For many people, spending money is almost a passive activity. It requires little thought or effort. Often times, it’s the quick and easy fix.
Working within a budget actually requires far more thought and creativity, and picking out a mother’s day gift is no exception.
Sure, mom deserves a diamond necklace, but the truth is, a rushed, expensive purchase is often far less touching to Mom than a carefully-thought-out and selected gift will be.
Love is much more about thoughtfulness than about breaking the bank.
So what to choose?
1. Pampering Products
One of the messages on Mother’s Day is appreciation for Mom, acknowledging how hard she works and how much she deserves a break.
Nothing sends this message better than a pampering gift (and breakfast in bed)!
Pampering gifts can include gift baskets with a variety of items to sooth, heal and delight the senses. Pre-made gift baskets are less personal and usually more expensive.
Instead, look for a variety of natural products, such as gentle exfoliants, moisturizers, topical strain relieving gels and facial masks, made out of ingredients like apricot seeds, coconut oil, aloe vera and essential oils.
Collect these items in a pretty basket, add lots of tissue paper as well as embellishments like lace, ribbons and a few heart candies.
Another affordable pampering idea is a foot spa. Dr. Scholl’s, Conair and Homedics all make affordable foot spas that can be an absolute delight at the end of the day.
These are like a multi-jet jacuzzi for the feet, offering sensations of soothing warmth and a foot massage rolled into one. They range from $27-$70.
2. More Than Flowers
Studies actually show that receiving flowers gives women a significant mood boost that can last for several days.
What most people don’t realize is that more expensive flowers don’t create better moods.
Roses cost three times as much as many other flowers, and they wilt and die more quickly.
Consider hurts of sunflowers, African daisies or multi-colored carnations instead.
With the money saved, pick out a beautiful, more permanent vase to put them in, or hang a beaded charm bracelet with photos of children and grandchildren in it, from the side of an existing vase.
For a variation on flowers that can have the same effect, consider an edible arrangement that looks like flowers but is actually made of fruit (with a little chocolate added for good measure).
These are especially good for moms who like things to be useful or who complain of having too much “stuff,” offering the beauty of a bouquet, but the practicality of healthy food.
3. Hearts, Hearts, Hearts
What does Mom love? Whatever it is, can it be made into the shape of a heart?
Simple items like soap and chocolate take on new meaning when shaped like a heart, but why stop there?
Pin cushions, pot holders, sculptures, wash clothes, and even edibles, like toast, pancakes or lollipops can all be found in (or made into) the shape of a heart, for extra meaning.
4. Costume Jewelry
Costume jewelry is not the poor woman’s alternative. Not at all.
In fact, today’s most popular jewelry trends are all about vibrant shapes and colors that could not be found in gold and silver alone.
Watch Mom, see what she likes, get a feeling for her style, then purchase something that makes a beautiful statement about who she is.
Not About Money
In the end, the effort put into a gift, and the more personal and thoughtful that gift is, the more value it has.
Money is thrown around easily and, even on the lowest budgets, most of us have more material goods than we know what to with. Remember, to make gifts to Mom all about her.
Try to avoid gifts that make it easier for her to serve others. No one can wrong (even on a budget!) when “love” and “pampering” are the goals of any Mother’s Day gift.
Mary Hiers is a personal finance writer who helps people earn more and spend less.