Thursday, November 5, 2015

Saving on Maternity Clothes

This time around, I've tried to be just as frugal as we were with our first little man.  We're trying to save as much as we can for the baby fund, while also building up our regular savings and paying down our car and home equity line debt.  Part of this means saving what we can on maternity clothes.

I've been fortunate to be able to borrow maternity clothes from a few friends and family.  I also had a few things left over that were my own from the first time around.  I haven't been choosy about things, but willingly took whatever was offered to me.  Some of it isn't my normal style, but if it fits and suits the occasion, I'll wear it.

My mom also generously purchased a few new to me things at the local consignment sale.  These have been really nice to fill in the gaps from things that I've borrowed.

The only thing I've had to purchase this time around has been some compression tights and leggings.  (Yea! for varicose veins in pregnancy.)  I found a great website, Preggers by Therafirm to purchase them from that's been wonderful to work with, especially when we had to return a pair because they were obviously going to be too small a few months from now.

So, the basics for saving on maternity clothes:

Beg and Borrow  
Don't hesitate to ask friends to borrow their stuff.  I asked around at work and was able to score a few things too.  Most maternity clothes are worn for such a short time that they're in really good shape.  If pants are too long, you can temporarily tack them up with some simple stitches that you can remove when you return them.  Take care of things, of course, because you'll want to return them in as good a shape as they were loaned to you.

Use Your Own Stuff
There are some of your regular clothes that will work and stretch, at least for the first two trimesters.  I have several shirts, sweaters, and leggings that will be modified to work all the way through.  Scarves and jewelry also allow you to personalize things that you've borrowed.

Purchase Used When Possible
Shop consignment or online (eBay, Twice, Thread Up, etc.) for used maternity clothes.  I found a deal on a maternity coat for $10 at the consignment sale, which probably would be upwards of $40 or more new.

Expect the Unexpected
I never thought (or even really knew) that varicose veins would be an issue this time around.  And compression hose, socks, leggings, tights, etc. are not cheap!  But by finding a well designed product with great customer service, I've been happy and comfortable.  We also found coupon codes to use, and shopped the sale items, to find items that would work for me.  For example, I found that the tights with toes were way too tight and my toes really hurt by the end of the day.  So, I found some footless tights and leggings through Preggers that worked for me.

I've probably spent about $50 in compression hosiery, but that's all we've spent out of pocket in terms of clothing this time around.  By borrowing things and using what I already had, I'll make it through this pregnancy in comfort and well dressed.  Do you have any tips for saving on mommy stuff during pregnancy?  I'd love to hear from you!

November Shopping and Meal Plan

This month is the month for us to stock up!  If you're into baking, it's prime time to build up that baker's pantry again and fill it with your favorite flours, brown sugar, and all the baking things you'll need for a joyous and yummy holiday.  For us, it is also the time for a big Costco trip and maybe a repeat order with San Francisco Herb Company, where we stock up on bulk spices, seeds, and herbal teas.

With travel plans this month, that can mean spending less on food because you're away from home and visiting family, or it can mean spending more because you're traveling.  For us, it's the former, which gives us some more wiggle room in the grocery budget to stock up.  If you're traveling, consider packing your own snacks (homemade roasted pumpkin seeds are an obvious choice) to save the frequent stops for fast food.

For our Costco list this month, we're stocking up on the basics:

  • powdered sugar (we've price checked and it's cheaper than coupon prices)
  • store brand dish washing liquid (we go through it making our own shower spray)
  • chicken sausages (they don't have phosphates or nitrates, which means they're safe for baby #2)
  • ketchup 
  • frozen fruit for smoothies (we're slowly working through what we put up this spring/summer)
  • block cheddar cheese
  • dried beans
  • frozen ravioli (a treat, but really convenient for nights when I'm tired and we need dinner quickly)
  • maybe fresh fruit or carrots, depending on price
  • sweet potatoes (we'll go through these in soups, sides, and love them in tacos)
  • tortillas (hopefully whole wheat and/or organic)
  • dried fruit (raisins, hopefully apricots)
Our grocery plan is to keep things to the bare minimum since we're stocking up at Costco.  We will restock our baking pantry this month, since things will be so much on sale.  I'll also stock up on cranberries to load in the freezer and for Thanksgiving, and probably some herbal teas and cocoa mix (though I'll make my own too) if they're on deep discount.  (They do make nice stocking stuffers.)  We'll get our organic milk and will probably pick up a few frozen veggies too (corn for corn chowder and maybe broccoli for broccoli cheddar soup)

For our menu plan this month, we'll make the most of the root veggies we have around, such as the last few beets from the CSA and potatoes and carrots.  Tis the season for the crockpot, so we'll put Mrs. Cleaver (thank you, Barbara Kingsolver, for that lovely crockpot name!) to work for cooking winter squash, baking potatoes and beets, and lovely soups and stews.  We'll also make leftovers into entirely new dishes; think turkey enchiladas, butternut squash and chickpea salad, sweet potato quesadillas, etc.

Breakfasts: oatmeal with dried fruit and nuts/seeds, egg and cheese sandwiches on homemade bread, breakfast burritos, winter squash muffins, zucchini and flax muffins, winter squash pancakes/waffles, smoothies

Lunches:  leftovers of course, tuna or egg salad sandwiches, quesadillas

Soups/stews:  lentil and sweet potato soup, potato soup, corn chowder, broccoli cheddar soup, winter squash black bean chili  (all served with homemade bread and/or veggie side such as carrot sticks), turkey and wild rice soup

Crockpot:  loaded baked potatoes, sausage w/ peppers and onions on noodles or bread, roasted root veggies

Stovetop meals:  veggie stir fry, breakfast for dinner (usually eggs, smoothies, and some sort of bread), waffles with fruit, chicken sausages with cabbage, apples, and cranberries, quesadillas, turkey and bean enchiladas, leftover turkey with orange glazed carrots and rice pilaf, veggie pesto pizza, ravioli with homemade pesto and roasted root veggies

Snacks:  roasted pumpkin/squash seeds, dried fruit, sliced apples, carrot sticks and dip, popcorn, homemade muffins/oatmeal & whole grain cookies

How is your November shaping up?  I'd love to hear your plans for living and saving green in this holiday season!