It’s that time of year when we get to show our beloved mothers and grandmothers just how much they mean to us. This year, like the past few, has not been the best of financial times for many, making holidays and celebrations a bit tighter on wallets than in times past. If I could, I would buy my mom the yacht that she’s always wanted, but let’s face it: it’s 2012 and our nations is just breaching the hump of its financial quandary. Many of us are still unemployed, struggling to dig out of debt and rectify our credit score situation, and putting our much-needed tax return towards bills. That being said, I’ve put together some ideas for the budget-conscious of us who still want to treat mom to the special day that she deserves. Because it certainly can be done!
Where to Go and What to Eat:
This is a classic Mother’s Day treat. No mother will turn down a homemade meal, especially one she gets to enjoy from the coziness of her own bed! But this year, personalize it: hand-squeeze the orange juice; pick some flowers and display them on mom’s night table while she eats; create a “Mother’s Day” play list of songs that remind you of her to play as she dines; DVR one of her favorite shows and tell her you’re treating her to “breakfast and a show”; go outside and wash her car as she’s eating. Use any of the above or a combination to put a thoughtful and creative spin on a tried-and-true Mother’s Day favorite.
2. Outdoor Picnic
Instead of dinner out at an expensive restaurant, put together a delicious and inexpensive meal then take to the outdoors for a picnic. You can even blindfold mom and lead her lakeside, or to a local park, for a surprise. The food doesn’t have to be fancy, just homemade. Toss a delicious fresh salad with ingredients from your local market, grill some chicken on skewers for easy finger food, and slice up some ripe fruit. For dessert, try this incredibly easy and inexpensive recipe from Homecooking.com that is a mix between a cobbler and a cake and only uses 3 ingredients. (You can use any fresh, frozen, or canned fruit you like for the inside.)
3. “Surprise” Day Out
Research free local events in your town, such as outdoor concerts, free local theater, art gallery openings, or museum tours. If all else fails and the weather is nice, you could always take mom on a walk, hike or bike ride.
What to Gift Mom With:
This one might take a little time, so it’s a good idea to get started early. An inexpensive photo or scrapbook album will be the main expense for this project. Besides photos, you can include funny or touching quotes, fond memories, personal drawings, printouts of favorite pastimes or maps. Craft stores like Michaels issue discounts weekly emails, so sign up to receive coupons and use them for any additional details like colored paper, lettering, paints, or stencils.
2. Photo Book
If you don’t have time to put together a hand-made scrapbook for mom, or consider yourself creatively challenged, have no fear: websites like Shutterfly.com or Snapfish.com specialize in creating beautiful photo books. Check siblings and other family members’ Facebook accounts to find pictures you may not have to include in the book. Waited until the last minute and don’t have time to wait for shipping? Go in to CVS or Walmart with a USB, memory chip or CD of images and a personalized photo book will be ready for you in one hour starting at $8 (at Walmart.)
Similar to the photo book idea, a personalized photo calendar is something mom can keep on her desk or in the kitchen to look at every day. Walmart has a photo calendar starting at just $10, and the websites listed in the above section have many other options depending on what style you’re looking for. You can personalize the background and even mark the dates of birthdays, anniversaries, graduations, and other memorable days for mom.
4. Non-traditional Flowers
What mom doesn’t love getting a big bouquet of fresh flowers on Mother’s Day? This year, think outside the box and consider getting your mom a potted plant or flowers for her garden. Cut flowers only last one to two weeks, whereas she can transfer a potted plant into the ground or grow it indoors for much longer. Another gardening trend I’ve seen is seed bombs, small compressed balls of soil packed with wildflower seeds. Their claim to fame is the lack of even needing to dig a hole for them, just tossing them in the backyard will do the trick. This version is Anthropologie’s take on seed bombs, only $6 for five, which are packaged in a pretty bag and come in five different varieties specific to US location, pet owners, and herb gardeners. If you’re really strapped for cash, I’m sure a simple packet of seeds in a home-made card and a date to help mom plant them would go a long way too!
5. New Music
My mother is always asking me for new music ideas. This Mother’s Day, consider downloading a new album from one of your mother’s favorite artists onto her iPod, or pick a new artist in a genre your mom enjoys. You could also spend some time and compile different play lists for her, so that she’ll have some new, fun music to listen to while she’s at the gym, driving, doing housework, cooking, or at work.
Dk is an avid finance blogger. You can find him at RoadFish.com
I'm Louida from Atlanta, Georgia and I'm a mother of two daughters, blogger, and full time working mom at a Business Consulting Firm.
I love helping others learn how to start working from home on the internet free to supplement their current income.
I also blog at Productreviewmom.com
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