Oh, Snap! Frugal Last-Minute Mother’s Day Gifts

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Shoot! Totally forgot Mother's Day was this weekend! These are awesome last-minute ideas--I don't even think Mom will be able to tell!

Mother’s Day isn’t like Christmas. It doesn’t come on a set day every year. I can’t mark it on my mental calendar without first consulting my actual calendar and storing the new information in my brain.

Almost every year, this unpredictability leads to an “Oh, Snap!” moment, where I realize that despite all my grand schemes and ideas, I haven’t actually taken any action to secure a gift.

Since I’m now a pro at not being prepared, I wanted to take this, the Monday before Mother’s Day, to share some of my experience-gained knowledge with you. Here are five last-minute Mother’s Day gifts that she’ll never know were last minute.

Do Something with Mom

This is a lot easier to do if you’re local—or at least within driving distance. There are tons of free and paid events on Mother’s Day. If you’re looking at the ones themed around the holiday, you’ll have sore luck thanks to your procrastination. These tend to fill up quickly.

But if you look for free events that aren’t necessarily advertised as Mother’s Day events but do take place that weekend, you’re much more likely to score a great deal and create some lasting memories with mom.

Get Her a Last-Minute Spa Day

Gift cards are always awesome, but they’re also usually hard to get “on sale” without looking at the resale market.

Right now, SpaFinder just happens to be offering their gift cards for 10% off when you purchase $100+ worth. That means if you buy mom a massage, which is usually in the $100 range after tip and without first-time customer discounts, you’ll only have to pay $90.

I Love Mom Magnets

We made these a few years ago, only we used “Grandma” instead of “Mom.” Essentially, you just buy a big sheet of magnet paper. One side is has a backing that you can peel off, revealing a sticky surface. You print your pictures from you home computer—it’s totally fine if they’re on printer paper rather than actual, glossy photos—and stick them on there. Cut around the edges and you’re done.

Sign Language Cards

This is probably only going to be satisfactory if you have kids. Trace their hand, cut it out, and fold it into the shape of the “I Love You” handshape in ASL. Slip a heart under the ring and middle fingers.

Need more detailed directions? Check it out here.

Help Mom Remember Her Own Family

If she’s into genealogy, you could get her an Ancestry membership. If you don’t have the cash to drop for the 6- or 12-month membership, buy a one-month membership for yourself. Do a little digging, and see if you can find any new documents she may have never seen before. Even if you’ve done genealogy before, it’s worth checking as new documents are being scanned, uploaded and indexed all the time.

Bonus points if you’re able to find anything new from her mother or grandmother. These were and are important people in her own life, and learning something new about them–even if it’s just seeing their name on a census or other record–can be a beautiful way to remember and celebrate the influence they had on her life.

Have you ever slipped and had to buy a last-minute Mother’s Day gift? Tell us about it in the comments!

7 thoughts on “Oh, Snap! Frugal Last-Minute Mother’s Day Gifts

  1. Done by Forty

    In the lamest tradition ever, my mom always just wants cash for birthdays, Christmas, and holidays. I suppose as a personal finance blogger I can appreciate the fact that cash is maybe the best sort of thing to give and receive, in some sense. But man, it is not thoughtful. Still, it’s what she really wants, and I suppose there’s nothing wrong with that.

  2. fehmeen

    Almost 2 decades ago, my siblings and I recorded a mix-tape for our parents full of songs they loved from the 70s and 80s. We quietly slipped it into the car radio as we headed out for the dinner celebration of their anniversary. They loved it. Why wouldn’t they? 🙂 Frugal gifts are often very meaningful and fun to make.

  3. Emily @ JohnJaneDoe

    My stepmom wants either gift cards or vino, so things are pretty simple these days, but I find that printing some good family photos always works for pretty much any occasion. We all have so many good photos thanks to cell phones, but rarely do we print them out. A little photo ink and paper and some frames from the dollar store and you’re good.

  4. Jax

    I am glad to hear others give cash/gift cards to their moms for Mother’s Day. We’re taking my partner’s granny out to breakfast and his mom out to dinner tomorrow. I think what they both want the most is time with him. I asked him if we should get them gifts and he suggested gift cards which seems weird to me for a child to give their parent money for a holiday. Shouldn’t it be the other way around?! I am hoping that next year we think of something a little more thoughtful, and this post has given me some ideas!

  5. Gary @ Super Saving Tips

    These are some nice ideas. I especially like the Ancestry membership. My mother-in-law did a lot of research on her family tree, and my wife put some of the tree up on Ancestry for free. But having their paid resources is really cool, especially for Mother’s Day.


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