

Here are some great options for buying used maternity clothes online:

  • ThredUp.com
  • Swap.com
  • Ebay

8. Rent Your Maternity Clothes.

Ok, these websites are still too expensive in my opinion. However, if you need higher end clothes for some reason, you have options.

Here are some websites to rent from:

  • minefornine.com
  • renttherunway.com
  • Letote.com (subscription)
  • stitchfix.com
  • Labellebump.com
  • borrowforyourbump.com
  • bellanove.com

9. Buy From The Right Stores.

In my opinion, maternity stores are a rip-off. I don’t mean to say not to step foot in one. Instead, be careful about what you buy from them.

Most of what you will see in a maternity store can be found in regular stores with a maternity section at a much lower price.

Before going to a maternity store, go to these big box stores first:

  • Old Navy – I bought the comfiest maternity maxi skirt here.
  • Target – I bought maternity camisoles here which I still wear because they are long and awesome!
  • H & M – I bought some great maternity shorts here.
  • Walmart – I bought some yoga-style pants for super cheap.

If you are going to shop at a maternity store:

  • Keep in mind that your size throughout pregnancy will change. Pick items that will fit all the way through. They need to have a lot of give. If you are normally a medium, look at buying large.
  • Refer to the list under the “Raid your Own Closet” section at the top.
  • Go to the discount rack immediately.
  • Comparison shop.
  • Get on their email list for discounts.

When I was pregnant, some of the best clothes I bought were from Zulily. They have tons of selection for cheap.

The biggest downside of ordering from Zulily is that it takes a few weeks to get your order. However, the wait is worth the savings and selection.

Here are other online stores that sell maternity clothes:

Before you buy from any store for anything, ALWAYS check Ebates. See my explanation of Ebates below.

When visiting these websites, go straight to the sales/clearance page.

10. Sign up for Ebates (unless you don’t like free money).

Ebates is a big referral program owned by Rakuten.

It drives consumers to order online from participating companies. In exchange, the company gives Ebates a portion of the sale and then Ebates gives you a bit of their commission.

Ebates is absolutely legit.

I use it all the time and it is so simple. All you have to do is create an account and when you are shopping online, activate before you purchase.

It’s about 2 to 3 clicks and that’s it.

You can choose your money from Ebates to go into your Paypal account or they will send you a check.

11. Do You Even Need to Buy Maternity Clothes?

If you want to spend next to nothing and have a decent wardrobe to raid, and are a little handy with needle and thread, the answer is NO!

Between your current clothes and the DIY options outlined above, you can spend very little money.

I would love to hear how you spent the littlest amount possible on your maternity wardrobe. Please leave a comment below.

Final, DO IT NOW.

With all the tips and tricks above, I want you to run a calculation with all the money you just saved.

Did you come under budget?

You are the Lioness.

Lioness. How to save money on maternity clothes

Not the crazy hyena.

You are the calm, calculated, money saver and deal hunter.

Your prey is finding the right maternity clothes for free or dirt cheap.

No panic here. You got mad skills.