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Last-Minute, Frugal, Mother’s Day Tips

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With only a few days until Mother's Day, people are thinking about gift giving. If you are looking to save some money and have limited time, arts and crafts are a good way to go. It reminds me of the first Mother's Day after my dad died. I was only 14... too young to drive anywhere and without a job to buy something valuable. So I wrote a little poem. It was horrible. Parts of it rhymed and parts of it almost rhymed. She had a calligrapher make it into a nice picture for framing. I guess she liked it well enough.

Here's a sample of ideas that people came up with:

  • Camera Accessories - Chris said that moms are the picture takers in the family. Personally, I found that things couldn't be further from the truth in my family. However, to each their own, right?
  • Burn a mix CD or put songs on an old MP3 player - I really liked this suggestion from Anna. My mom asked for a similar thing years ago. However, this was before iTunes was around. Getting songs was difficult - not to mention the legality of getting them. It seems like something that one could do in a few minutes once they learned how.
  • A Video - Kosmo @ The Casual Observer suggests taking a video. I know it's not frugal, but this is one of the best reasons I can think of to buy a Flip camera.
  • Festival Day - Jen says to look for a festival as they are quite often free or cheap. Thisisbeth adds parks and zoos as good ideas. Of course we shouldn't forget museums...
  • Hugs and Macaroni Statues - Tyler suggests a hug. It's going to be tough for me 3000 miles away and may be too simplistic for some. I don't know if the macaroni statue was serious, but it would on a personal level. She helped me make a macaroni Zeus (it was a portrait not a statue) for a diarama when I was little. Nothing beats good times and memories with macaroni.
  • Spend Time and Use What You Have - This is an overarching theme, but Joshua mentioned using wine from his stock. Maybe it's because we live so close to Napa Valley and love wine-tasting, but we have so much wine in our stock. (It's not exactly a frugal hobby, but we don't go all that often.)
  • Restaurant Deals - Pat M noted that TGI Fridays is offer a deal on Mother's Day and suggest other restaurants will do the same. In the past, it seems to me restaurants jacked the prices up, but in this economy the tables have turned.
  • Charity - MLR brings up the fantastic idea of donating to charity. My mom usually just buys what she wants (within reason), so typically there are few things to get her. This is one idea that breaks that mold.
  • Make Dinner - I'm surprised that something so simple wasn't thought of until the 13th comment. I think I might use this one for my wife (or Doggy Mommy as we call her).
  • Make an Photo Book - Candice is making her mom and iPhoto book. This is how we did our wedding book and it took hours and hours - actually days. Now that it's done, it's would be easy to just send her a copy. However, it seems weird to send pictures of my wedding for Mother's Day. I think it has to be more of a random - it's July 23rd gift.

So what am I getting Mom? I'm going with a couple of months of Netflix. I'm also pre-ordering Friday Night Light DVDs for her. That's not very personal. However, I do have some three years worth of writing on this website. I may send her a link. My difficulty with is the name... only some people understand that Lazy is a good thing.

[This article was originally published May 8th, 2009]

Posted on May 3, 2011.

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7 Responses to “Last-Minute, Frugal, Mother’s Day Tips”

  1. Eric Poulin says:

    A budget friendly email gift — a personalized video. I came across this viral video today which is great. You can customize it so it the name of whoever you want shows up in the video. A great gift especially for those geographically seperated from mom.


  2. I just got back from mom’s. My parents just moved back from Kuwait so they’re in the process of unpacking and getting things organized in their house. So, I went over and cooked breakfast for them, then started some unpacking and cleaning while they ate. My mom being my mom, came out to help me because she thinks mother’s day is really just another day, so we spent the morning talking and unpacking. It wasn’t a lot, but as she’s been trying to get the two siblings that live closest to her to come help for weeks, my gesture living an hour and a half a way from her, meant a lot.

  3. Kate says:

    Making dinner (or in my case, brunch) is such a good one! I can’t believe it was the thirteenth suggestion. When it comes to my mom, it’s the little gestures that matter and truly “the thought that counts.” It would be so great if we could all be like that– if we could embrace the philosophy of the Power of Small and understand that in life, it’s the small stuff that makes the biggest difference.

  4. Katie says:


    My best friend is getting married soon, and she is super excited about it. We are helping her plan a great hen weekend too, but the growing costs did seem to be a bit of a worry. The bride to be has come up with a great idea that is going to save her money. Instead of sending all her hens paper invites (which would have cost a fortune) she is opting for e-Card invites. I was a bit baffled by her idea, but then she explained to me that they are better for the environment as no paper is required, and as long as you choose a free site, then the service won’t cost a penny! She told me that she had found a Free Invitation e-Card site. I checked it out and it looks really cool, lots of funny cards. There are loads of e-Card sites out there, so it may be worth doing your own research and finding one that suites you best. Hope this helps, and good luck everyone on your forthcoming weddings. Love and Hugs.

  5. Hannah says:

    My mom’s weakness happens to be fried chicken so I order a bucket meal, bring it home, set it up and she’s one happy camper.

    I think mother’s day is just about spending time with your mom and if you’re far from her just calling her to tell her you love her.

  6. Lazy Man says:

    And if your mom like Kentucky Fried Chicken, they are having $10 bucket Sundays – a decent deal.

  7. Wanderer says:

    Mmmm…KFC. With my wife and I now living 2,200 miles away from our parents we are planning on spending some time on Skype video chatting. Hey, beats flowers!

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