Ways to Celebrate Mom Without Breaking the Bank

Ways to Celebrate Mom Without Breaking the Bank

Every year, the National Retail Federation (NRF) surveys people about what they plan to spend for Mother’s Day. And every year, that figure climbs. Last year’s NRF survey revealed that the average person celebrating Mother’s Day planned to spend a whopping $186.39, up from $172.22 the previous year.


That’s enough to break the bank when you’re on a tight budget.


Fortunately, there are plenty of ways to spend considerably less on Mother’s Day gifts, and she will thank you for it.


Why Spending Less on Mom Is More


Many of the gifts we give Mom are things she doesn’t even want.


Of moms surveyed by RetailMeNot, only:

  • 9 percent want a spa day
  • 8 percent want flowers
  • 8 percent want jewelry
  • 6 percent want candy or chocolate
  • 5 percent want clothing or shoes
  • 2 percent want housewares
  • 1 percent want electronics


Yet, the NRF survey shows that last year:

  • 69 percent of us gave Mom flowers
  • 36 percent of us gave her jewelry
  • 24 percent of us gave her a spa day
  • 20 percent of us gave her housewares
  • 15 percent of us gave her electronics


Let’s stop giving Mom expensive things that she doesn’t want and start giving her the things she says she’d love to have the most.


What Mom Really Wants


According to the RetailMeNot survey, here are the top three things Mom says she wants most for Mothers’ Day, none of which will break the bank.


  1. Give Her a Nice Meal

This is number one on the list, with 25 percent of moms saying they want a nice meal.

Keep in mind, “nice” doesn’t have to mean expensive. What Mom wants is good food she doesn’t have to prepare herself.

Maybe that means taking her out for brunch or packing up lunch for a picnic in the park. Maybe it means preparing her favorite dinner at home. Breakfast in bed works, too.

What matters most is giving Mom delicious food that she can enjoy with you.


  1. Buy Her a Gift Card

As uncreative and impersonal as it might sound, 16 percent of Moms say they want a gift card, coming in at number two on the list. So, don’t equate the ease of this gift idea with lack of meaning.

Provided you know where she likes to shop, a gift card is going to mean a lot.

Maybe it’s Amazon where she can find pretty much anything she wants. Of course, with that many options, there is the possibility she’ll spend it on everyday necessities instead of herself. So, maybe get more specific with a gift card to the movies, a bookstore, or an art supply shop.


  1. Plan a Day Off

Mom needs a break – from housework, from expectations, from routine, etc. Plan a day off (number three on the list) that gives her all of that, and more.


Get her out of the house.

Take her to the movies, a museum, an art gallery, a botanical garden. Go hiking or biking. Go for a scenic drive or a walk in the park. Grab a bite to eat while you’re out or pack a lunch.


Plan a day off for her at home.

Make a nice meal, binge watch her favorite shows with her, and prioritize activities that she enjoys. Sit and just be together – reading or listening to music or meditating. Encourage her to take a hot bath, even a nap. And while she’s soaking or sleeping, clean up around the house.

Whatever you do, make the day all about her, since that’s something she too rarely does for herself.

Other Ideas She’ll Love


Fill a DIY “subscription” box.

Instead of filling a gift basket, fill a nice gift box (subscription box style). Give it a theme or just fill it with an assortment of random, lovable things.


Give her art from the kids.

Frame their paintings. Have them decorate a picture frame and put a photograph of them inside. Have them make homemade cards.


Get something done.

Wash the car, clean the house, pull the weeds out of the garden. Organize the closet, clean out the junk drawer, take care of whatever “to-do” is driving her crazy.


Make a book of memories.

Put a scrapbook together, or a photo album, or a journal filled with favorite memories from over the years, as written by you and other family members (or memories drawn by the littlest kids).


Whatever you do to celebrate Mother’s Day, remember this: Mom wants to know you care, but she doesn’t want you breaking the bank to do it.


Making Mom happy means planning your Mother’s Day gift accordingly.


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