10 Mother's Day gifts for less than $10

What's good about Mother's Day is that gifts costing the least can often mean the most. How to make Mom happy by using your imagination instead of your money.

By Stacy Johnson May 2, 2011 4:55PM

This post comes from Michael Koretzky at partner site Money Talks News.


Around this time of year, all children ask their parents the same question: "Why is there a Mother's Day but no Children's Day?" And every parent answers the same way: "Every day is Children's Day."

Alas, even Mother's Day is Children's Day. Ask any mom who's cleaned up the kitchen after the kids tried to make her breakfast in bed. Likewise, how many drawings of Mom can fit on one refrigerator door? How many hand-painted "I (heart) Mom" coffee mugs can one mother drink from?


Whether you're 5 years old or 50, here are 10 ideas that won't bust the budget and will guarantee a smile on her face:

  • Get-out-of-chore card. What's Mom's least-favorite chore? Make a homemade gift card offering to do that very chore for a week, month or year.
  • Surprise picnic. Forget the mess of breakfast in bed. Leave the house. Secretly prepare all the food and stow it in the trunk. Then take Mom to a beautiful spot, lay everything out on a blanket, and let her enjoy everything without having to worry about cleaning up.
  • Picture perfect. Find her favorite photo depicting her having fun with the family, print it out, and find a nice frame at a thrift shop. Dollar stores even carry some decent 8-by-10-inch frames. Better yet, fill a photo album with family photos or, if you can afford it, buy an electronic picture frame. You can get a Polaroid 2.7-inch pocket/desktop digital picture frame for only $10, but the bigger models, like the Coby 7-inch digital picture frame, will run you about $30. Post continues after video.
  • Play outdoors. When's the last time Mom, or even you, went to the zoo? Mother's Day means fine outdoor weather in much of the country. If she doesn't like the zoo, how about a concert or play? Check your local paper's website for free or inexpensive community events.
  • Express yourself. The younger the children, the more cherished a hand-written letter. If they write about their favorite memories of Mom, or the ways she's made a difference in their lives, it costs nothing and will be treasured for decades.
  • The gift that grows. Don't buy pricey cut flowers. Instead, buy a longer-lasting (and much cheaper) flowering perennial or other plant. Or spend even less by putting a pack of seeds inside a (homemade) card -- along with a promise to help Mom plant them.
  • The container can be pretty too. Taking that idea a step further, the kids can buy a cheap flower pot, paint it themselves, then fill it with a plant.
  • Make music. Make a CD of her favorite songs and hand-draw the CD jacket. If you don't know all her favorites, ask Dad to find them on iTunes and Amazon.
  • A tisket, a tasket. Get a wicker basket at a thrift shop and fill it with Mom's favorite things: lotions, chocolates, soaps and such. Include slips of paper with your favorite memories and/or pictures of her favorite memories.
  • Be a movie star. This is the video version of writing something for your mom. Get all members of the family (even some of her friends, if possible) on camera to talk about fun stuff they've done with her. Put her on the sofa with some popcorn and watch it together.

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