As in every other category of life, people will be spending less on Mother’s Day this year. Fortunately, that doesn’t limit the variety of gifts that will make your mom happy this year. Here are 50 Mother’s Day gifts that cost $50 or less:
1. Framed photos or kids’ art. Hobby retailers like Joanne’s offer discount frames for photos and art. Meanwhile, Costco offer dirt cheap, high-quality photo printing. If you shop frugally, you can give your mother a professional-looking framed picture for less than $40. She’ll love it.
2. Maid service. Many maids charge between $20-30/hour. Give your mom a welcome break by hiring house help for an hour or two.
3. A picnic. Pack a basket with reasonably-priced wine, cheese, crackers, fruit, finger sandwiches, and cookies, then take your mom out to a beautiful place for a picnic. Active moms might enjoy a hike or bike ride to a scenic spot; otherwise, drive to your local beach, lake, viewpoint, or park, and enjoy one another’s company.
4. An outing. Your mom is sure to appreciate a trip to your local botanical garden, arboretum, animal sanctuary, museum, or other budget-friendly place of interest. Your company will matter just as much to her as the setting—or more.
5. Spa treatment. Spa Week is over, but that doesn’t mean you can’t find an inexpensive treatment for your mom. Many spas offer promotions or coupons to lure in customers on Mother’s Day. You can also select a less expensive option from the spa menu, like a manicure or pedicure. Your mom will feel pampered, and you won’t feel broke.
6. Brunch at a restaurant. Some restaurants offer free meals for moms on Mother’s Day. Shop around for promotions and coupons, and you may be able to score one for under $50 for you and your mom.
7. Dinner of the Month Club. Give your mom the gift of delicious free food with a dinner of the month club membership. A couple of months could cost you under $50, depending on the club. Or try a chocolate, cheese, or coffee of the month club. Gifts.com has a selection of 30 different types of clubs.
8. Wine, chocolate, or cheese tasting. Take your mom out for a special day of sampling local wines, cheeses, or chocolates. Many wineries charge less than $10 for a tasting visit. If you’re lucky enough to live near a chocolatier or creamery, see if they offer tastings. Otherwise, you can create your own cheese or chocolate plate with gourmet cheese purchased at the supermarket, and have a tasting session at home.
9. A night at a bed & breakfast. Look for off-season deals in less-travelled places, and you could score a room at a B&B for $50 or less. Have your dad, or whoever will be sharing the room with your mom, chip in another $50, and you’ll have a better selection of rooms. If everyone in the family chips in, you could get mom some much-appreciated luxury.
10. Cooking class. Though many cooking classes run on the expensive side, your local community college, YMCA, or even cooking school might have a class for $50 or less. Look for promotions. Other alternative for Mom include online cooking classes or personal chef consultations in her own kitchen (look on Craigslist for personal chefs). Your mother will be pleased at a chance to improve her cooking skills with a pro.
11. Help her with chores. Give your mom a day off by doing the grocery shopping, helping in the garden, or cleaning the house.
12. Breakfast in bed. This oldie but goodie is still a sure winner with most moms. Find recipe ideas here.
13. Home video. Make a home video of you and the kids. Create a theme around why you appreciate mom or grandma. Put it on a DVD for her, and play it on Mother’s Day. She’ll have treasured memories to keep forever.
14. Photo album. Create a photo album of you and the kids. It doesn’t have to be a big photo album. Most thrift stores sell an abundance of smaller photo albums. Decorate the cover and dedicate it to Mom.
15. Gas card. Not the most intimate of gifts, but a good, practical one for the upcoming summer road trip season.
16. Scrapbook of memories with Mom. Find some pictures of your family, your mother, you and your mother, and your kids. Have the kids join in to create a scrapbook dedicated to fun and good times with mom. More on how to create a scrapbook. http://www.scrapbookscrapbook.com/beginners.html
17. A book. Buy your mom a book she’s been meaning to read. Couple the book with a card telling her you’ll make her breakfast or do errands for the day. That way, she’ll have time to start reading it.
18. Custom tote bag. Most hobby stores sell canvas tote bags for rock-bottom prices. Use fabric paint, stamps, and even your kids’ handprints to decorate the bag. Moms love these personalized, practical gifts.
19. A houseplant. An exotic houseplant or flowering garden plant is a lasting gift that your mom can enjoy every day.
20. Seed packets or vegetable plants for your mother’s garden. Seed packets will still work for locations with a long growing season. Otherwise, buy your mom some baby tomato, pepper, or basil plants for her garden.
21. Gardening kit. Put together a homemade gardening kit with a bag of soil, bags of seeds, bulbs, or several plants, a spade, gloves, and anything else your gardening mom might appreciate. Put everything inside a big pot or basket, and tie it together with a bow.
22. Homemade gift basket. EHow has a step-by-step guide on how to make your mother an inexpensive gift basket.
23. Memory jar. Write six of your favorite memories on colorful strips of paper. Have your siblings or kids each add six of their own. Please the strips inside a big Mason jar. Decorate or paint the jar, and tie it with a bow.
