Pregnancy Hasn’t Foiled My Clothes-Buying Ban: Here’s How

I haven’t purchased a scrap of clothing in 17 months. Not one sock or shoe or smock. As long-time readers will recall, I first introduced my clothing ban goal in Why I’m Not Buying Any Clothes in 2014. Then, I chronicled my experience in What A Year Without Clothes Did For Me. Now that I’m pregnant (woohoo!) a number of you have asked about my plans for the clothing ban and, I’m delighted to report that it will continue! Don’t worry, I won’t be squeeeeeezing into my regular clothes or stealing Mr. Frugalwoods’; rather, I’m resorting to an age-old secret trick (more on that later). Initially, I wasn’t sure how long I’d actually last with this ban. I set my goal to not buy clothes for the entire year of 2014, which seemed ridiculously daunting…

Goals Should Be Tough

But I reasoned, what’s the point of setting a goal if it doesn’t feel monumentally challenging? The whole idea was for me to break out of my habit of buying thrift store clothes with alarming regularity. I’ve never been into real “shopping”–as in going to a store filled with expensive, new stuff–but I’ve always enjoyed cruising the thrift shops for deals.

A photo we took yesterday of me at 16 weeks pregnant in a hand-me-down maternity dress.

A photo we took yesterday of me at 16 weeks pregnant in a hand-me-down maternity dress.

And cruise I did. I always seemed to find a perfectly cute, perfectly sized something for myself–not to toot my own horn (though I did do that with a trumpet in my high school’s marching band), but I’m pretty stellar at finding gems in thrift stores.

Given that the vast majority of my wardrobe is from either a thrift store, a garage sale, or a discount store like Kohl’s (I kind of love Kohl’s), I wasn’t spending a ton of money on my clothing procurement habit.

However, since I’m a proponent of analyzing every single line item I spend, clothing was certainly an extraneous luxury. There are plenty of folks who’ll tell you to ignore the small stuff in your budget (not sure what they define as “small”–I listed a $2.13 expense last month), but I totally disagree with that lackadaisical mentality. Taking your eye off “the small stuff” is a surefire way for you to still wonder just why exactly you’re not hitting your savings or debt repayment goals every month.

The small stuff adds up. I won’t do the math where I calculate that $30 spent on clothes every month equals $360 for the year, which would then be $1,800 over five years, which you could’ve instead invested and enjoyed a–let’s say conservatively–8% return, which would be $2,111.98. Oh but wait, I just did. Why? Because I want to illustrate that every dollar does in fact count. Also, I’m trying to show off that I know how to do math after my admission to the contrary last week. I may or may not have used a calculator and/or google to arrive at this answer. Don’t judge.

It’s Not All About The Money

While the savings element of not buying clothes is an advantage, this goal wasn’t entirely financial for me. It was a holistic aspiration that touches on so many varied aspects of my personality and the way in which I used to approach life. Not buying clothes was a mechanism to prompt me to decrease my focus on my outward appearance, which I felt was consuming too much of my time and money. It was also making me unhappy by encouraging me to zero in on the negative. We all have flaws! I have a huge zit (thank you, pregnancy) on my chin right now, which I won’t even be covering with make-up! So there!

I look ridiculous in this hat, don't I?

I look ridiculous in this hat, don’t I?

This ban on clothes-buying targeted the fact that I was buying clothes in the same way that I sometimes continue to eat after I’m full. I don’t need more clothing, yet I was buying beyond the satiation of covering my body (there are laws after all, plus it’s like 30 degrees here half the year). Identifying the tipping point where doing something ceases to be about its intended function (eating for fuel; buying clothes for warmth and decency) and starts to become about tertiary wants (flavor; a fun wardrobe) is a key aspect of this journey for me.

I find that this concept applies to a number of different areas in life, and its application will almost always yield greater frugality and ultimately, the peace that comes with simplifying our lives. I’ve said this before, but, spending is like a gas–it’ll expand to fill whatever space you give it. And I think this translates into many facets of life–eating, negative thinking, self-limiting behaviors. We create the confines of our own existence–they’re typically not imposed upon us.

How we choose to use our time, money, and energies has direct bearing on our happiness and our fulfillment. Yet, I was choosing an easy way out and one that wasn’t bringing me lasting satisfaction. Sure, I’d feel a jolt of elation after buying something new and adorable to wear, but it was quickly forgotten and so I’d go in search of the next thing. But once I took myself off the consumer carousel, I realized how little I needed the mercurial buzzes it offered.

An Anniversary Forgotten

Much like our extreme frugality challenge, the one-year mark of my clothing ban passed me by with little notice. Mr. Frugalwoods reminded me in January that it’d been a year and I shared the news with you all. But, I’d nearly forgotten about the ban altogether. And that’s what’s most illuminating of all.

If this were an untenable, frustrating, or truly arduous challenge, I would’ve rushed out to buy a dress the minute my self-imposed ban expired. But the fact that I barely noticed and actually wanted to continue on tells me that I’d eliminated something unnecessary and unimportant from my life.

It’s fascinating to me that Mr. FW and I thought we might only make it through a month of extreme frugality–and here we are over a year later with no plans to stop. I think getting started is the hardest part–you have to convince yourself of the value of the challenge, change your behaviors, and consciously exert effort to stay on track. But once you do all that hard work, you’re set.

You discover a new mode of existence that’s frankly easier and more fulfilling. For example, instead of fretting over what I’ll be able to find at the store to wear for my sister-in-law’s graduation this weekend, I’ll just calmly go to my closet and pick out a dress that I already know looks great on me. How painless is that! I love thinking about the time, expense, and stress that’s saved through the simple act of using what I already have. Same goes for Mr. Frugalwoods–we’ll pull out a nice shirt (likely the one we found in the trash last year) and he’ll be set. We can then spend the rest of our time doing something far more enjoyable than stressing over buying new clothes.

But hold the phone, Mrs. Frugalwoods, aren’t you pregnant?!

You got me! I totally am. I’m 16 weeks along and Babywoods has started to make her presence apparent to the world. I look like I ate a small baguette that lodged itself sideways in my lower abdomen. Suffice it to say, I seem to have a few more weeks to go before I acquire a true “baby bump,” but this baguette bump definitely means that my regular clothes don’t fit. But am I going out to buy maternity clothes? Not a chance. One (compound) word for you: hand-me-downs.

Me rocking another hand-me-down maternity dress

Me rocking another hand-me-down maternity dress. Clearly I forgot to put shoes on for this photo shoot…

I realize I’m incredibly fortunate to be the beneficiary of maternity hand-me-downs and I know it’s not an option for everyone. But, my sister kindly gave me all of her maternity clothes and 5 other ladies have also bestowed some of their leftover maternity garb on me. The latest batch came courtesy of the Buy Nothing Project, which has an active chapter here in Cambridge.

