Getting Real With Connie Solidad

Did you know Mother’s Day is the 2nd most expensive gift-giving holiday in the U.S. after the winter holiday season? Many restaurants also report it’s their busiest day of the year and telephone providers report it’s the busiest day for long distance calls as well. We all want to make Mom feel special so we usually don’t think about the cost, but this actually leads to big bills on everything from presents to a special dinner out. This year, with so many Americans still facing tight budgets brought about by the recession, how can you make Mom feel special without putting yourself in the poor house?

The tips below can help you make Mother’s Day special this year without causing problems for your finances.

  • Give gifts with meaning. Moms are pretty sentimental, especially when it comes to their families. This makes Mother’s Day the perfect opportunity to give a gift that has intrinsic meaning instead a big price tag. Handmade photo albums or family picture frames, letters or poetry, or even something that brings out your creative side like a painting or a song, all of these are great gifts for mom.
  • If you buy online, buy early to avoid high shipping costs. If you don’t think you can make something and you’re going the route of buying a gift, decide what you want to get and buy it early. Particularly considering 1 in 5 Mother’s Day gifts are now purchased online, buying early allows you to use standard ground shipping, which is often little to no cost depending on where you buy.
  • Make dinner instead of going out. Most people put enough thought into Mother’s Day to realize that Mom probably doesn’t want to cook her own special meal. However, instead of simply going out to a restaurant, why not put just as much love into making dinner plans as she does every day. Creating a special meal at home not only gets Mom out of the kitchen, it’s a good way of showing her you appreciate how much work goes into what she does.
  • Activities should be about family. Your mom doesn’t need huge extravagance to know you care, really (and she’s probably told you this before) she just wants to spend time with her family and have everyone together. Don’t go overboard trying to plan some big activity that’s going to cost a lot. Instead, consider inexpensive things that let you all have fun together. Go to the park, play in the backyard, or even just take a walk together and have a chat along the way.

As you can see above, keeping Mother’s Day costs down really involves planning, put some extra thought into whatever you decide to do in order to make the day special. Really all your mom wants is to know you put forth a little effort to show her some love. You can start making your Mother’s Day plans now to get a head start and stick to the budget you make to keep your costs down. If you do get into trouble with too much Mother’s Day expense, assess your budget immediately and make a plan to pay off the debts as quickly as possible. After all, the last thing your mom wants is to hear you need money because Mother’s Day expenses put you in a financial bind.

Connie Solidad is an expert in the field of financial planning and a contributing expert at MomsGetReal. She writes about debt management and credit counseling options and resources. When Connie is not working, she loves playing with her two dogs in Tampa, Florida. To learn more about debt management refer to ConsolidatedCredit.org.