41 inexpensive Mother's Day gift ideas – because celebrating your mother should happen whether you can splurge or not.

Being broke is NOT a reason to “cheap out” on celebrating your mother this Mother’s Day – especially with this list of unique and inexpensive Mother's Day gift ideas.

What do I mean by “cheaping out”?

It turns out that WHAT you spend on a Mother’s Day gift is not nearly as important as the care that you put into it.adult daughter with mother on Mother's day, text overlay "41 cheap Mother's day gifts to buy $5, $10, and $20"

On days like Mother’s Day, care and time are considered currencies.

So, in my mind, “cheaping out” would be skipping over Mother’s Day altogether, or not putting any effort into trying to make or do something (don’t worry – I’ve got you covered with loads of cheap and free ideas below), and in general, forgetting to honor your mother on this day.

Fortunately, there are always options to show others how we feel about them without spending a lot of money. At the end of the day it is the feeling we leave with our loved ones that matters the most, not the price tag on a gift.

Just ask anyone if they would rather have a new television or your unconditional love and support.

For Mother’s Day, I’d like to give you some frugal ideas that will allow you to express your love and gratitude.

Mother's Day Gifts Under $5

Are you ready for some seriously cheap but good gifts, starting at the less-than-$5 category? Here's a bunch of Mother's Day gifts under 5 dollars.

#1: Print Magazine Subscription from Amazon

There are legit tons of print magazine subscription options for $5 on Amazon.
screenshot of amazon magazine subscriptions area with arrow pointing to $5 section

#2: Single Serve Cupcake from a Boutique

Have you seen how gorgeous cupcakes are these days? Not only do they have all kinds of flavors and looks, but you can buy small, single cupcake boxes that are just adorable.

Bonus: here’s a really cute, cupcake card you can make out of your child’s hand for an added touch!

#3: Things You Can Add to Her Mother's Day Card

In the $5 gift category, you want to look at little, thoughtful surprises you can stash into their Mother's Day card for a little somethin' special.

Here are a few very affordable ideas: 

  • iPhone Home Button Sticker: There are some seriously stylish home button stickers out there available for right around the $5 mark, and they'd be perfect to stash inside of a card for Mom. Like these, or these.
  • Snazzy Bookmark: If your mother loves to read, then put one of these beautiful and ornate bookmarks into her Mother's Day card, or this set of magnetic Celtic bookmark clips.
  • Gourmet Chocolate Bars: You know the “expensive” chocolate area in your grocery store? Get to it, and pick out two luxury bars of chocolate to include with your Mother’s Day Card.

#3: Gourmet Dipping Oil + Loaf of Crusty Bread

Shop the gourmet food section of stores like Tuesday Mornings, Marshall’s, TJ Maxx’s to find gorgeous bottles of gourmet dipping oils at half price (pro tip: check the expiration date before purchasing, just sayin’ from experience).

Pair this with a beautiful loaf of crusty bread.

#4: Fiverr Mother's Day Video Creation

Go to Fiverr.com, and search for “Mother's Day Video”. You can send photos of your Mom, and get a video created just for her. For $5!

#5:  Start Seedlings Indoors

Several months before Mother’s Day, start a bunch of seedlings indoors (seeds and soil are cheap!). Then, present your mother with the small plants she can plant in her own garden for the year. Even better, offer to plant them with her for some bonding.

Mother's Day Gifts Under $10

If you've got just $10 or less to spend, then this is definitely your section. Some of these gifts are Mom-mazing (when you consider how little they cost)!

#1: Mandala Coasters

Mandalas are pretty trendy right now, and you can get her a set of gorgeous, and absorbent, mandala coasters for very cheap.

#2: Reusable & Washable Snack Bags

I carry snacks with me all the time (not just for my kiddo, but for me!). Help your Mom style up her lunch bag at work, or organize her day out with this reusable and washable snack bag set.

Lots of styles to choose from!

#3: Car Trunk Organizer

Help Mom keep things tidy in the trunk by getting this car trunk organizer (Paul, if you're reading this, I'd love one of these too!).

#4: Handmade Feather Bookmark

WOW. I'm surprised at how inexpensive these handmade feather bookmarks are!

#5: Gold Rose Pen

You can buy your mother a beautiful gold rose pen.

#6: Magnetic Car Phone Mount

Not only is this phone car mount a convenient way to keep track of your phone, but it’s safer if your Mom happens to talk on her phone during driving (not suggesting she should!).

#7: Smart Phone Case with Credit Card Holder

What a snazzy smart phone case!

#8: The Little Book of Hygge

Inspire your mother to slow down and savor life more. This book is all about the Danish way of Hygge (hoo-ga), an it’s a hit among women!

#9: Lastword Bookmark

If you’re Mom’s a reader, then this Lastword Bookmark could be just the thing – it lets you easily see the last sentence you ended a page on.

Psst: this would be super-helpful when reading the Bible!

#10: Elephant Desk Cell Holder

Can I just say how much I would love to have this elephant cell holder on MY desk?

#11: Bird Feeder

Purchase a bird feeder and a bag of bird feed to get your recipient started (hint: I find that the cheapest bird food can be found at the grocery store, and in particular, Kroger’s). If your friend/family lives in an apartment, or doesn’t have trees, you can purchase a bird feeder with suction cups to adhere to a window.