Sidenote: I highly recommend you check to see if the Buy Nothing Project is in your community. I’ve been able to give away stuff we no longer need and have received some excellent maternity and baby clothes in return, all for free! The Project promotes the type of community engagement, sharing, and anti-consumerism that I adore.

Now these maternity hand-me-downs are not all 1) my exact size or, 2) my exact taste. But you know what? Who cares?! They’re totally serviceable. Being picky is expensive and time-consuming. I’d much rather throw on someone else’s Pea In The Pod (more like baguette in the abdomen) cast-offs and head out to do something more interesting than shop and spend my money. As the pregnancy progresses and Babywoods grows, I might need to buy a few items, but I’m not dashing out to fill my closet before I even know what I need. Best to follow the frugal weirdo adage of biding my time before buying.

Flexibility and an open mind save Mr. FW and me a literal ton of money every year. By accepting free give-aways, shopping used, and just generally exerting our creativity to make stuff that we already own work, we’re able to get away with buying a fraction of what most American household consume in a year.

Is No One Buying Clothes In Our House?

I hate clothes. Especially baby hats. The indignity.

I hate clothes. Especially baby hats. The indignity.

Frugal Hound is certainly not buying clothes (she, in fact, hates clothes), so that’s an easy one. Mr. FW, who owns a rather paltry amount of clothing, needed a few items over the past year: undershirts and a pair of shorts.

His shorts from last summer looked more like a hole-filled dishrag with a questionable zipper. The kicker is that there was a gigantic, un-patchable hole in a mission critical area (especially noticeable since he bikes to work everyday… and as we’ve established, there are laws about these things). So, we trotted off to Goodwill and found him some excellent, brand new-looking North Face hiking shorts for $5. Money well spent.

Babywoods, for her part, has also been the beneficiary of quite a few hand-me-downs. Not too shabby for someone who is the size of an avocado at present moment. My wonderful sister and mom sent me all of my nieces’ and nephew’s old clothes as well as a number of outfits my mom saved from our childhoods. And, I’ve picked up several bags of free hand-me-down baby clothes courtesy of The Buy Nothing Project.

Plus, we bought 53 baby outfits, 3 hats, and 2 blankets for $10 at a garage sale two weeks ago (bag sales for the win!). I tentatively think Babywoods might be set on clothes for at least the first year. One thing I can say for sure: after looking at the outrageous prices of new baby clothes, Babywoods will be rocking used duds likely for her entire childhood.


53 baby outfits, 3 hats, and 2 blankets bought for $10 at a garage sale

Mr. FW and I are–unsurprisingly–committed to preparing for, and raising, Babywoods as frugally as possible. And thanks to hand-me-downs (and a few great trash finds) of not only clothes, but tons of other baby-related gear, we’re actually in pretty good shape for her accouterments already.

The Future Of The Clothes Ban

I don’t have any specific plans or parameters for the clothes-buying ban, but I certainly do intend to continue for as long as it’s feasible. When something is working and yielding positive results, I see no reason to stop just because an arbitrary deadline has passed. I find that the more committed I become to not spending money on the things we need, the more I find the universe providing.

Not buying clothes has extended far beyond the immediate benefits of fewer outfits clogging my closet and less money spent. It has transformed the way I approach all shopping and made me realize just how much we already own that enables the comforts of our privileged, first-world existence. Letting go of the pressure to impress people, or adhere to a societal standard, has brought me so much contentment. I live how I want to live and I don’t let anyone else dictate what I should buy or do.

Update: check out the next installment in this series: Maternity Clothes Are Like Christmas Trees: The Clothes-Buying Ban Continues.

Have you done a clothes or other shopping ban before? How do you identify that crucial tipping point between needs and wants?

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124 Responses

  1. Catherine says:

    I hardly bought anything for clothes while pregnant. Because i wear a uniform to work i did need new scrub pants but managed to gey away with black Costco yoga style pants for $20which i wore after pregnancy too. I also only spent maybe $50 total in other stuff…like a multiuse coat when mine didnt fit anymore at oldnavy for $20 which had multiple layers with inserts…other then that maybe $20 in some tshirts and one paor of goodwill may jeans got me through it all. I was the first pregnancy in my family or friends in over 20 years so there were no handmedowns but i still didn’t go crazy. Maternity clothes are outrageously expensive!

    • Mrs. Frugalwoods says:

      Sounds like you were super frugal with your maternity clothes–nicely done! They are indeed outrageously expensive and it seems so silly since you’re only going to wear them for a few months at a time. Good to know that Costo has maternity yoga pants–I may actually need some of those down the line. I’m still wearing my regular yoga pants to yoga and they might not stretch all 9 months…

  2. Gretchen says:

    I didn’t get a chance to say it before, so congratulations! I wish I had been able to have hand me down maternity clothes, but even though I didn’t, thrift and consignment stores were definitely my friend! By the way, I saw and awful Iot of pink in those yard sale finds….does that mean you’re having a girl?

    • Mrs. Frugalwoods says:

      Many thanks for the congrats :). And, yes we’re having a girl!!!! Thrift and consignment is definitely the way to go if you have to buy–nice!

  3. Michelle says:

    Sounds like you are doing well. That’s awesome that you were given so many maternity clothing items and that Babywoods was given items as well 🙂 Your $10 haul is amazing as well!

    I love when you said “$30 spent on clothes every month equals $360 for the year, which would then be $1,800 over five years.”

    This is something I often forget. I’ll buy something that’s $30 every now and then and think I’m doing well with my clothing shopping (it used to be REALLY bad a few years ago – something I’m still trying to control), when in reality I definitely do not need more clothing.

    • Mrs. Frugalwoods says:

      It was definitely a process for me to decide on, and embrace, this ban. I’ve always enjoyed clothes, so I really had to change my perspective. But now, I’m so happy that I have–I really like how it means I have fewer decisions to make in a given day, funny as that sounds.

  4. NZ Muse says:

    Yep I’ve done a shopping ban for a year, didn’t miss it at all!

    This year I definitely got to a point where I needed to shop (over the years all my cardigans have decided to develop little holes) and just lots of things starting to look really shabby, with some rips and stains. I hate retail shopping but like you I do enjoy thrifting. I can’t remember the last time I bought something new. My current quest is to find a nice plain black cardigan, proving IMPOSSIBLE! Also some black winter boots.

    • Mrs. Frugalwoods says:

      Thrifting is the way to be! And, that’s awesome you did a shopping ban for a year! I feel your pain on the plain black cardigan–a few years ago I was on that quest myself and it always seems like it’s most difficult to find the basic items. I ended up getting one new at Ann Taylor using a gift card I received for Christmas. It was so expensive, it hurt to even use the gift card, but, I’m still wearing that cardigan. Good luck in your search!

