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Mothering Sunday is almost upon us (6th March) – the annual day of appreciation that many of us leave until the last minute or forget on the pretext of just not having enough time or money. If you want to make your mum feel special this year then there’s no need to spend an arm and a leg to do it – we’ve got some great Mother’s Day ideas for all budgets.
The raw ingredients of a cake – sugar, butter, flour, eggs, baking soda – can be bought for under £10 and there’s a vast amount that you can do with cakes to personalise them. Plus, there are brownie points for the effort that goes in to producing a personal cake for someone, whether you choose something basic or you go all out with a fantastical signature bake. If you need some inspiration then previous series of The Great British Bake Off have plenty to offer – all the recipes are online.
Depending on your age – and your mum’s age – this may or may not be an appropriate gift. For many of us, dealing with a mother’s inability to grasp something as simple as wireless printing, Whatsapp or an Emoji is endlessly draining, as well as something of a source of amusement. Celebrate the differences between you this year and provide your mum with tongue-in-cheek vouchers for computer assistance so that she gets a couple of hours of your time to ask all the questions that would normally be met with a frown.
For many mums (or parents in general), the biggest gift on Mother’s day might be to spend time with children who are often too busy with their own lives to hang around at home. Dedicate the entire day to be spent with your mum and have some real quality time together. Whether you do low key walks and easygoing coffees or you have a high octane adventure or some sort of culinary experience (afternoon tea, sushi making etc), the really valuable part of the day will be the togetherness so the rest you can tailor to the budget you have.
There are free attractions all over the country that you can take your mum to, from exhibitions at the National Portrait Gallery in London, to historic properties and coastal walks. Put some thought into an experience that your mum would enjoy, rather than something that you have to buy – the effort that goes in to arranging a day trip will be worth far more than a pricey bunch of flowers that anyone could have picked.
It may be that it’s your dad who does the chores in your household – or perhaps it’s equally shared. Either way, whatever it is that your mum has to do on a daily basis, from cleaning the house to doing the shopping, walking the dog, taxiing people around or doing all the cooking, give her a day off and let her put her feet up while you do it. If it’s your father who tends to take on all the household jobs then save this one for Father’s Day!
Something that busy parents often don’t get to do is develop new hobbies so give your mum the gift of activity this year. It may be that she’s been dying to learn how to do carpentry, read philosophy or perhaps she’s always wanted to try watercolour painting – most parents would never book something like this for themselves but receiving it as a gift is a different matter. There’s a huge number of courses to choose from wherever you are – for example, in London the range of Citylit courses covers a huge number of activities and topics. You can also find discounts and deals on courses on voucher code websites, such as Groupon.
If you’re convinced that only flowers will do on Mother’s Day then buying seasonal flowers is much less expensive than ordering a ready made bouquet of exotic, imported flowers from a florist – you could even pick flowers yourself from areas where it’s ok to do so. Daffodils are the perfect spring offering and pretty cheap too, and freesias, alstromeria, gerbera and cornflowers should cost you much less than other less seasonal options and still look as bright, cheerful and beautiful as a more expensive bunch.
If you want to make sure your mum has a great mother’s day this year then there are a few easy – and free – ‘don’ts’ to avoid. Don’t buy a gift with her money, don’t have a family fight at lunch, don’t overspend so you spend the day anxious, don’t buy something mundane (such as tea towels) and most important of all…don’t forget!
Alex Hartley is a keen advocate of improving personal finance skills. She's worked at Solution Loans since 2014 and written hundreds of articles about how people can manage their money better. Her interest in personal finance goes way back to...Read about Alex Hartley
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