#12: Vera Bradley ID Case

You can get your mother one of these stylish ID cases.

#13: Starbucks Clearance Gifts

About once a season, Starbucks stores have a clearance section. You can find some reasonably-priced, branded products to buy for your mother!

#14: RFID-Blocking Passport Holder

Here's a really stylish Passport holder, for Moms who like to travel.

#15: Mocha and Coffee Bean Sugar Scrub

I can only imagine how great this sugar scrub smells.

#16: Brick of Handmade Soap

Grab her a brick of handmade soap, with essential oils.

Mother's Day Gifts Under $20

You'll be amazed with the great Mother's Day gifts under 20 dollars you can find.

#1: Mother-Daughter (and Mother-Son) Journal

Take turns filling in this mother-daughter journal, and pass it back and forth for years to come (here’s a Mom and Son version).

#2: Shower Steamers

Shower steamers are a great way to give your Mom an awesome shower experience (plus there can be health benefits, depending on the natural oils in each one).

#3: Waterproof, Blue tooth Shower Speaker

While we’re talking showers…does your Mom like to listen to music in hers? Here’s a Bluetooth speaker that is waterproof for her shower.

#4: Rose Gold Pen Set

Look at this gorgeous rose gold pen set that's under $20!

#5: Tea Drop Sampler Set

This wooden box of tea drops is so neat! You simply drop the loose tea drops into your tea. They'll be sediment at the bottom, but it's completely safe to drink/eat.

#6: Take her to the Movies

You can afford two movie tickets for $20 (but I'd steer clear of the snacks area!). Perhaps cook her a homemade meal, then go out to the movies together?

#7: Pot of Cacti or Succulents

Head on over to your nearest home center, and check out their plants section. You should be able to find colorful cactus and succulent options that would make a nice addition to a windowsill.

What Should I Buy my Wife for Mother's Day?

I’ve got some Mother’s Day gift ideas for your wife that are both easy on the eyes AND easy on the budget.

#1: Start a Mother’s Day Journal

Are your kiddos still kind of young? Start a new tradition for Mother’s Day with these cheap Mother’s Day Journal printables. These your wife will cherish for all of her days – and certainly long after the kids have moved out.

Remember: kids become teenagers, who then become adults with our own careers, families, and lives. Somewhere along the way most of us spend much less time with our mothers than we used to. Taking an afternoon, a day, or a few hours to spend with your mother will truly show her how much you care.

I think I’ve shown you that – whether you’re broke, have little money, or think you have little time – there are no good excuses for skipping out on celebrating your mother on Mother’s Day. You’ve got this!

#2: Back Seat Car Organizer

Does your wife crave organization in the car? I totally get that! Our car is small, so that adds to the cluttery-feeling of trying to fit all the kid things in.

#3: The Day “Off”

While you can never really be “Off” when you're a mother, you can provide a lot of the services that your wife provides on a day-to-day basis so that she can kick back and relax a bit.

Are you kids of parent-bathing age still? You can bathe them. Take them to the park for a few hours, and take over dinner prep for the night. Read bedtime stories to them, and get their endless snack needs taken cared of. You get the point.

#4: Belgium Waffles Breakfast

Can you whip out your waffle maker (the one that hardly gets used), and make some Belgium waffles? My husband makes us bacon and waffles on the weekends, and it's such a delight. It'll feel even special for your wife if you don't normally do it.

#5: Pack Up a Picnic

Plan a whole picnic for your wife and kids. Make the food ahead of time, pack it up, and whisk her off to the beach, park, lake, or whatever you have around you guys.

#6: Draw a Kid-Free Bath

Does your wife enjoy baths? Create one for her, and make it a kid-free zone by letting the little ones know the bathroom with the bath tub is off-limits for an hour (hopefully there's another one!). Scrub the tub out until it's sparkly, use a tub pillow, bubbles, and whatever else you'd like. Let your wife relax!

I hope you've gotten some great ideas from this inexpensive Mother's Day gift ideas. Just remember that no matter what you choose to do for your mother or wife this Mother's Day, just be sure to put care, thought, and love into it. Those make a huge difference — and will mean more than any expensive gift you could buy.

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Amanda L. Grossman is a Certified Financial Education Instructor, Plutus Foundation Grant Recipient, and founder of Frugal Confessions. Over the last 10 years, her money work helping people with how to save money and how to manage money has been featured in Kiplinger, Washington Post, U.S. News & World Report, Business Insider, LifeHacker, Woman's World, Woman's Day, ABC 13 Houston, Keybank, and more. Read more here.
8 replies
  1. John @ Married (with Debt) says:

    I just heard a story on NPR about the environmental impact of sending flowers on mothers day. Didn’t realize that cut flowers traveled so far, from South America, and are then trucked across America to their destinations.

    I think a nice phone call will do just fine.

  2. Mike says:

    Really good ideas and I totally agree with the car cleaning idea. Maybe I am different than most, but I actually like detailing cars so both me and the clean car recipient win! Thanks for the ideas.

  3. Len Penzo says:

    Great post, Amanda! I can never get enough of these gift idea articles. 🙂

    All the best,

    Len Penzo dot Com

  4. Melissa says:

    Thanks for the creative ideas, especially in the 0 dollars category. I would be very happy with the UPromise gift for my son, as I imagine most parents would be.


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