  5. We often clothes swap with children’s clothes. We will donate to friends and family with younger children and have received as well. Such a good ay to save money and not waste perfectly good clothing.

    • Mrs. Frugalwoods says:

      Clothes swapping is a great idea!! Definitely something I want to get into as Babywoods gets older.

  6. Brian says:

    Thats awesome mrs fw.

    We did not take a clothing ban like you, but we almost never purchase clothes either. We have 3 kids (one boy, two girls), and the amount of clothing that is forced upon us by their grandmothers alone is crazy. Mix in a baby shower and friend/family and it kind of boggles my mind why anyone would spend more than a few $ here and there on clothing.

    I mean, they are going to get the clothes crazy dirty like 10 minutes after they put them on anyway, so why spend extra money on ‘nice’ stuff for them?

    Craigslist, thrift stores, consignment stores, ebay, friends, family, co-workers……you can get everything you need for super chear/free until the kida are old enough to buy their own clothes! Same goes for maternity stuff and all the other non-consumable baby crap (crib, changing table, toys, blankets, car seat…..etc)

    • Mrs. Frugalwoods says:

      Hooray for hand-me-downs and grandparents :)!!! I think Babywoods will be similarly provided for through those two methods 🙂

  7. Kalie says:

    I applaud anyone who can resist the well-marketed message that expecting a baby should be super expensive. I found that hand-me-downs maternity clothes and regular slightly larger clothing got me a long way, too. (Being small to begin with helps.) I love that you said eating is about fuel and clothing is about protection and decency because these thoughts are a big part of what guides our frugality. It might sound ascetic, but I’ve found hand-me-downs and home cooking are the keys to enjoying these essentials without worshiping them.

  8. Heidi S says:

    That black dress with a pink belt looks super cute !!

    I’m jealous of your clothing swap situation! As a girl who wears nothing but tall (or at the very least Long) size clothing- I can barely find things that fit when shopping new in stores (Kohls does not carry talls!) , let alone at goodwill. So I fail on that front at frugality, but I do try to buy only what I need when things are heavily on sale (ie $12 for work pants at Old Navy instead of $30-40).

    • Mrs. Frugalwoods says:

      I feel your pain on the need for long sizes! I don’t need long clothes, but my feet are long–size 9.5 double narrow, which is not a common hand-me-down or thrift store size at all :(. Good for you for finding awesome sales though–$12 for pants is stellar!

  9. I received (and then passed on) quite a few maternity hand-me-downs.I did end up buying a couple of things, like nice-ish black pants, which I wore to work pretty much every day of my second and third trimesters, and a couple of sweaters (from Kohl’s!) near the end. (My daughter was born in late October.) I found it amazing how people offered up maternity and baby stuff once I was pregnant – it was great!

    I haven’t heard of the Buy Nothing Project but I’m going to see if it’s in my area, too. I typically use Freecycle, which is quite active here.

    • Mrs. Frugalwoods says:

      That’s great you were able to rock the hand-me-downs as well! I hope you do have a Buy Nothing Project–it has really been awesome for us!

  10. Hannah says:

    Getting stuff for free is a great way to go with maternity wear- I definitely got all but a small amount of (thrifted) clothing for free. I also had to buy new undergarments.

    I was lucky that I didn’t have to buy new shoes. Since my son was born in the summer, I got to wear sandals through my puffy feet stage.

    • Mrs. Frugalwoods says:

      Oooo, I hadn’t thought about shoes… hopefully I can make it to November ;)! That’s great you were able to get so many free clothes too!

  11. Sarah says:

    Awesome that you’ve gotten so much stuff for free!! The Buy Nothing Project sounds interesting – I’ll definitely be checking if there’s one in Charlotte!

    I’ve been through two pregnancies and purchased very little. I did buy one pair of black maternity work pants (that I literally wore every day to work) and one pair of maternity jeans. Around the house, I’d just wear my husband’s t-shirts or long tank tops. Another trick – if you DO end up needing to buy a few tops, I’d recommend just getting a size large in regular clothing (assuming you’re small – which you look so in the pics!!). I bought a few large Old Navy tank tops for a few dollars and am actually wearing one now, even though I’m not pregnant. They are just longer on me now than they were when I was pregnant 🙂

    • Mrs. Frugalwoods says:

      Good call on getting a larger regular size! I’ve found that a few larger (non-small or XS) shirts that I own fit very comfortably now. I hope you do have a Buy Nothing Project there in Charlotte–it’s really an awesome concept!

  12. Mrs. Budgets says:

    Having siblings is the greatest for many reasons but the ability to share clothes is up there on the list. I have a spendy sister which works to my benefit in the clothes department.

    • Mrs. Frugalwoods says:

      Siblings are awesome for clothes sharing (and other reasons too 😉 )! My sister is super frugal, but she’s very crafty and thrifty and gets lots of hand-me-downs herself. So, some of the maternity and baby clothes she passed along are handed down twice, which I think is great!

  13. Awesome score on the baby clothes! Kids grow so darn fast that it doesn’t make sense to spend much of anything because they’ll be in the outfit once or twice and then they’ll be too big for it. I think we spent very little on clothes for my wife when she was pregnant – the bulk of it came from friends with a few secondhand store items thrown in near the end.

    • Mrs. Frugalwoods says:

      Totally makes sense about the baby clothes! The latest batch we received are technically “boy” clothes, but who cares? She’ll be in them for a few hours and then onto something else! That’s great your wife was able to skate through maternity clothes on the cheap!

  14. Tarynkay says:

    Hand-me-downs are awesome! A close friend just gave me her entire maternity wardrobe. It is all really nice stuff, way nicer than I ever would have sprung for. I have had to buy some new bras. This was really unavoidable.

    If you plan to use cloth diapers, that is a great thing to look for on the gently used cheap or free market.

    • Mrs. Frugalwoods says:

      Hand-me-downs are indeed awesome! I’ve been wondering about the need for bras… not a need yet, but I know a nursing bra will need to be purchased at some point. Have you found a good, cheap source? I’m thinking Kohl’s but haven’t done my research yet.

      • Tarynkay says:

        I actually got mine at Target. I did go ahead and get nursing bras on the advice of everyone ever. The ugly nursing bras there are quite comfortable and supportive. The pretty ones there are itchy stabby torture devices. Also, the sleep nursing bras there are comfortable, supportive enough for day (for me at least) and 2 for $10.

        • Mrs. Frugalwoods says:

          That’s great to know–thank you! I will definitely be shopping for comfort, so 2 for $10 sounds pretty ideal to me.

