For Mother's Day: The gift of time
Choose a present that gives Mom more time to herself -- or more time with you.
(It's May 13 this year, so you'd better get cracking.)
The survey noted that 43% of shoppers buy flowers. This year, why not surprise your mom with something other than a bouquet?
Here's an idea: time.
Depending on where your mom is in her life, she may want:
- More time to do the things she likes.
- Something to help her use time more efficiently.
- More time with you.
With a little imagination, you can give her a Mother's Day to remember -- and you can do it frugally.
Time for tech?
Nine-tenths of the moms surveyed by deal site TechBargains.com said they'd prefer an iPad instead of flowers. Technology helps women "juggle their busy family and professional lives," says company President Yung Trang.
My niece, a single working mom of two boys, swears by her smartphone. Maybe your mother would like a shot at a tech present, too?
If she's new at this and therefore doesn't want/need the latest bells and whistles, look for 2011 models that are available "at considerable discounts," suggests Brent Shelton of FatWallet.com.
Note: When comparing prices, make sure to factor in rebates from cash-back shopping sites.
Freeing up some time
Even when women work outside the home they're likely to do almost two-thirds of the housework. I'm betting the mom on your list would love a break. If you spring for an occasional housecleaning service, she might have time for a hobby or a little reading.
- Bing: Who was Anna Jarvis?
Discount cleaning vouchers show up fairly regularly on social-buying and deal sites. Check the secondary market for such deals, too. Or ask around for trusted local housecleaners.
Can't afford too many sessions? Even a single half-day visit could provide the luxury of a tidier house -- or specifics like a superclean clean fridge and stove -- without any effort on Mom's part.
Another timesaver: having necessities delivered. Order a few months' worth of pet supplies or household items (toilet paper, detergent, etc.) from sites like Wag.com or Soap.com. Go through a cash-back site for additional savings.
If you live close enough, do this the frugal way:
- Drop by every so often with supplies.
- Take your mother shopping.
- Devote a couple of hours a month to cleaning, yard work or batch cooking.
Don't take time for granted
It might be that seeing you is what Mom really wants. Those biweekly or monthly visits will make her happy even if you don't mow the lawn.
Some visits should be about fun, not work. Watch for social buying vouchers for classes, concerts or other events. Snare a couple of manicure deals, then follow up with an inexpensive lunch.
Money tight? Get creative. Look for free movie screenings. Do facials and manicures at home. Attend a pay-what-you-can performance. Start writing a family history, or go through boxes of photos and have her identify who's who.
The older I get, the more I'd give for even one more hour with my mother. I urge you not to take time for granted. If you love your mom, then let her know -- with or without a present.
More on MSN Money:
Copyright © 2014 Microsoft. All rights reserved.
Fundamental company data and historical chart data provided by Morningstar Inc. Real-time index quotes and delayed quotes supplied by Morningstar Inc. Quotes delayed by up to 15 minutes, except where indicated otherwise. Fund summary, fund performance and dividend data provided by Morningstar Inc. Analyst recommendations provided by Zacks Investment Research. StockScouter data provided by Verus Analytics. IPO data provided by Hoover's Inc. Index membership data provided by Morningstar Inc.
WHAT IS FRUGAL NATION?
Donna Freedman's Frugal Nation blog is for readers who want to live cheaply -- whether due to necessity or a lifestyle choice. It explores living sustainably and making life more meaningful at the same time.
ABOUT DONNA FREEDMAN
Donna Freedman, a writer based in Anchorage, Alaska, writes the Frugal Nation blog for MSN Money. She won regional and national prizes during an 18-year newspaper career and earned a college degree in midlife without taking out student loans. Donna also writes about the frugal life for her own site, Surviving and Thriving.
The popular online program lets you earn Amazon cards, PayPal cash and other rewards.
VIDEO ON MSN MONEY
If you worry about money after the streetlights come on, these actions may help you rest easier.