30 Meaningful Mother's Day Gifts for Every Budget


Like many holidays, we all know how commercialized Mother's Day can be. A lot of times people just give the typical flowers or chocolates, the same old requisite gifts. But, if you think beyond the generic, mainstream ideas, you can do something even more meaningful and budget-friendly at the same time.

Check out this list of free or very affordable ideas that truly celebrate Mom and will make her day. (See also: 25 Frugal Personalized Gift Ideas)

1. Give Her the Gift of Sleep

This is especially a good one for moms of younger kids. Let Mom sleep in for once, and make sure she knows she has the morning to do so. Or, set a nap hour or two just for her on Mother's Day, complete with making her bed comfy and ready for a great nap, while you keep the kids entertained (or even better, out of the house for some peace and quiet).

2. Unique Subscriptions

A very considerate gift for Mom is a subscription to something she wouldn't necessarily splurge on herself. This could be a gift subscription to a cool online service, like Ancestry.com for those interested in genealogy and family trees, Wantable for the makeup and accessories lover, Travelbox for the frequent traveler, or Sirius Radio for moms who spend a lot of time in the car. Or, maybe it's as simple as a magazine subscription she would enjoy.

3. Bake Her Something (Even If It's Frozen Cookie Dough)

Making your mom an awesome treat is always welcome, especially from those whom she would least expect (folks who can barely boil water, this means you!). Make it as simple as buying some premade cookie dough at the supermarket. If you can turn on your oven, you can make cookies. For those who enjoy baking, make her favorite pie, cake, or cupcakes from scratch, which is not only economical, but means a lot since it comes from you. (See also: Delicious Gifts You Can Bake)

4. Alma Mater School Gear

If your mom has fond college memories, try giving her some gear with her school name on it. This is far from a generic gift, and with so many choices from t-shirts to license plate holders, you can get creative. You can search online for shops affiliated with her school, or try shops like FansEdge, which carries items from most NCAA schools.

5. Do Some Yard Work for Her

A nice way to show you care is to spend some time doing something in the yard that your mom would either have to pay for or do herself. Whether you do some garden chores, mow, clean out the gutters, or wash the windows, there is always something that can be done that will save her time and money.

6. Write Her a Letter

Write a heartfelt letter to your mom telling her what a good job she has done and how much you love and appreciate her. Decorate the envelope or get some nice stationery paper if you want to make it fancy, but it's the words she will love most of all. And dads, don't forget this is also a very welcome gesture from you to the mother of your children.

7. Set Up an Awesome Spa-Like Bath

Surprise Mom by making a lovely spa experience for her in the comfort of her own home. Fill up the tub and add some bubble bath, light candles, play her favorite music, and put a glass of wine or other fun drink tub-side. Don't forget to leave her a robe and fluffy towel, too. If you really want to make a statement, throw in some rose petals. (See also: Spa Treatments at Home)

8. Custom Drawings and Paintings

For a unique gift, have a custom drawing or painting done. There are many artists on Etsy who can draw or paint from a photo you send to make beautiful creations of things near and dear to Mom's heart, like pictures of her family, pets, and places she loves. Or, try sites like myDaVinci, which also has some reasonable price points depending on style.

9. Throw a Different Kind of Brunch

While making a special brunch at home is always nice, go for something even more fun and unexpected. Put out a spread of afternoon tapas and some fresh-fruit sangria. You could also do a tea party with little sandwiches and sweets. Or, do a wine and cheese tasting for moms who appreciate wine. Finally, for a different spin, host an ice-cream sundae bar with tons of candy and fun toppings.

10. Surprise Her With Her Favorite Takeout

If you can't be there in person to take her out to a meal, you can order her favorite takeout and have it delivered to her on the big day. Set it up as a surprise and make sure she is home for the delivery. Have the restaurant provide a note saying it's from you, and be sure to order her favorite dish.

11. Paint Mini Flower Pots

Hit up a dollar store, craft store, or home store to find extremely cheap mini terra-cotta flowerpots. You can easily use most types of paint to decorate these little beauties in a matter of minutes. My four-year-old loves to do this, and we have given them as gifts to her grandmothers along with packs of seeds.

12. Go on a Movie Date Together

Plan a Mother's Day movie date and treat yourselves to a movie your mom would enjoy. Load up on popcorn and candy and have fun for the day together.

13. Make a Donation

Make a donation in your mom's name to a charity or cause she loves, like an animal rescue or research for a cure. You can send her a card letting her know the donation was made, or sometimes the organization will send a thank you directly. This is also a beautiful way to remember and honor your mom.

14. Give Practical Gift Certificates

Think of places that Mom always frequents, and where contributing a few extra dollars may make her life easier. Practical gift cards to places like the local grocery store, coffee shop, garden store, car wash, or hair salon are funds you know your mom will use. You can certainly give gift cards towards other things, like clothing retailers, but practical cards can also be extremely considerate.