  15. My daughter lives in only used clothing and has no issue with it because it’s what we’ve always done. She also gets very excited to get a new bag of hand me downs from someone.
    When I was pregnant, I didn’t buy any maternity clothing either. I relied on a lot of my really stretchy knit dresses, and it was perfect! The day before I went into labor, I have a picture of myself in a non-maternity knit shirt that I still wear. 🙂

    • Mrs. Frugalwoods says:

      Wow, I’m impressed you were still in non-maternity clothes at 9 months!!! And, I love that your daughter gets excited about hand-me-downs :)! We’ll have to take Babywoods to a ‘new’ store once a year in the same way that you’d visit a zoo–for the experience, not to touch.

  16. Stephanie says:

    Congratulations on your pregnancy! I am not on a clothing ban, but find it pointless to purchase many clothes during my pregnancy, I am currently 29 weeks with my first. My sister gave me enough tops to wear throughout the pregnancy, but because I am very petite (5’1”, 99 pounds pre pregnancy) I did have to buy two pairs of pants for work. I just alternate every other day. I also recently had to purchase a new sports bra if I wanted to continue to work out through my third trimester. It has been unbelievable to see how much my body can change in such a short period of time! I recently had a work baby shower, since our school year ends tomorrow and was surprised how many clothes I’ve received! Enough to not have to buy anything, and as an added bonus, two of my sisters have plenty of baby clothes for me to borrow upon the arrival of my baby girl.

    • Mrs. Frugalwoods says:

      Congrats to you on your pregnancy too :)! That’s wonderful you’ve received so many hand-me-downs and gifts! It definitely seems like it’s possible to go about pregnancy and babies frugally 🙂

  17. You are certainly blessed with not having to spend a dime on clothes. Those maternity dresses are so nice! I realize that I just have way too much and in the process of doing some purging. On Sunday I was looking for something to wear to church and I couldn’t believe all the items I had still with tags. I know I need an intervention. The good thing is that this problem I believe is in the past for I don’t need to shop to heal my wounds anymore.

    • Mrs. Frugalwoods says:

      That’s wonderful you’ve decided to purge your closet and that you’re not shopping as a balm anymore. Way to go!

  18. velvetanne says:

    Congratulations! When I was pregnant, none of those cool stores like Pea in the Pod existed – it was JC Penney’s or Sears so I sewed my own clothes and bought a few men’s xxl t shirts and stretch pants. It is important to feel like you look good when you are pregnant – especially in the those last couple of months. The one trick we all did way back then was to slip a thick rubber band through the button hole of your regular jeans or pants and pull it through forming a loop out of the rubber band and use that loop to loop around the button on the pants. I found a link that shows it but I bet you’ve already seen this site. Good luck – I loved being pregnant and every minute of my children.

  19. Kim from Philadelphia says:

    You and your “baguette bump” look lovely in your new-to- you clothes!!
    Once again, so very happy for you and Mr. Frugal woods!

    Though I can’t comment personally about maternity wear ( our sweet son joined our family through adoption), I can echo your sentiment of choosing not to shop as a hobby.
    My current frugal clothing adventures include paring down my somewhat expanded body size so that I can return to my previous 1 size smaller pants and shirts that remain in my closet. Once I fit comfortably in them I will have several more items to rotate into my wardrobe without spending a penny. Well, the cost of my $10 a month gym membership which is a personal treat and has worked out well for me!

    • Mrs. Frugalwoods says:

      $10/month for a gym membership is fantastic–what a great deal! My best wishes to you in getting down a size–sounds like a wonderful frugal goal to me 🙂

  20. That’s wonderful that you got so many hand me downs. We definitely were fortunate with that when our son was born…and for the most part, the clothes are in great condition because babies grow so fast. I cringe when I see people paying a lot money for baby clothes…saw a toddler with True Religion jeans and apparently they can run over $100. Ridiculous! I’m pretty impressed with your clothes buying ban. I don’t have a ban, but I really don’t remember when the last time I bought clothing was. It probably is easier for a guy though. =)

    • Mrs. Frugalwoods says:

      Haha, $100 for jeans is absurd for anyone, but it’s particularly egregious for a toddler! That’s great you got so many hand-me-downs for your son; it’s definitely the way to go :).

  21. Love it! My wife did end up doing a craigslist haul last year for maternity clothes, but it was seriously over $1000 worth of clothes for under $100. I’ll take it!

    • Mrs. Frugalwoods says:

      Craigslist is a great idea for maternity clothes! I’ve never purchased clothes on Craigslist before, but it sounds like a good source.

  22. I hope your pregnancy is going well so far, Mrs. FW! I too put a stop to buying any clothes at the start of 2014 (and still going strong!), then got pregnant, but happy to say that I lasted my entire pregnancy without buying a single article of clothing. Unlike you, I was not fortunate to receive any hand me downs, so glad you were able to. I also work from home most of the time, so that helped with the work clothes – and the times where I did travel or go into the office, you just had to be creative – I found dresses and jackets were the way to go! So it’s completely doable, but foremost, I wish you a healthy and safe pregnancy 🙂

    • Mrs. Frugalwoods says:

      Many thanks for your good wishes! And, that’s really impressive you were able to make it through your whole pregnancy without buying anything and without hand-me-downs. Wow!!

  23. I love gathering tips on how you are accomplishing pregnancy with frugality! Also, the baguette reference – absolutely adorable! Although, planning for a baby is not in my immediate future it will be sometime soon. I have a colleague who browses the website quite often, and proceeds to tell me about all the new items I should buy in preparation for a baby because she wishes the following were available when she was pregnant. I just smile & nod because in my mind I know there are other ways to receive such items without purchasing new. 🙂

    • Mrs. Frugalwoods says:

      Haha, yes! People are fond of telling me all the things I “should” buy for baby and I just nod along knowing full well I won’t be buying any of it ;). Glad I can be helpful with frugal pregnant tips–I’m certainly learning as I go :).

  24. Well done! I’ve found that bans are good practice, even if they’re not adhered to 100% of the time. It’s like you said: goals should be hard, if only to change behavior to the maximum possible extent.

    I am, for better or worse, still someone who tries to buy fun/happiness with money. I still think it’s possible that happiness is at the bottom of a thrift store bin.

    • Mrs. Frugalwoods says:

      Happiness could indeed be at the bottom of a thrift store bin, I wouldn’t rule that out just yet…. ;).

  25. I found this to be such an insightful thought: “Identifying the tipping point where doing something ceases to be about its intended function (eating for fuel; buying clothes for warmth and decency) and starts to become about tertiary wants (flavor; a fun wardrobe) is a key aspect of this journey for me.”

    I am guilty of doing this both with clothing and food. I shop because it feels good and I eat because it feels good, and both need to stop. I appreciate how you’ve thought through not just the practicalities of not shopping but also the mental/emotional side of the equation.

    • Mrs. Frugalwoods says:

      The emotional side is, I think, so much harder to surmount than the practical–at least for me! I’m really trying to apply that ‘tipping point’ test to a lot of things in my life. A little experiment, if you will. We’ll see how it goes :). Good luck to you in your journey on this front!

