Don't Break the Bank for Mother's Day

in category of Opinions, Audra Rundle

One of the many awesome things about mothers is that they tend to think you’re talented (as well as good-looking, smart, funny, and successful) – even if you’re clearly not. Sure, this is fun when you’re a third grader proudly making macaroni noodle art at school for Mother’s Day, but it’s even cooler when you’re 30 and broke.

If you’re anything like me, you are eternally thankful for your mom’s forgiving obliviousness to your trouble spots – especially as you have to take advantage of her sweetness and try to show your thanks to her for all the years of self-sacrifice, patience, and wisdom with gifts that don’t break the bank or, better yet, are free.

The most important thing to remember when giving a gift that won’t wow her with a big price tag (that’s not always the right way to go with mom anyway) is that the thought truly is what counts. It’s completely acceptable to give the most important lady in your life a non-expensive gift - but only if it comes from the heart. Here are some examples to help get your creative – and thoughtful! – juices flowing.

1.Photos. These precious little snippets of time are often a mom’s favorite gift. They are the memories captured in time that cannot be replaced. They are what you would run back into a burning house to retrieve. You get the point. To hit a home run with this gift, however, you can’t just hand over any old picture. As much as you love your dog and think she’s the cutest thing ever, or as interesting as your neighbor’s tree looks in the Instragram on your iPhone, your mom would much rather have a picture of you and her from when you were eight years old that you took an afternoon to dig out of the family albums in the attic. For extra brownie points, take it to Target and pick out a frame. The whole gift costs about $10 and an afternoon.

2.Food. If you added up what your mother has spent on you in groceries in your lifetime, your jaw would most likely drop. That’s not even considering the time she spent preparing those groceries into nurturing meals for you. Do your small part to return the favor and take your dear mom out for a Mother’s Day brunch at a cute little local café – and don’t let her pay because she’ll probably try to. If you feel confident enough in your cooking skills, it would mean even more if you cooked it yourself. Don’t just have her over for some waffles and instant coffee. Flip through your cookbooks or check out Pinterest for a fun new quiche, a unique fruit spread for waffles, a homemade latte, or even get super creative and create a flower out of strawberry and kiwi slices. Just put some time and thought into it, and she is sure be flattered and pleased.

3.Experience.  Create memories by starting a new tradition. Think about the things your mother does for fun now that her children are older and on their own. Has she taken up walking? Did she sign up for dance lessons? Is she finally letting her Bon Jovi fanaticism out of the bag? Determine what really floats your mom’s boat these days and find a way to make it into a date for the two of you – something you can continue, and even add to, each Mother’s Day. It could be as simple as picking a local 5K to walk together in and then going out for a mocha afterward, as creative as signing up for those trapeze lessons she’s always fantasized about, or as involved as a weekend camping trip with the whole family – just make sure Mom gets to pick the location so she’s guaranteed to have fun.

4.Time. Whatever you decide to do to celebrate your mom this Sunday, and whatever it costs, make sure you spend some actual face time with her, if at all possible. If you two don’t live within driving distance, set aside some time for a phone call or – if she’s particularly tech-savvy – you could even Skype. At the end of the day, nothing makes a mom happier than when her kids want to spend time with her.

If you’re on a budget this mother’s day, it doesn’t mean your appreciation toward your mom needs to be on a budget too. Showing your mom that you care doesn’t need to be expensive. Remember these four little hints when planning your Mother’s Day and don’t be shy about giving your mom a hug and simply saying ‘Thank you’ for all she’s done for you. Sometimes that’s all she wanted anyway.

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