10 Affordable Mother's Day Gifts
What's the second-highest consumer-spending holiday behind Christmas? If you said Mother's Day, you're right. The average consumer is expected to spend about $127 on gifts for mom this year, according to the National Retail Federation.
As a mother of two, here's some advice: You don't have to spend that much to show mom you love her. In fact, there are plenty of "gifts" you can give mom without spending a dime. I asked several of my mom friends what they would want most for Mother's Day, which is May 9. Their suggestions -- and some of mine -- are below.
Manicure/pedicure. This is a perennial favorite of moms and isn't too pricey as long as you don't send mom to a high-end salon. As my friend Karyn says, "It's something I enjoy so much and I find so relaxing but it's hard for me to find the time to do something nice for myself. If my husband and kids bought one for me and pushed me out the door to go get pampered, that would be a great gift!"
Customized necklace. I have a necklace with my children's names hand stamped on silver disks, and other moms are always asking where I got it. You can find several, ranging in price from $17.99 to $65, at FindGift.com.
Items personalized by the kids. My friend Anna suggests buying a t-shirt or canvas bag and having the kids decorate it with images or words that show what they love about mom. This gift will score big -- at a small price -- for sentiment.
Photo album (for the non-scapbooking mom). A year after my first daughter was born, I created a photo album with pictures of her for my mom. I recently came across the album and wished I had one of my own. All of our photos are digital and we rarely print them out -- and I'm sure my household isn't the only one where this is the case. So print out your pictures, put them in an album and let mom enjoy looking at them the old-fashioned way. My friend Shannon says her mother and mother-in-law love receiving photo books (like these you can order through Shutterfly) with pictures of the grandkids.
Flowers in a pot, not a vase. Instead of buying a bouquet, buy a seed packet (for less than $1) or pot of mom's favorite flowers and plant them for her so she can see the blooms every year. My friend Angie has enjoyed receiving rose bushes over the years and planting them with her kids.
Magazine subscription. Magazines are among my favorite indulgences, and I often thumb through one as my kids play in the tub after I wash them. Yet, I confess that I often grab a magazine while waiting in the check-out line at the grocery and pay full newsstand price for it. I'd save a lot by getting a subscription instead. If your mom (or wife) has this same habit, save your family some money by treating her to a subscription to her favorite magazine or one you think she might enjoy, such as Kiplinger's Personal Finance magazine -- just $12 for 12 issues.
Photo mug. Plenty of companies, such as Snapfish, will let you create mugs with photos on them for about $10. This gift is ideal for a grandmother who would appreciate a creative way to show off pictures of the grandkids.
Favorite songs CD or iPod playlist. Our iPod has a playlist of our family's favorite songs. I listen to these songs whenever I'm having a stressful day at work and am reminded of my kids, which makes me happier instantly. What mom wouldn't love a CD or playlist of songs that will make her think of all the good times your family has had?
A clean car. My friend Cyndi says the best Mother's Day gift she ever got was when her three sons and husband cleaned out her car. This no-cost gift will bring a priceless smile to mom's face.
A day off. As much as I like being a mom, I would LOVE a day off every now and then. I bet most moms feel the same way. So let mom do whatever she wants for an entire day. This is one gift she's guaranteed to like.
Bonus idea. Give a gift to yourself that you'll cherish when mom no longer is around. Take the time this Mother's Day to sit down with your mom and ask her to share family stories that you can record or write down in a journal that can be shared with other family members.