  26. I don’t have an official clothes ban going on in my home, but I have been unofficially on one for the past two years. I just kind of decided that I didn’t need anything and I make what I have in my closet work. Last year I actually needed a dress for an event, I gave myself a $30 budget to find something and I found a dress for $24.99 from TJ Maxx and the entire time I was in line waiting to pay for the dress, I wanted to turn around and return it because I didn’t really believe that I needed it. It’s funny how you can adjust your mind to your spending to the point where you really hate it when you do.

    • Mrs. Frugalwoods says:

      So true! For me, its been all about changing my mindset with regard to shopping and the idea of consumption in general. That’s awesome you’ve been on an unofficial ban for two years–that’s impressive!! Although I do still want to take you thrift store shopping ;).

  27. bev says:

    I wish you could see my grandchildren’s rooms and how beautifully they are “decorated”, all with left-overs, hand-me-downs, garage sale, thrift store stuff that my daughter found. The furniture was all repainted, bedding washed and reused, (new mattresses though), all really nice stuff that other kids had grown out of. We were so broke when she was born, her clothes were all stored in a cardboard box under her crib because all we could afford was a used crib. She grew up just fine. Kids don’t require decorated theme-rooms, they just want a few cute things to make them feel special. I’m so glad my daughter is smart with her kids and her money.

    • Mrs. Frugalwoods says:

      Sounds like your daughter is a lady after my own heart :)! I definitely agree that kids don’t need a bunch of fancy, new stuff to make them feel loved, secure, and happy. We just feel so lucky that we’ve received so many hand-me-downs for Babywoods!

  28. Amy K says:

    We were visiting friends and told them I was pregnant. She immediately rushed upstairs and put together a paper shopping bag full of maternity clothes for me to borrow, just as other friends had done for her. The urge that “someone should get use out of these things!” is strong! Those were on loan, and my sister-in-law mailed me all of her maternity clothes because she was done having kids. Between those two I had 80% of my maternity needs covered.

    My tip, and I don’t know if it will work for you: I had a friend who was pregnant about the same time as me; actually due 3 months after me. Around 7 or 8 months along I was sick of wearing the same things over and over. She and I swapped some clothes, which refreshed my wardrobe and got me out of that funk. Once my daughter was born I passed her clothes back to her along with everything from my S-I-L (the first friend’s clothes went back to her because she was pregnant with her second child). So if you can find a friend to swap with you can both take advantage of the two streams of hand-me-downs.

    • Mrs. Frugalwoods says:

      Love the swapping idea–that’s great! I don’t know anyone at the moment who is at the same stage of pregnancy as me, but maybe I’ll meet someone :). Some of my sister’s maternity and baby clothes hand-me-downs were handed down to her, so I’m loving that this is their second hand-me-down time around! Hopefully they’ll make it long enough for me to pass them along as well.

  29. beth says:

    As a Canadian I am wondering what happens when the baby comes? Here in Canada you have to pay for a circumcision but there is no charge for labour and delivery and follow up appointments for mom and baby.

    After the baby arrives mom has a year of government paid maternity leave and her employer is required to hold her job. Men can take some paternity leave too.

    • Mrs. Frugalwoods says:

      Great questions! Here in the US, it’s largely dependent upon your individual health insurance and individual employer. We’re extremely fortunate to have great insurance and so we pay only $500 for the entirety of pre-natal care and the birth/hospital stay.

      Maternity and paternity leave is largely dependent upon individual employers and the availability of short-term disability as well as the Family Medical Leave Act. I’ll do a post in the future that goes more in-depth on this, but suffice it to say, we get nothing even close to a year of paid maternity leave here in the US! I am quite jealous of your system!

  30. Kirsten says:

    When I got pregnant, I bought one pair of black pants and one black skirt and rotated them all week with some tops. Some of the tops and some of the dresses I wore until arond 8 months were non maternity clothes. In fact, I’m still wearing those close today, 5 years later.

    Our families have also rallied around us and we almost never have to buy clothes for either girl. We get plenty of new and used clothes delivered straight to our doorstep year round. We are, on one hand very lucky, and on another hand pretty smart to stick more or less JUST to those clothes. No need to buy 20 outfits when we have plenty (whether or not they are really our taste). Now, poor mom in law keeps sending me NEW items that I will not dress my girls in. Spaghetti strap dress? NO!!!! No, no, no, no. Teaching modesty starts now. I also do not want to have to button onesies on a walking, practically talking toddler who doesn’t want to sit still for changing. Plus you have to button them at every diaper change. So I just exchanged an entire shipment of clothes for a Target gift card. I’ll pick more appropriate (for us) clothes (hopefully on sale).

    • Mrs. Frugalwoods says:

      That’s a great philosophy–I’m all for sticking with what’s free (or exchanging it!). And, buttoned onesies do not seem like an easy idea at all. Seems like snaps are the way to go!

  31. That’s so wonderful that you were able to get some maternity hand-me-downs! I didn’t have that option when I was pregnant, but I still only ended up purchasing 3 maternity clothing items during my entire pregnancy (1 pair of jeans, 1 pair of leggings, and 1 nicer dress for baby showers), so I think I still came out of the whole experience pretty frugally 🙂 Although I did stretch out a ton of my shirts to beyond repair, so there’s that to consider too. One (non-frugal) thing I totally recommend to do at least once during your pregnancy is to get a prenatal massage. Ideally after 30 weeks or so. It’s seriously worth every single penny!!

    • Mrs. Frugalwoods says:

      Sounds like you made it through pretty frugally–buying just three things is super impressive!!!

  32. The most powerful idea for me in this post is the idea that goals should be a challenge. We are so accustomed to instant gratification in our society that it’s almost heresy to suggest that something should really push us! For example, it’s so easy to know things now, with Google always at the ready on any smartphone, and we’ve been trying to NOT Google every little thing, but to actually force ourselves to THINK about what the answer might be, jog our memories, talk to others. Way more fulfilling, and helps us boost our patience and thinking skills. We see this as very similar in practice to a shopping ban, a super frugal month, or some meditation practices. It’s all about practicing patience and being present, and not looking to that instant payoff.

    Major kudos to you for staying committed to not buying clothes even in the face of pregnancy and a new baby! We’ve seen so many friends go hog wild with baby stuff, so your story is a refreshing change of pace. Congrats again!

    • Mrs. Frugalwoods says:

      That’s an interesting approach to patience–I like it! We’re certainly guilty of being rampant googlers ;). Thanks for the congrats! We’re definitely committed to staying frugal throughout the whole pregnancy and baby experience, so its been a fun learning process.

  33. That’s great that you are continuing your tradition of no clothes buying. Like you, I used to shop at thrift stores often. I found really, really cool stuff, but it was still just too much stuff. I have since purged my closets and I still like to go to thrift stores, but I am much more sensible about buying anything. Also, on the pregnancy and child front, as a minimalist, it would drive me nuts if I had to buy temporary clothes that wouldn’t fit me or my child in a few months. Hand me downs are the way to go!

