15 Inexpensive Mother’s Day Gift Ideas

by Ryan Guina

Mother’s Day is right around the corner, and if you haven’t thought of a gift to give your mother, mother-in-law, or mother of your children, now is a great time to start thinking about what you will give that special lady in your life!

These gift ideas are creative and inexpensive ways young children can show Mom they love her.

Frugal Gift Ideas for Mother’s Day

kids-artwork.jpgA hand-made card. Hand-made Mother’s Day cards are a classic – I remember making these when I was a little kid! I’m sure these are something mothers never tire of receiving; a hand-made card shows you took the time to create something special for the woman who helped create you.

Breakfast in bed. Sunday mornings were always a “special” breakfast day in our house when we were growing up. We ate as a family and always had eggs, or pancakes, or French toast, or something similar. On this special day, why not cook Mom’s favorite breakfast and bring it to her in bed. If there is room, the entire family can have a picnic on and around the bed. Just bring plenty of napkins!

A day off. Every mother has one thing in common – she works hard and deserves a break! Have the family pitch in and clean the entire house, cook all the meals, do the laundry, and all the other little tasks mothers often do, but which may seem to go unnoticed. Even better – up the ante and give Mom a week off! 🙂

“Hand” made crafts. You’ve seen them – the t-shirts or aprons with the hand prints on them. The set up for this is very inexpensive. Just buy a few dollars worth of paint and a blank t-shirt or apron. The total cost can be well under $10.

Coupon book. This gift works well for kids and husbands. Create a coupon book with “coupons” Mom can redeem for things such as cleaning your room, washing dishes, vacuuming, or even a massage.

Create a story book. My mom often read to me when I was growing up, and I’m sure there are a lot of moms out there who read to their children most nights. Why not write Mom a book, complete with story and illustrations? Then, the children can read it to her, and she will have a nice gift to keep.

Create a scrapbook or memory book. Moms love pictures – that’s why they always have a camera nearby! Take some time to create a scrapbook or photo album with your children’s favorite memories with their mom. She’ll love it! So much in fact, that she will be sure to pull it out to show her child’s first date. 😉

Grow Mom some flowers. Why buy flowers when you can grow them? Little flower pots are very inexpensive and so are paints. Have each child decorate a pot with his or her name, a hand print, or a drawing, then plant seeds in each pot. The children can then help take care of the plant through the year. It’s also a great learning experience. If you can’t grow them, here are some tips on how to save money on flowers for any occasion.

Put on a show. My wife told me she loved to put on song and dance shows, or make up plays. This is a great way to entertain Mom and show her you care. You can even write in a part for her if you want, but since it’s her day, you should probably make her the heroine! 😉

Spend time doing her favorite activities. It’s Mom’s day, so do some things she enjoys. Pick some fun activities you know she loves to do, and spend time as a family enjoying each others company. If the weather is nice you can go for a picnic or to the lake or beach, or if the weather is bad you can stay inside and have movie marathon complete with popcorn and purple Kool-Aid. Yeah, my mom likes the purple kind. 🙂

Decorate a picture frame. Have each of the children decorate a picture frame for Mom. Then they can present it to their mom with a picture of them in it. Mom is sure to love it!

A memory box. Have your children write down their favorite memories of a time they had with their mother and place them in a small box. Then, Mom can read through them whenever she likes. Chances are, some of her children’s favorite memories will be some of hers as well.

Bake cookies. Everyone loves homemade cookies! If the children are old enough, they can make a batch from scratch and serve them to Mom when they are still warm and soft.

Write a letter. One of the most beautiful things you can do for your Mom is to let her know how much you love her and how much she means to you. She probably knows it already, but actually saying it or putting it on paper will mean more to her than you think it will.

Be creative. There are hundreds of ways you can show your Mother how much you care about her and appreciate her, and many of them don’t cost anything.

I hope everyone has a safe and wonderful Mother’s Day next week. 🙂

photo credit: flaivoloka.

Published or updated May 9, 2013.
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1 Trent Hamm

My two year old son and eight month old daughter are working hard on at least a couple of these ideas.

2 Ryan

Trent, I have no doubt you and your children will come up with something very creative for their Mom. 🙂

3 Frugal Dad

Great ideas, Ryan – and just in time! Thanks for sharing these. I particularly like the memory box idea and plan to put together a few of these from me, sort of my favorite parenting memories we’ve shared over the years (in addition to several from the kids).

4 Alan

Picture frames (with pictures) are really great actually. One of the best gifts, they really hit the heart especially if your not one to usually give one.

5 Shanti @ Antishay

This is so great! My mom would probably laugh if she got some fingerpaintings from us… my sisters and I are all over 20 🙂 BUT – when I was a kid we didn’t have a lot of money, and I was all about the hand-made cards. We have boxes and boxes of them.

Great ideas!

6 Kirk


What is great about these gift ideas is they will last much longer than flowers, clothing, or a dinner at a restaurant.

7 Writer's Coin

Writing a letter is a great idea! It can really open up things you feel and have never said to your mom. I highly recommend it!

8 RazzBari

Great ideas! I spent $8 on 2 yards of sturdy fabric and made mom 4 reusable grocery bags. The Kroger affiliate in her area gives .05 back for each bag, so I hope this gift keeps on giving for a long time!

9 Ryan


Cool idea! Handmade gifts are wonderful, especially when they are practical! I’m sure they will receive a lot of use. 🙂

10 Frugal Parent

I have a frugal mom so I got her a 2008 Entertainment book…I think she’s going to love it!

11 Ryan

Frugal Parent,

Entertainment books are awesome! 🙂

12 Melc

Great ideas! I actually am in the process of making my mom a bracelet in my jewelry making class in school. I was actually just surfing around online the other day searching for gift ideas and found this great site called, Jewelry Information Center (JIC for short). They have anything you need to know about jewelry. They have a feature called the Gift Finder, which I found to be extremely helpful when researching what kind of gift I wanted to get my mom. I highly advise anyone looking for great ideas or just the 101 on jewelry to definitely check it out because it helped me and I know my mom is going to love her gift! 🙂

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