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Did you know that Mother’s Day was first celebrated in 1908? There have always been various celebrations for mothers, but the first recognized party became official after a three-year campaign by social activist Anna Jarvis. While the spirit of the holiday remains the same, it’s easy to overspend these days, because who doesn’t love and adore her mother?

While it can become an expensive affair, it doesn’t have to be. The typical route of flowers, cards, and gifts can be expensive, but if you’re creative, it doesn’t have to break the bank. The key is to focus on making it a special day for your mom, rather than an expensive one. Are here ways to save money but still celebrate this Mother’s Day:

What are your plans for dinner?

Did you know that the three most important days in the restaurant business are New Year’s Eve, Valentine’s Day, and Mother’s Day? That creates a couple of complications for the holidays. One is traffic and the other is price. So unless you take mom to a restaurant that takes (and takes) reservations, you could end up waiting a long time for a table. That’s not exactly the way to create a memorable vacation.

Since it’s a busy day for most restaurants, it’s unlikely that you’ll be able to get any sort of deal on food. There is simply very little reason for a restaurant to lower prices or offer discounts on a busy day like Mother’s Day. In other words, dining out on Mother’s Day is likely to be more expensive than any normal day.

The best solution is to enjoy dinner at home. Prepare a delicious home-cooked meal with an expertly prepared table and you can replicate the restaurant experience. Ask the children to help set the table. If you’re not a great cook, you can always order takeout and plate the food yourself.

bouquets and flowers

Like Valentine’s Day, the floral industry has a field day with Mother’s Day. Those simple bouquets that normally sell for $25 can now be purchased for just the “sale” price of $50, with free overnight shipping.

You can likely get something much less expensive at the floral corner of your local grocery store. You can save even more money by avoiding that old substitute, roses. Just choose a selection of brightly colored spring flowers and you can probably get a pretty arrangement for around $20.

Sending Cards: Old School or Digital

It seems almost trivial to aim for Mother’s Day cards to save. After all, what does $5 go for? In most cases this won’t be a big problem, but what if you have multiple mothers that you need to buy cards for? If you need to buy cards for your wife, mother, and mother-in-law, you are now looking at $15 for three cards. And if you have two or more kids, and they each want to buy a card for mom, you now have up to five $25 cards, assuming they don’t pick anything really fancy.

The least expensive route—in fact, it’s practically free—is to create cards on your computer. You can do this with a basic Word program or one of the many applications out there. You can get appropriate images all over the web and you can add your own wording. If you have a decent color printer, you’ll have everything you need to create as many cards as you need without spending any money at all.

If you don’t want to print it, consider letting the kids make their own cards or you can write a letter by hand. The card itself is almost secondary to the personal words and message it contains, so focus on that because it will be the most memorable.

Budget for gifts and small tokens of appreciation

If you want to make a gift and your budget is small, use your imagination and consider services instead of products. And by services I mean where you do things for her, instead of buying things for her.

Here are some helpful tips:

  • Let her sleep in late on Mother’s Day
  • Let him wake up for breakfast in bed.
  • If she normally does most of the cleaning, have the whole family spend part of the day doing it for her.
  • Give him a massage at home
  • Have each family member read a list of what they really appreciate about her.
  • Provide a homemade gift card that promises to take her out for coffee or dessert (this can work well with a grandmother, who may want companionship more than a physical gift)
  • Put together a family photo album, complete with annotations.

You can add anything to this list that you know you like and make it a gift instead of having to go to a store and buy something.

less is better

Mother’s Day activities don’t always have to be expensive or even complicated. Often just spending a quiet day together as a family is enough. For example, you could visit a quaint town, historical site, park, or beach that she really enjoys.

Sometimes it is not even necessary to leave the house to enjoy pleasant activities. You may find it fun to watch family videos. Many families spend more time recording video than actually viewing it, and this can present an opportunity to do just that.

Mother’s Day doesn’t have to be an expensive event. A little creativity will go a long way in creating a special vacation, at a much lower price!

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