    • Mrs. Frugalwoods says:

      Agreed on the used clothes front–I would not want to waste the money on new clothes that I’ll only wear for a few months at a time! That’s great that you went through a closet purge. I definitely used to be tempted by all the great deals I’d find at thrift stores… I had to remind myself that it’s not a deal if I don’t need it!

  34. Val says:

    We love hand-me-downs here as well. Our youngest is a girl and I have bought maybe 1 thing a year for her since she was born and she will be 7 this fall. The last thing I bought her was a winter jacket that she will get 2 maybe 3 years out of, for only $11. And shoes, because we don’t usually get those from friends and family. The boys on the other hand are a bit more difficult, after the age of 2 or 3 until they reach a stage where they don’t wear things out before they grow out of them 🙂

    • Mrs. Frugalwoods says:

      That’s amazing how little you’ve had to buy for your daughter! My mom and sister (who each have one son and two daughters) say that the boys’ clothes just get destroyed and have very little hope of being handed down to anyone :).

  35. Kate says:

    Glad that you and Babywoods are doing so well!! My pregnancies are far, far in the past (DKids are 27 and 23), but I remember with gratitude all the people who lent me maternity clothes, baby clothes, etc., etc. I am totally with you on consignment or thrift-shopping for kids. I can’t tell you the number of times I have gone into consignment stores and found lovely baby outfits with the tags still on them! As you know, it’s not only fun to score a bargain, it’s also fun to be able to give to people and support them in a happy, though stressful, time in their lives.

    • Mrs. Frugalwoods says:

      That’s wonderful you received so many hand-me-downs! And I agree with you, it’s a virtuous cycle to share and hand down things we no longer need. Such a better alternative to always buying new.

  36. A few of my friends seemed to get pregnant all in a row, so they’ve been doing hand-me-downs for both mommy and baby! Seems to be working well for them.

  37. I had to buy a lot of maternity clothes–my sister’s were all scrubs and/or the wrong season–but in the beginning, when I was not big enough for maternity clothes, I raided my mom’s closet for larger sizes. Very handy!

    I’ve never had a big enough wardrobe to have a clothing ban and am actually considering revamping my wardrobe. I never had a flat abdomen, but now that I am a mom, it is even less flat. I own several pencil skirts and empire-waist dresses that now make me look like I am trying not-very-successfully to conceal a second-trimester pregnancy. (The baby is 3.) Away with them!

    I’ve exhausted Goodwill (where I did find a pair of shorts and a nice black T-shirt–Land’s End–for 99 cents each), so next I will be looking in fancier consignment stores. Then Kohl’s; Loft is the last step. (Those are the two stores where a lady can generally find petite sizes. Belk has some, too, but only for petite grandmas.) I’m trying to be really intentional about shopping–not “I need clothes” but “I need one pair of shorts, a dress I can wear to work or not, a couple of knit tops, and an A-line skirt,” for instance–not quite a capsule wardrobe, but a smaller, nicer, better thought-out one.

    • Mrs. Frugalwoods says:

      I like the intentional approach–sounds like a great idea. Kohl’s is definitely my favorite ‘new’ store since their stuff is pretty cheap and tends to last quite awhile too. I’m always impressed with the quality. Good luck to you in your search!!

      • Thanks! Word to the wise: Kohl’s baby and kid Jumping Bean line is not all that durable. I often buy them anyway because they are cute, inexpensive, and it is the only place where I can reliably find elastic-waist pants that actually fit my short, stocky tykes.

  38. Deb says:

    How do get past peer and self pressure for wearing nice, new clothes? New clothes have a new, crispness that while only last a 2-3 washes, used clothes likely won’t at a all. I have a couple friends that are fashionistas and I’m casually dating, so I want my clothes to look good. But, I ilke the idea of saving money, too. I don’t love shopping and shopping for used clothes may take more time.

    • Greypaws says:

      Mrs. FW needs to answer the peer pressure portion, Even I have learned from her wise counsel and I’m old LOL

      As for your existing clothing, I can help with that, always having had to make due. I finally ditched a skirt that I wore in 12th grade after 10 yrs of use. Arm yourself with a pill buster, the battery operated ones work pretty good, Woolite, variety of thread colors, needle, scissors, heavy duty spray starch and iron. Totally go over each piece of clothing, repair defects and if it looks shabby, donate to thrift store. Clothing loses it’s new look after washing due to the fabric banging into each other in the washer/dryer (causes pilling, laundry soaps cause faded look). Wash your delicates and flimsy clothes by hand in Woolite, air dry, iron according to fabric direction. The rest of your clothing: wash only a few pieces at a time, in the trusty Woolite, matching fabric weight & colors, air dry as many as possible, if it needs drying use low heat, shortest amount of time possible, air dry to finish up. Then use that spray starch and iron. I know, rarely does anyone iron anything but this goes a long way to keep your clothes looking crisp & fresh.

      As for purchases, don’t fall into the what’s new this month trend. New purchases, even thrift store finds: look for in like new condition, check stress/wear points for damage, only buy separates that you can mix & match and accessorize with jewlery, scarves ect depending on the event. Look for classic lines, basic solid colors for your pants & skirts and skip anything that looks like todays trend which will be outdate next month. You can make a gorgeous going out to dinner outfit with your well fitting, ‘ironed’ jeans, heels, cute top and jewlery 🙂 And last but not least, change out of your good clothes and put on hanger as soon as soon as you can. Squirt with a bit of fabric freshner, let dry and touch up with iron when you’ve time, so they are ready for the next outing. Unless you’ve spilled something or perspired heavily, you don’t need to wash outer clothes each time you wear them.

      • Mrs. Frugalwoods says:

        This is all fabulous advice from Greypaws! I heartily second the careful washing approach–I wash all of our nice clothes inside-out, in cold water, on the delicate cycle. Then, I hang them to air dry. Not using the dryer is a wonderful way to ensure the longevity of your clothing–it helps it retain that crisp look for years longer.

        I actually don’t enjoy shopping for new clothes because I find stores so overwhelming with way too many choices. But I do like thrift and consignment stores because there are far fewer items and they either have something in your size or they don’t. I find it much faster and easier to thrift shop, personally.

        As for getting past the peer pressure, I think for me its been about both lessening the importance I put into caring about what other people think (you can see my post How I Let Go Of Caring What People Think for more). And, I also feel like my clothes do look nice–I take care of them and I’m happy to re-wear things for years. Mostly, I’ve come to a place where I feel more confident about myself and less concerned with my outward appearance.

        I wish you all the very best, Deb! Feel free to let me know if you have any other questions :).