24. Make her dinner. Create a menu and decorative table setting. Cook something fancy or special, like tapas. Finish it off with your mom’s favorite desert.
25. Pottery painting. Most cities have DIY pottery shops, where your mom can select a ceramic piece for as little as a couple of dollars, paint it herself, and get it professionally glazed and kilned. Sign your mom up for a class, or, better yet, join her for a painting session.
26. Movie date. Treat your mom to a movie. Buy her popcorn and soda. Make it a surprise.
27. Print coupons. Visit online coupon sites and print out coupons that your mother can use—the more, the better. Arrange them into a custom coupon book.
28. A Bag, Borrow or Steal item. You can get your mom a Gucci purse for a week for less than $50 with a designer rental outlet like Bag, Borrow, or Steal. It’s a fun way to help her live it up, style-wise.
29. Homemade baked goods. This gift works especially well if you have kids. Bake your mom cookies, a cake, brownies, or even homemade chocolate. Have the kids pitch in with baking and decorating the goodies. Place them on a nice plate (if you can customize that, even better), wrap them in pretty cellophane, and top them off with a bow.
30. Aromatherapy and a soothing CD. Buy your mom a small bottle of essential oil and a relaxing CD—or make your own custom CD for her. Take it a step up by mixing the essential oil with Epsom salts and bottling the mixture just for your mom.
31. A concert. If your mother’s favorite big-name artist is too pricey, go for a smaller name in her genre of choice. Summertime jazz concerts, symphonies, and lunchtime shows are often discounted—check out your city’s summer schedule for more details.
32. Potted herbs for the kitchen. We can’t emphasize it enough—plants, rather than flowers, are a good idea for mother’s day. If your mom already has enough houseplants, try some potted basil, sage, thyme, or rosemary for her window sill. She can chop and use the herbs whenever she wants.
33. A letter. Handwrite a letter of gratitude to your mom on nice stationary, then mail it to her in time for Mother’s Day. You can’t beat the personal touch—or price.
34. High-quality chocolate. You can purchase some seriously fancy chocolate for far less than $50. Visit your local Whole Foods or specialty store for rare, fancy, and foreign chocolate.
35. A donation to your mom’s favorite charity. Plant a tree, educate a child, or help cancer research in your mom’s name. Most charities offer gift cards or e-cards for gift donations. This website has more.
36. An edible arrangement. Buy your mom flowers she can eat. People love these innovative bouquets, most of which cost less than $50.
37. Magazine subscription. Most magazine subscriptions are dirt cheap right now. Look for deals on your mom’s favorite magazine, from Elle to the New Yorker, which is amazingly going for $40/year at time of writing.
38. Perfume. Buy Mom a couple of small perfume samplers, or look for one of a wide range of quality perfumes under $50. If she has expensive taste, ask your local retailer for perfumes similar to her favorite scent that are also within your price range.
39. Mother’s Day cruise. Avoid pricey dinner cruises and go for a lunch cruise, which is often up to $40 cheaper.
40. A beading set. Crafty moms will appreciate a custom-made set of beading wire, clasps, and handpicked beads. You can purchase a wide range of beautiful items at your local bead store for little money.
41. Sandals, flip flops, or espadrilles. Women love pretty shoes, especially during the summer sandal season. Find some cute, open-toed shoes that your mom might like to strut. Most cost less than $50.
42. Cosmetics. Even one good bottle of mascara can make all the difference in a woman’s makeup set. Finding a couple of high-quality pieces of makeup or cream for your mom will make her day. Avoid wrinkle creams and deodorant.
43. A bottle of her favorite alcohol. This could include a wine, sherry, a keg of beer…whatever will make your mom happy.
44. Yoga or massage items. The yoga/massage genre is a big hit among moms. Pilates foam rollers, self massagers, eye pillows, and inspiration books usually only set you back around $20. Buy them online for better deals.
45. A babysitter and a date. If your mom still has kids to care for, buy her a night off by hiring a babysitter, then taking her out to dinner or a movie.
46. Book of kids’ artwork. Compile a homemade book of your childrens’ artwork. Have them make a fancy cover for it, and bind it with string. Mom will love flipping through the masterpieces.
47. Custom doormats. Buy inexpensive doormats, then have your kids step on latex paint, then leave their colorful footprints on the mat. This gift is especially good for proud grandmas.
48. Personalized jewelry. Design custom bracelets, pendants, and other jewelry using photographs and engraved names. Many online retailers offer this kind service.
49. Wind chimes. Outdoors, they make pleasant sounds; indoors, they’re good feng shui. Wind chimes, like these Japanese pond bells, are inexpensive and attractive.
50. Beach gear. A nice wrap, beach towel, pair of cute sunglasses, or floppy hat will help your mom enjoy the upcoming summer season in style.