If you haven't gotten a Mother's Day gift yet, don't panic: It's not too late to find the right present. And considering everything mom has done for you, you want to be sure to get the gift-giving part of the holiday right. However, you don't have to shell out a ton of cash to do it.
According to the National Retail Federation, consumers will spend an average of $168.94 on Mother's Day gifts this year. While the latest gadget or a day at the spa is a wonderful gift, you can make mom just as happy with something inexpensive that comes from the heart. Here are five creative, budget-friendly gift ideas to make your mother smile on her special day:
1. Consider a gift of service. Most moms wouldn't mind if you take a month's worth of dishes, laundry or other household chores off their hands. You can also offer to keep track of the family finances if that's typically her responsibility, or go grocery shopping, and stock the kitchen with goodies that she enjoys. Concentrate on making mom's life easier, and she'll appreciate the sentiment.
2. Get her what she wants. Instead of trying to guess what will make mom happy, simply ask her if there's something she wants. She may simply request a day off from watching the kids, a night out with the girls or a picnic with the grandchildren, but you'll never know until you ask.
3. Consider a frugal, yet creative gift. Put your creativity to use. A friend of mine once gave his mother a homemade calendar with pertinent events already recorded on it. It had a beautiful design and included relatives' birthdays, deadlines for school projects, anniversaries, appointments and other occasions. His mother was fairly forgetful, so this was a perfect, thoughtful gift.
4. Give the gift of writing. You don't have to be a wordsmith to create a personalized Mother's Day gift - you just need to write from the heart. Compose a poem for mom about the things she's done for you over the years. If rhyming isn't your forte, a personal letter will also put a smile on her face.
5. Find memorable photos. Whether it's a traditional book or a digital frame, a photo album makes for a thoughtful Mother's Day gift. If you have a smartphone, you can take this idea to the next level by downloading photo-related apps, such as Camera Zoom FX, Fotodanz, Photo Grid and PicSayPro, all of which can help you assemble a collection of photographs mom can treasure for years to come.
Final thoughts. No matter what gift you decide on, make sure you package it on the cheap. You can stop at your local dollar store to pick up gift baskets, wrapping paper, greeting cards and other accessories. Mom will love your gift no matter how it's presented, so don't spend a ton of money on gift bags or fancy wrapping paper; it's what's inside that counts.
What cost-friendly gift ideas do you have for mom this year?
David Bakke is a contributor for Money Crashers Personal Finance. He writes about money management and lifestyle tips, including articles about the best creative gift ideas for special occasions.