A Mother’s Day gift doesn’t have to break the bank.
It’s almost that time again–the time to show your mother how much you appreciate her and how thoughtful you are by surprising her with a great Mother’s Day gift that she will like and enjoy. Unfortunately, your budget doesn’t agree that you should go all out and give her a gift in proportion to her importance in your life.
You know she won’t care if your gift is all that great or not, and she will love you whether you get her a gift or not, but that only makes you want to honor her even more. So what’s a good son or daughter to do?
Here are some frugal gift ideas for Mother’s Day that will let you share what’s on your heart without putting your tight budget on life support.
1. Make it yourself.
Chances are, your mom will appreciate a handmade gift from you now at least as much as she did when you were little and brought home a plant or a handprint your teacher helped you make. Think about your skills in baking, decorating or building furniture and use the internet (like Pinterest) to help you find a project that will be perfect for your mom.
Try to tie the gift into what you already know she likes, such as making handmade chocolates if your mom has a sweet tooth or a windowsill herb garden if she likes to cook with fresh ingredients. And put in the effort to make your frugal gift look craft-fair professional so she won’t feel like you just slapped something together, but that you made something special just for her using your talents.
2. Give her what she keeps asking for.
Chances are, if you and your mom are close, she has been asking you for something for a while now that you have not been able to give her or do for her. Maybe she wants your help to fix something around the house, or she wants to try that new restaurant in town but needs someone to go with her. The requests she makes are clues to what she really wants, and she will be touched that you thought about her and figured out how to make her wish come true.
3. Dress up grocery store flowers.
Flowers are a common Mother’s Day gift, but it can cost $40 to $50 to get flowers delivered to your mom, which is a big chunk of change. Why not get a nice bouquet from the grocery store for about $10-15 and use one of those extra vases you have lying around the house from the last time you got flowers, tie on a strip of ribbon you saved from a gift, and voilà! you have the same expensive-looking bouquet for less than half the price. She will be tickled pink if you deliver them yourself with a thoughtful card and visit for a few minutes rather than paying through the nose for someone else to deliver them.
4. Give the gift of time.
I bet your mom is nostalgic for the days you would give her hand-drawn coupons for a hug, breakfast in bed, or a “free” chore. You can resurrect that tradition by giving her a certificate or IOU for a mom-and-child night out, a promise to come over and do some yardwork, or a day at the flea market–whatever you know she would like and appreciate. Deferring the cost of your gift can be a good strategy for a temporarily tight budget, too.
5. Give a gift that can be paid for over time.
A (something)-of-the-month club, monthly manicure, or another gift that is spread out over time can be a way to do something your mom will appreciate without having to pay it all up front. Even magazine subscriptions can often be paid in installments, if you think that’s something your mom would like. That way you can give your mom the kind of gift you want to, without breaking your budget.
6. Something personal.
Have your mom’s photo made into a comic book cover and frame it (after all, she is your hero). Buy her a birthstone necklace with all her kids’ or grandkids’ birthstones represented. Have a photo blanket or pillow made with her grandkids’ picture on it. Personalized gifts don’t have to cost a lot, but they mean a lot to your mom, who still loves you as intensely as she did when you were little.
7. Add to a collection.
If your mom collects angel statues or rom-com DVDs or novels by James Patterson, you can buy something that adds to her collection, usually without spending a huge amount of money. You will also get bonus points for knowing what she likes. And if you save the receipt, you’re covered even if you duplicate something she already has, so you can switch it out for something she doesn’t have.
8. Combine efforts with your siblings.
My husband has two brothers, and they often go together on a gift for his mom, who also has a May birthday. Together, they have bought her a new grill, a porch swing, and other larger items that none of them could have afforded to buy her on their own. To do this, you need to be in good communication with your siblings and get them all (or enough of them) to agree, and someone has to collect the money and make sure everyone pays up.
Are you in a financial bind with no wiggle room in your budget? While you definitely shouldn’t get a personal loan just to buy your mom a gift, you might be able to do some gigs on Fiverr or writing assignments on iWriter to earn a few extra bucks for one of the above frugal gift ideas.
A thoughtful gift is really what matters most, and frugal gifts are just that. Consider what matters to your mom, what she is interested in and enjoys. Then focus on how you can give that to her without blowing your budget.