Hoping to celebrate Mom on Mother's Day…but coming up short with cash? Here are 19 cheap Mother Day ideas to celebrate (for adults).

You're looking for cheap Mother Day ideas to celebrate your mother…but you don't want to look cheap, right?

Not a problem.

I've got loads of ways for you to celebrate Mom this Mother's Day that will both honor her and preserve your wallet.mother, daughter, and grandchild jumping on bed, text overlay "19 cheap Mother's Day ideas to celebrate for adults"

Before we get started with Mother's Day event ideas and things to do for your Mom to make her happy, let me show you the simple way you'll know you've picked the right activity.

What to Do for Your Mom on Mother’s Day – It’s Simple

If you’re ever stuck wondering what you can do for your Mom on Mother’s Day, then you’re in the right place.

The answer is always quite simple.

Do something that:

  • Helps her in some way
  • Communicates your appreciation for her in some way
  • Gives the two of you more time to spend together
  • Creates a memory

As long as what you choose from the list below covers one or more of these characteristics? Then you’ll be honoring your mother and bringing a smile to her face.

Which is all you need to do!

Let’s jump into all those cheap and fun ideas.

Psst: if you're looking for a gift to give on top of doing something for Mom? Then check out my 41 inexpensive Mother's Day gift ideas. All gifts are between $5 and $20. 

Mother Day Ideas to Celebrate – Mother’s Day Activities for Adults

Let's start off with Mother's Day activities for adult children to do with their Moms – talk about creating some quality time together! These are also the perfect Mother's Day ideas on a budget.

#1: Go Through 40 Days of Prayer Series Together

Our church went through the 40 Days of Prayer series (by Rick Warren, author of The Purpose-Driven Life) together last year, and it was fabulous.

In fact, it was SO good, that I bought two copies of the book for my grandmother so that she could choose someone to go through the series together with her.

You can do this series with anyone, so why not pick your mother? Gift her a copy of the book on Mother’s Day, get one for yourself, and either meet up weekly to watch a video (there are 8 videos that go along with the book), or watch apart and text/talk/FaceTime about it over the next six weeks.

Hint: All the videos you need are free on YouTube here.

#2: Take Your Mother Out to a Food Truck

Check out RoamingHunger.com to find out where and which food trucks will be around your home or your mother’s for Mother’s Day weekend.

This is a great way to take her out for some gourmet and exciting food choices, but without having to pay a big tip!

#3: Run a 5K Together

What I love about this idea – other than the fact that it gets you both exercising – is that you’ll need to train a bit ahead of time.

In other words, you could train together and spend even more time with each other rather than just a one-off event on Mother’s Day.

Use this race finder tool to find races in your part of the country.

#4: Volunteer Together

Not only is this a free activity, but you’ll both get a lot out of the experience. If you’ve never volunteered with your Mom before, then you’ll get to see her in a whole new light. Ask if there's a volunteer activity at the church she goes to, or a community organization that she's interested in.

OR, do your own search and come up with a volunteer activity the two of you can get behind and do together.

Check out my article on 27 ways to volunteer from home

#5: Go to the Gym Together

Does one of you have a gym membership? Meet up for a gym workout date with your Mom.

Next up, let me show you some tricks on how to find events in your own area that are free to celebrate Mother's Day with your Mom, wife, etc.

How to Find Free Things to Do on Mother’s Day “Near Me”

I’ve got a few tricks and things to do to find free things to do on Mother’s Day that is near you.

Trick #1: Filter Eventbrite Right

Mothers loooovvvveee it when their children voluntarily spend time with them. I’m a Mom, so I can say this!

Did you know that you can find FREE events to attend on Eventbrite.com? Let me show you how to uncover some gems for your mother.

Just click “more filters”, then “Any Price”, and select “free”.

screenshot of eventbrite with arrow pointing to price and then free section

Trick #2: Search Using the Right Phrase

When searching on Google for free Mother’s Day events near you, try any of the following phrases (fill in your area of the country where you see an underline):

  • Your local area+ free things to do”
  • Your local area+ free Mother’s Day events”
  • Your local area+ discount for residents”

Trick #3: Search Your Local Library’s Bulletin Board

Local libraries can be treasure-troves for free events being held both at the library, or within the community.

Either go into your library and look at their fliers/bulletin board area, or look on their events calendar online and see what upcoming events you might want to take Mom to near Mother’s Day.