  39. Congrats on the bump! I’m 24 weeks pregnant and only now starting to really “round” out from that baguette stage. I’m making do with hand-me-downs too. The only item I’ll be buying is a dress for my baby shower (with the intent that it’s something I’ll be able to wear after pregnancy too, and not over $20 TOPS). My mom bought me two things that I resisted like crazy because I didn’t want to spend money on maternity: a supportive bra (these ladies are out of control now and a sports bra was not cutting it), and a pair of maternity shorts (the kind with the big elastic tummy). Both have actually been pretty amazing in my day-to-day comfort levels. I’d rec putting aside the ban to get a good bra, but otherwise it’s totally easy to just make do!

    • Leah says:

      Agreed that you should put aside the ban to get a few awesome bras. Buy nursing bras, and they’ll see you through for quite awhile. I found I didn’t need nursing tanks or anything; I just have cheap spaghetti strap camis, and I pull them down to nurse. But a good nursing bra? Worth every cent. I have two bravado bras I love.

      • Mrs. Frugalwoods says:

        Funny you should mention nursing bras–that is in fact the one thing I do plan on buying :). Where did you get yours?

        • Leah says:

          I bought mine via Amazon on recommendation from friends. They’re $40 and worth every single penny. I hang dry them. They have removable pads in the bra itself, which is awesome (tho I don’t leak), so you can change those out. What I love about the bravado bras is that they are soft, so it’s okay if I fall asleep in one. They feel like wearing a structured sports bra, honestly. Good coverage, easy to move around in, and really solid snaps for easy access nursing. I did take them off for pumping. With pumping, I cut holes in a cheap sports bra to hold the cones. Medela cones are in two parts, so you can pull the cones apart in order to get them through the hole.

          Re: pads, if you do leak, you can make/buy reusable ones. And sometimes the hospital will give you free disposable ones (or you can scout ones out — I got tons somehow between prenatal class and the hospital).

          Destination Maternity, Motherhood, etc all have outlet stores and sales racks. If you want to try bras on, they have a better selection than Target. I have friends who bought Target nursing bras, but I tried them all on, and they just didn’t work for me. But if you can get away with that, more power to you.

          One more thing re: bras — I bought a band extender at Target to limp my normal bras through pregnancy and started in with the nursing bras right after birth. But you could wear the nursing bras near the end of pregnancy. Wait to buy them until the last 1.5 months or so, and buy something with a little stretch (also true of the bravado bras). My breasts didn’t enlarge much during pregnancy but definitely did upon nursing.

          Our hospital did a prenatal class to get acquainted with how the hospital does stuff, and that was also worth the money.

  40. Emily says:

    Love that you are still able to source your and baby’s clothes without shopping for new stuff. I for one HATE shopping and merely entering a mall or big box store gives me nausea. Could you do a yard sale tips post at some point? I’m pretty good at thrift store shopping, but husband and I tried to hit some yard sales this past weekend and mostly stumbled upon junk sales. I sense that rule #1 is get there early, which we did not do. Any other tips would be very welcome!!

    • Mrs. Frugalwoods says:

      Haha, I HATE shopping new too! I can’t stand actual stores–thrift and consignment I’m fine with, but there’s something about the overwhelming hugeness of ‘new’ stores :). Hmmm, yard sale tips is a great question… I think you’re right that getting there right when they start is the best approach. We typically try to arrive within the first hour of a sale.

      Also, always drive a hard bargain–if they really wanted or expected to get lots of money from something, they would’ve tried to sell it on Craigslist. For the baby clothes, for example, they’d originally wanted $0.50 per item, but we just made them the offer of $10 for the whole bag (which worked out to bout $0.17 per item) and they were happy with the price because they just wanted the stuff gone! Other than that, if you’re already a pro at thrift shopping, you’re going to excel at yard sales :).

  41. Anna says:

    I’ll admit I purchased a lot of maternity clothing, although all of it from the thrift store or eBay. Amazingly some of it is still being passed around 8 years later. The clothing is well traveled. What’s still in circulation is now in Colorado, but I was pregnant in Pittsburgh, PA.
    You will eventually have to buy new bras and panties. Both your bustline and your hips will expand. Going from AA to a B/C cup size was my favorite part of pregnancy and nursing. Congrats on your pregnancy!

    • Mrs. Frugalwoods says:

      Thanks so much for the congrats! I’ve had a sneaking suspicious that I’ll need to get some new undergarments before too long here… :).

  42. I’m on an unofficial ban that is fueled by a combo of laziness and luck – I just got my own box of hand me downs from a friend.
    Hand me downs are the best!

  43. Greypaws says:

    You go woman! amazing collection of ‘hand me ups’. I refused to call them hand me downs years ago when friends shared barely used, in like new condition maternity clothes or childrens clothes. You will be needing new undies & bras as the weeks go by. If you are going to nurse, purchase that style bra when you need, you’ll get more bang for your buck.

    How is the morning sickness? are you feeling better or still nauseaus more often then not?

    It is so easy to fall into the ‘I work hard everyday and if I want “…… ” I’m not going to deprive myself. Honestly, we’ve also found we could have lived without most of those purchases or at the very least sourced a cheaper option. Life has a huge learning curve and we are still learning better alternatives, even tho we are at the retirement portion of our life. I was reading an article on CNN money about a family that retired, sold their home, moved to Fl to their dream retirement and a bunch of bad circumstances/decisions had them with empty cupboards, as in they had nothing to eat and no money to purchase food! As badly as I feel for those folks, it is a huge reminder that you need make truly wise choices, consistently. Instant gratification isn’t all it’s cracked up to be ,neither is living other peoples life style choices.

    • Mrs. Frugalwoods says:

      So true about instant gratification. I consider frugality to be the ultimate long-play–it takes forethought and planning, but it really pays out in the end. And, thank you for asking, the morning sickness seems to be entirely gone, which I’m very grateful for :)!

  44. Mrs. FI says:

    Good for you with sticking to your clothes ban! I didn’t start an “official” ban when Mr. FI began this journey to FI, but I don’t think I’ve bought any clothing since we started, now that I think about it. It’s amazing to realize what you DON’T need and how easy it is to STOP BUYING what you don’t need when you have a bigger goal in mind. Pretty much all of my clothes I do have were given to me, or I bought them using gift cards. Only ever using gift cards helped me to not buy them often AND gave me a pretty good excuse to update the wardrobe, at least yearly, which seemed like the most frugal and genius thing in the world at the time. But then I thought, instead of opting for gift cards that allowed me to shop at department stores (Kohl’s is my #1 choice, too) I could start requesting that the cards I received (from work, birthdays, Christmas, etc) be for places where my spending would be more useful than stylish. Now it’s Home Depot, Lowe’s and Amazon for gift card choices because we’re home owners and Amazon has just about everything 😉 Looking forward to hearing how your clothing adventures continue as you go through your pregnancy and that Frugalhound learns to love baby hats haha

    • Mrs. Frugalwoods says:

      So true about gift cards! We definitely love cards to Home Depot and Amazon–imminently useful! Not sure that Frugal Hound will ever truly love baby hats, but we can (and should) certainly keep trying ;).

