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My Mother's Day Gift Ideas: Cheap,Yet Priceless

Home made picture frame via Jeff Yeager

Call me "old fashioned," or just "cheap." But there's definitely a wonderful connection between many old-school ways and frugality, even for those of us who didn't learn that by living through the Great Depression.

I was struck by that fact yet again when I saw a survey from, a leading online shopping site, about people's anticipated shopping plans for Mother's Day.

I guess the good news - in terms of people not going too far overboard on spending - is that most people surveyed (62%) said they planned to "stick to a budget" and spend under $100 on Mother's Day gifts. However, 20% said they planned to spend between $100 and $249 and 8% planned on spending $250 or more! Trust me, my Mom would need to be hospitalized for OSS ("Over Spending Syndrome") if she knew one of her kids spent that much.

Maybe not surprisingly, "flowers" were the top gift choice for mom (43%), which got me to thinking about how many packets for my Mom's favorite Zinnia seeds I could buy her for only a few dollars. Since she loves to garden, growing them herself would be so much more fun than receiving an expensive bouquet. Heck, for that price, I could even afford to throw in a new garden trowel.

About 22% said they planned on giving a card as their gift to mom this year. That seems like a thoughtful and reasonable gift to me, particularly since you can usually find greeting cards two for $1 at most dollar stores. After all, it's the thought that counts.

The survey also showed that 13% of respondents said they planned on giving their mothers a high-tech gift, like a smartphone or tablet. But even if I wanted to spend that much, it's a non-starter for my Mom, who's never used a computer in her life and still owns a rotary-style phone. And I love her all the more because of it.

I started feeling even older - and cheaper - when I read in the survey that this year more than half of all consumers will buy their Mother's Day gifts online, and 5% will do their shopping via a "mobile device" - something I've never owned myself. Like mother, like son, I guess.

I was comforted to learn, though, that I'm actually ahead of the curve when it comes to timing. According to the survey, most consumers will shop for their mom's gift just one week prior to Mother's Day.

Last winter when I visited my parents at their home, I noticed that the old family toboggan had finally crashed into one too many trees. Dad had broken it up to use as firewood. I smuggled a few pieces of the wood home with me and used it to make this simple picture frame. I think it looks pretty nice with this picture of my parents in it.

It comes much more from the heart than from the wallet.

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Photo courtesy Jeff Yeager

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