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Mom’s The Word: Mother’s Day Gift Ideas That Won’t Break The Bank

Sarah Pierce  |  May 8, 2024

Here are some of the best Mother's Day gift ideas, straight from moms themselves.

Mom’s big day is just around the corner and for many, it can be a challenge to get her something she actually wants (hint: it’s not a vacuum, or anything related to cleaning for that matter). There is no shortage of Mother’s Day gift ideas, but for any money-savvy person, (ahem, if you’re at HerMoney or part of our special FinanceFixx program, that’s you!) the goal is to find something that says “thank you” to the mother figure in your life, and at the same time, doesn’t bust your budget. 

According to an annual survey from the National Retail Federation (NRF), Mother’s Day spending is expected to reach near-record levels this year. “Similar to past years, nearly all, or 84% of U.S. adults plan to celebrate Mother’s Day this year and total spending on the holiday is expected to reach $33.5 billion, the second highest in our survey’s history, just following last year’s record of $35.7 billion,” explains Katherine Cullen, Vice President of Industry and Consumer Insights at the NRF.

When it’s all said and done, the average person will spend just about $254 to celebrate Mom this year, with the most popular Mother’s Day gift ideas being flowers (74%), greeting cards (74%) and a trip to her favorite spot for brunch or dinner (59%). “Gifts that are thoughtful in nature remain a priority for Mother’s Day shoppers. More consumers are saying they will focus on finding items that are unique or different or that create a special memory than they have in past years,” notes Cullen. “However, splurge items, like jewelry and electronics or traditional Mother’s Day purchases like flowers or greeting cards, remain popular.”

If you’ve yet to shop and need some Mother’s Day gift ideas, take a deep breath…you still have time. Read on for some of the best gift ideas, straight from moms themselves. 

The Gift Of An Experience

Who really needs more stuff? Not this mom. And I’m willing to bet many others would say the same. Even better than a bouquet of flowers or a fancy piece of jewelry is the gift of an experience. Experience gifts can range from tickets to a concert to a picnic at the beach. “We taught our kids to shop experientially, and think about what they know about us,” says HerMoney reader Elizabeth. She took photography up as a hobby and says one of the best presents she received for Mother’s Day was being signed up for photo editing classes. 

Group experiences can also be a good way to celebrate Mother’s Day, start new traditions and strengthen your bond with loved ones. According to a recent study from the Journal of Consumer Research, experience gifts can help develop “a stronger emotional response which led to improvements in personal relationships making the impact of the gift truly last a lifetime.”

HerMoney reader Courtney agrees. “For Mother’s Day, we meet up at a State Park on Lake Michigan with my mom and sister and watch the sunrise,” she says. “We bring coffee and muffins, chairs, blankets, and a football for the kiddos.”

The Gift Of Something Simple

For Rachael, a Coach with HerMoney CEO Jean Chatzky’s FinanceFixx program (which BTW, has its next session starting May 14th and could be a great gift for mom!), the best Mother’s Day gift ideas are the simple ones. A handwritten card tops her list…but if her kids really want to splurge, she says a day at the spa is a “cherry on top.”

Another simple gift idea to show Mom some love? Swap your Mother’s Day card for a video. “I’m a video editor and I’ve had a few clients gift video messages for Mother’s Day,” notes reader Annabelle. “It’s especially great if the kids are out of the house…have them all record a message and put them together!”

The Gift Of Something She Loves To Do

Think about your mom’s hobbies. Does she love to read? Gift her this BookTok Bestsellers Boxed Set ($24.99). Or perhaps she’s a fan of gardening. This $28 tool is said to cut weeding time in half (that’s more time for mom to put her feet up, sip on some lemonade and admire all her hard work!). 

Look at how she spends her free time, and give the gift of something to support her favorite hobbies. Not only will she use it, it will let her know that you see her and care about her interests. “My son has given me great gifts for running,” says HerMoney reader Renee. “It makes me proud because he sees me…and I like to think I’m a role model for him.”

The Gift That Keeps On Growing

Go green with a gift that will ensure Mom thinks of you–and the bond you share–each time she sees it. “I always get a new flower or flowering bush for my mom’s backyard,” says HerMoney reader Cheryl. “I live 2,000 miles away, so my dad takes her to the local greenhouse on my behalf and she picks out what she wants.” While most bouquets last around a week, a flowering bush or house plant (some of which can live for decades!) can be a great option that ensures you get your money’s worth. 

The Gift Of Something Sentimental 

For moms who have everything, some of the best Mother’s Day gift ideas are those that are sentimental. “I found a bunch of old home movies in the attic that were at least 50 years old,” says HerMoney reader Julie. “I had them converted to DVDs, and my mom loved them. Plus, there are two more boxes de-cluttered from the attic!”  There are a number of services that convert reel-to-reel or VHS tapes to DVDs or digital formats. Most start at around $15 per tape or reel.


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