  45. Chonce says:

    I’m currently on a clothes shopping ban now which will be over next month but I may continue it longer because I honestly don’t feel the need to purchase more clothes and it feels great! I buy a ton of used clothes for my son since he grows so fast and doesn’t really take care of his clothes in the first place any way. That’s an amazing deal you got at the garage sale. I was super small when I was pregnant, so who knows, you might not need to purchase any new clothes for a while 🙂

  46. ARBM says:

    I have not been on a clothes shopping ban… but over the past year or more, I have not done much in the way of shopping… though I’m getting to the point now where things are starting to wear out…

  47. Cute hand-me-downs 🙂 I love the dresses you showed here.

  48. Mr Zombie says:

    Awesome work on not getting sucked into the marketing gravity-well that is baby stuff (a similar category to the equally money hungry wedding spending). It’s weird how people feel, or judge others, that unless they are buying new stuff they are somehow not caring for their child.

    Who knows, perhaps when baby Z is on the way I will go into a whirl wind of purchasing designer socks and hats for my baby…. I doubt it somehow but who knows.

    Mr Z

    Frugalhound looks as awesome as ever 😀

    • Mrs. Frugalwoods says:

      I think you’ll be able to stay strong and avoid the baby-consumer-complex :). It’s easy with so many hand-me-downs and used options out there!

  49. brookst says:

    I work in a hospital so 90% of my co-workers are women and we all share. I receive hand me downs for my daughter from 2 different women who’s girls are a year or two older than mine. In turn I bring my daughters to a lady I work with. We’ve been doing this for years. When I come home with a garbage bag my daughter thinks it’s Christmas. As she gets older I occasionally find a shirt or hoodie I can fit into.

  50. Kim says:

    One of the beautiful things about having a baby is how much stuff people want to give you. It also make you feel good to pass along stuff to the next person when you’re done having kids. Honestly, maternity clothes and baby gear could almost be like that fruitcake that keeps getting handed down year to year!

  51. Frugal sister says:

    SO glad you can use the maternity clothes- and for the baguette, you know there’ll be more coming each month!
    Thanks for continuing to be such an inspiration. Big love from your big sister.

  52. Devan says:

    Way to go, Mrs. Frugalwoods, it’s awesome that you’re continuing in your hard-core frugal ways as an expectant Mom! I think even the most frugal of folks can sometimes get brainwashed by all the aggressive baby marketing and worry that they’re not doing things “right” if they don’t buy all the things. (Did you know there’s a chain of stores actually called “buybuyBaby”???!! We discovered this recently when attempting to purchase a baby shower gift and found it very disturbing!!) And thank you for mentioning the Buy Nothing Project. I had not heard of that, but now I’m signed up as part of my local group and am getting together some give-away items to post – what a fabulous idea!

    • Mrs. Frugalwoods says:

      Thank you so much! And yes, I too was horrified to learn that Buy Buy Baby is a real store–sounds like my worst nightmare ;). I’m so glad you’ve signed up for the Buy Nothing Project. I hope you enjoy it!

  53. Way to go! I’ve mainly started only buying clothes when necessary. IE, as my weight fluctuates. In the past two and a half years, I’ve purchased a few pairs of pants. All but one pair was from Gap outlet stores or Old Navy. I purchased a few shirts for various FinCon on sale/at Marshall’s. (Including a shirt I get compliments on that was $4 thankyouverymuch.) The biggest expenses were bras thanks to weight loss. I don’t like the cheaper versions. So I bit the bullet and bought at Victoria’s Secret… over time. And with rewards certificates/coupons whenever humanly possible.

    If I manage to get — and more importantly, stay — pregnant, I won’t have any hand-me-downs for maternity clothes. My readers suggested consignment stores.

    Revanche over at Gai Shan Life currently has a wee tot, and she’s indicated she’ll send me the stuff the kid has outgrown if I end up with a baby. Otherwise, I’m more than happy to shop at thrift stores. The lil ‘un is just gonna spit up/poop on/get food all over the clothes. Why not just search out gently used clothing at thrift stores and garage sales?

    • Mrs. Frugalwoods says:

      That’s awesome you’ve done such minimal purchasing over the past few years–nicely done! And, the thrift/consignment/garage sale route is definitely ideal for baby stuff. I agree with you–they’re just going to get it dirty, so why not start with used!

  54. Julia says:

    I’m back to comment again. This is pretty much exactly what I did when I was pregnant. I got so many hand-me-downs, and they keep on coming for little Squeak. I wanted to have some sort of celebration, so we had a co-ed baby shower and asked for pre-loved gifts. We got some awesome stuff! I did end up buying a few clothes along the way (jeans, a handful of shirts, and bras- oh the changes!), and my mom really likes to buy clothes for the baby. We’ve even been lucky enough to have friends give us their cloth diapers. We’ve bought a few of our own as she’s grown, but almost all second hand. Good stuff!

  55. Congrats! I am so excited to see Babywoods! Those clothes would be perfect for your baby, I am sure. Good luck Frugalwoods!

  56. Marcia says:

    This is pretty awesome. I got about 1/2 hand me downs for my first pregnancy. That worked well. I am short and stocky, and most of my local friends are tall and willowy or short and willowy. So my best bet was from my husband’s sister, who is only slightly taller but built the same.

    For my second pregnancy, about the same – it was 6 years later, so I didn’t have anything. I got a few things from a friend (and passed them back to her because she has twins one year younger than my younger child). I am, in fact, wearing a maternity T-shirt right now. The good thing about certain T-shirt styles is that they shrink and expand, and even after the baby, the ruching just looks like it’s trying to disguise middle-aged mama spread.

    I decided to spend $0 on clothing for me this year. I’ve spent $10 on new underwear. I can’t do the same for the family. Though we get lots of hand me downs, my toddler is potty training, so we need undies, and my husband goes through 2 pairs of jeans a year. Sadly, for some reason, he got holes in 2 pair in June – they usually last a full year until December.

    • Mrs. Frugalwoods says:

      That’s awesome you’re not buying any clothes this year–congrats! And, good to know about the longer life of maternity clothes–some of mine definitely seem like they might work during non-pregnant times too :).

  57. I’m impressed how long you’ve gone without buying anything. Curious to see how long the streak can last. Keep up the frugalness.

    • Mrs. Frugalwoods says:

      Thanks! I’m at 17 months and counting without buying any clothes… we’ll see how long it goes :)!

  58. Kathy says:

    I have an extra sewing machine. Singer Featherweight from late 60’s. Works great. Would you like it

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