For example, our library has held free genealogy research classes, which would be a perfect Mom-Daughter date for Mother’s Day!

Trick #4: Check Out Places with Known Free Classes

Places like Michael's craft store and Joann's Fabric store regularly offer free classes you can take your mother to.

screenshot of Michael's craft store classes and events section

What Can I Do for Mother's Day if I Have No Money? Free Options

When you have no money but you really want to show Mom how much she means to you, then you need to get creative. Creative with your time, your talents, and with what you consider a “gift”.

#1: Offer Your Services to Make Mom’s Life Easier

Is there something that you do that your mother could benefit from (or has hinted she would like help with)?

For example, my husband, Paul, works in IT and could offer to clean up his mother’s computer for her.

Perhaps Mom needs help with downloading apps or music. Gutters need cleaned, cars need washed, oil needs to be changed, and I’m sure your Mom has a thing or two she would love some help with.

Better yet, make her a pitcher of iced tea and let her relax while you knock a few things off of her to-do list.

Bonus: Tell her ahead of time to write you a honey-do list, then tell her you’ll come over for 3 hours or so on X date to knock them out.

#2: Present her with Free Genealogy Research

Did you know there are totally free genealogy websites? You can use them to conduct some genealogy research into your mother’s side of the family and uncover a few nuggets to share with her.

Pssst: here are some genealogy project ideas for how to present the information to her.

#3: Do a Mother’s Day Countdown

The Dating Divas came up with an awesome Mother’s Day gift – a Mother’s Day Countdown. Grab your free printables, and show your Mom how much she means to you for 7 days (one week) leading up to the big day (all while doing things for her that are almost entirely free – now that fits any budget!).

Also, here’s free printables for a Mother’s Day Eve tradition you can introduce to your family!

#4: Give her Mother’s Day Coupons

Print out these adorable Mother’s Day coupons, and assemble. Would be a perfect pairing with breakfast in bed!

#5: Help Your Kids Fill Out a SuperMom Letter

Could your mother (or your wife) use a little appreciation? Here’s a free SuperMom Letter printable you can help the kids fill in.

Even More Cheap Things to Do for Mother's Day

Sometimes what we want to give loved ones cannot come close to what we can actually afford to give them.

Because there is pressure from the media, retailers, and other people to try and express all of this emotion towards others in a financial way, we may purchase a gift that is over our budget or fail to give anything at all since there is such a huge gap between what we want to give and what we can give.

While it would be nice to really treat our mothers to something wonderful — brunch or afternoon tea at a restaurant — it is not always feasible to do so.

Don’t fret. I’ve got inexpensive Mother’s Day activities that will make. her. day.

Activity #1: Wildflower Walk

Does your mother enjoy the outdoors? Grab a local wildflower or wildlife book from your library, and take her on a wildflower walk where you guys talk and identify wildflowers together.

Activity #2: Attend Church with Her

Does your Mother attend a church? Do you know how much it would make her day to have her son or daughter (and their families) attend with her?

Not only that, but usually churches give a shout-out to all of the mothers in their congregations on Mother’s Day. How wonderful to have her actually family there with her to clap!

Bonus: many churches have breakfast after the service; you might ask your mother about this, and offer to bring in a potluck breakfast dish to have food with her and her friends.

Activity #3: Dinner and a Movie…at Your Home

Parents love to be invited over to their kid’s homes (especially when there’s grandkids!). You can honor your mother by inviting her to your house for a home-cooked meal with your family, and then a family movie afterwards. Set up a popcorn bar, or an ice-cream bar, to make it even more special.

Activity #4: Invite Her Out for Dessert

There are some pretty snazzy dessert locations out there. The great thing is, you’re still taking your mother out, it’s just for a lot cheaper. Even better? These dessert places are very boutique-like, so it doesn’t FEEL like it’s a cheap way to take your mother out.

Let me give you some examples to look for:

  • Chocolate Bar
  • Edible Cookie Dough Boutiques
  • Cupcake Bakeries with seating

Activity #5: Tea and Treats with the Grand Kids

Got a cake plate (or you can make your own)? Print out a free tea and treats printable invitation, and give it to your mother. Pick up some tea from the grocery store, as well as ingredients to make some tea-party-worthy treats, like:

What do I hope you'll get from this article, besides some killer Mother Day ideas to celebrate your mom? That you can celebrate your mother on any budget…even if that budget is $0.

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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.
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