Creative Ways to Celebrate Mother's Day on a Budget

We promise Mom doesn’t care how much (or how little) you spend on her, as long as you spend the day together. 

Mom deserves the world, but you don't have to spend a lot of money to make her big day feel special. If you're celebrating Mother's Day on a budget this year, there are plenty of free and affordable ideas she'll love. You don't have to go out to a fancy restaurant to have a nice Mother's Day lunch together, and we've found plenty of inexpensive Mother's Day gifts she'll love just as much (or more!) as a high-dollar item.

Whether it's a homemade gift or a picnic in the park, we've rounded up our favorite cheap ideas for Mother's Day, including free gift and activity ideas Mom will cherish. Mother's Day is Sunday, May 8, so don't wait to make plans! (But if you do, our last-minute gift ideas have you covered.)

01 of 09

Have a Picnic

picnic side view
Carson Downing

You don't have to hit the fanciest restaurant in town to treat Mom to a nice Mother's Day lunch! Plus, those fancy specials usually involve rushing across town to get to a reservation at a busy brunch spot, and added stress is not on our list of Mother's Day gifts. Instead, throw her a casual picnic in the park! You can still serve all her favorite foods, but you'll save a ton by making it all yourself, and you won't be held to a set schedule or menu.

02 of 09

Make a Printed Coupon Book

Mother's day coupons
Jacob Fox

This Mother's Day gift idea is both cheap and easy enough for the kids to make by themselves. Win, win! Use our free printables to print out blank coupons, then have the kids write coupons for all kinds of things: Doing the dishes after dinner, preparing a meal for mom, or an hour of free time she can cash in whenever she wants. When the kids are done creating the coupons, use a ribbon and a hole punch to combine them all into a booklet.

03 of 09

Set up a Scavenger Hunt

mothers day fill-in cards

This cheap Mother's Day idea takes the cake for creativity. Have the kids plan a scavenger hunt for mom, and send her around the house hunting for clues. You can hide an inexpensive gift at each spot, or make this activity free by hiding heartfelt notes and thoughtful drawings from the kids instead. If you go this route, you can use our free fill-in-the-blank printables to help them get started.

04 of 09

Host a Virtual Brunch Date

Potato Cinnamon Rolls
Karla Conrad

Whether you're avoiding the expensive restaurant scene or simply can't be together in person this year, a virtual cooking date is one of our favorite ways to make the day special. Grab the necessary items ahead of time (be mindful of the cost of ingredients when planning the menu) and tune in for a FaceTime cooking date on Mother's Day. When you've both finished cooking, sit down and enjoy a virtual Mother's Day brunch together.

Related: 42 Mother's Day Brunch Recipes

05 of 09

Make a Bouquet

white and pink flower arrangement

Flower deliveries are notoriously expensive, but you gift mom a low-cost bouquet by picking up grocery store flowers instead. If you live near a Trader Joe's, I've found they have the best cheap flowers, but you can go to any grocery store that sells flowers. Rather than buying a premade bouquet, pick up individual bundles of the same kind of flower (these are usually cheaper) and make your own bouquet at home. For an extra special arrangement, pick flowers that have special meanings for Mother's Day.

Related: How to Make an Arrangement from Grocery Store Flowers

06 of 09

Give an Affordable Gift

bare candle co gift idea
Courtesy of Bare Candle Co.

Surprise mom with a sweet gift to open on her special day. We've rounded up our favorite under-$25 Mother's Day gift ideas to help you spoil mom without spoiling your budget. The best part? She'll never guess how inexpensive they are.

07 of 09

Garden Together

woman planting pink flowers
Marty Baldwin

Combine your Mother's Day gift with a fun activity to do together this year: Planting with mom in the garden! Plants can be expensive, but you can find plenty of affordable options as well. Head to your local nursery and have them help you select one or two inexpensive, easy-to-care-for plants or flowers. Then, spend the afternoon planting them with mom!

Related: How to Plant Flowers in 5 Easy Steps

08 of 09

Give a Thoughtful Card

happy mothers day floral print

Skip the expensive store-bought cards and use one of our free printable Mother's Day cards to write Mom a heartfelt message. Our cards are all blank inside, so you have plenty of room to let her know how much her love and support has meant to you over the years. If words aren't your strong suit, write a bulleted list of everything you love and appreciate about her. Or, use one of these Mother's Day quotes to convey your sentiments.

09 of 09

Have a Movie Marathon

grease movie dancing in the gym
Fotos International/Getty Images

Mom deserves to relax on Mother's Day, and this laid-back activity is totally free. Pop a bowl of popcorn (or two!) and settle in on the couch for a movie marathon of all her favorites. If you need inspiration, these are the best classic movies to watch with your mom—and many of them are available to stream for free.

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