15. Go on a Nature Walk Together

Set up a time to get together with mom and take a nice walk together. It doesn't matter where you live, as there are always options to get outdoors and look at the scenery. Hit up the parks or jogging trails, or travel to the nearest small town and window-shop.

16. Give Her Some Unusual Photo Gifts

Skip the #1 Mom coffee mug and try a different kind of photo gift. Branch out to more unique finds, like photo blankets, playing cards, and puzzles at sites like Shutterfly. Or, try custom photo stamps at Zazzle, which are cute and very practical. I especially like the custom Monopoly game idea, complete with your own pictures and captions.

17. Make Her a Handmade Keepsake or Jewelry Box

Rather than spend a fortune on expensive retail jewelry boxes, you can easily make your own for a few bucks. All you need is a small woodworking box, which you can find in any craft store for under $5. Paint, stencil, or cover your box in glued-on stones or mosaics to make something beautiful. For a nice touch, glue a piece of felt to the inside bottom of the box.

18. Clean Something

Give Mom a break and clean her bathroom, kitchen, or the whole house. If you can't do it yourself, a less budget-friendly solution is to hire a professional cleaning service for a day or a month. If there are teenaged kids in the family, something as simple as getting them to clean their rooms for once may also do the trick.

19. Go Out for Coffee/Tea

Skip the costly and crowded restaurants on Mother's Day and take Mom out for a coffee or tea, which can be just as fun. Hit up a local coffee shop or find cute places in town that sell sweets along with coffee for a fun afternoon dessert together.

20. Get Her a Favorite Book

Your mom will appreciate the thought that goes into selecting a book that she would like. Perhaps it's a biography about someone she finds interesting, a band from her youth, a hobby, or a cool new idea she'd like. And, don't forget coffee table books with beautiful photos, which can be just as fun as novels. Be sure to inscribe a message to your mom in the front cover.

21. DIY a Birdhouse

A birdhouse makes a nice gift that your mom can always have in the yard or even keep inside as decor. You can simply buy a cool birdhouse, purchase an unfinished wood birdhouse and decorate it with paint or embellishments, or for the DIY crowd, build your own birdhouse from scratch.

22. Go for a Game Outing

Treat your mom to a fun outing of games or outdoor activities that the whole family can do together. Ideas like miniature golf, flying kites, bowling, and places like Dave & Busters are all great activities where the whole family can join and make a fun day for your mom in the process.

23. Fix Something Around the House

Take the time to fix something your mom really wants to get done around the house to show you care. Get creative and find out what affordable items you can check off her list, from organizing a closet to regrouting tile to touching up walls with paint. This is a great time for dads to work on that honey-do list, or for kids, young and old, to pitch in.

24. Give Her a Locket

Jewelry is always a nice gift for most women, but lockets are extra special due to the meaningful pictures inside. They also don't need to cost a fortune. You can find extremely cheap options online, at discount stores, or at thrift shops. Put a picture of you and your mom or the grandkids to make a personalized gift any mom would treasure.

25. Make Some Fancy Bath and Body Gifts

While a lot of folks give soap and bath gifts for Mother's Day, a unique and much more economical twist is to make the products yourself. There are some great recipes that are fairly simple to make, like homemade lip gloss, peppermint foot scrub, and fancy pantry soaps. Find cool containers and jars to hold your creations and decorate them with nice labels and twine for a finishing touch.

26. Wash Her Car

Help out Mom this Mother's Day and give her car a good wash. You can do it yourself, or take it to a professional car wash. Go the distance and make sure the interior is cleaned and the floors and mats are vacuumed as well.

27. Take Her on a Day Trip

A day trip is an economical way to get away from home and celebrate Mother's Day together. Think of nearby places with an activity, like beaches, gardens, wine tasting, and cultural attractions. Make the journey just as special as the destination by taking special snacks, playing good music in the car, and having a nice chat.

28. Make Your Own Card

You don't need to be a kid to make a card. Warm any mother's heart with a thoughtful, handmade card that recognizes the good job she does. This is especially meaningful coming from an adult child. It doesn't matter what your card looks like, as any mom is sure to love the thought. However, if you need some help, try free printable cards where you can print out designs to color in yourself.

29. Go on a Picnic

Mother's Day is the perfect time of year to get outside. Pack a nice picnic lunch by picking up delicious deli items, fruits, and pastries, and head to a nearby park, open field, or anywhere relaxing to enjoy it together.

30. Spend Time Together

If you are lucky enough to be able to physically be with your mom on Mother's Day, just going over for a visit can be the most meaningful thing to any mother, especially if you don't do it often. Watch a movie on TV together, hang out and talk, or make a meal together. If you can't be face-to-face, try Skype or Facetime to have a nice conversation and see one another on a day that's all about her.

What are some of your meaningful and budget-friendly Mother's Day ideas to add to the list?

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Guest's picture

Those are some amazing ideas. I really like #28 to make your own card. It really shows commitment and dedication, and is not one of the "easy" things to do. So definitely worth doing. I myself got my mom a hand-painted portrait of our family. I commissioned it at www.nobleportrait.com