Great Last Minute Mother’s Day Gifts That Will Make Mom Happy

Shopping for last minute Mother's Day gifts can be quite pricey. Instead of putting it off, take time and buy a Mother's Day gift your Mom will enjoy.

It’s hard to believe, but Mother’s Day is just a few weeks away. If you act now then you don’t have to worry about shopping for last minute Mother’s Day gifts a few days before the big day. That said, I believe we should show mothers we love and appreciate them every day because they serve our families and societies in so many important ways.

Nonetheless, Mother’s Day is an opportunity to do something a little extra special to show Mom that you love her. Even with that intention though, it never fails for many of us that we’re trying to think up Mother’s Day gift ideas and the well is dry so to speak.

I read an article recently, from MSN, that stated that just over 18 billion dollars was spent on Mother’s Day gifts during 2012 in the U.S. alone. It also spoke about how so many of the Mother’s Day cards and Mother’s Day ecards, are bought the week of the holiday, which shows me that many are looking for last minute Mother’s Day gifts up until the last day. With that in mind, I thought I would share some of my favorite Mother’s Day gift ideas. Of course, the list is not exhaustive in nature, but meant to get the mental juices flowing.


Related: If you’re looking for other Mother’s Day gift ideas check out 5 Mother’s Day Gifts Any Mom Will Love


Think Outside the Box


Without a doubt, buying your Mom flowers or candy is a common Mother’s Day gift. Many women love getting flowers or candy as gifts and if you’re in a pinch for last minute Mother’s Day gifts, then either one will do the trick. However, what thought or time (other than the act of buying the gift) does buying such a gift take?

Is there something specific your Mom loves that she does not get to do that often? That is a great place to start. Mrs. Frugal Rules loves going to the botanical gardens here in Omaha. However, we don’t have a membership and even when we did we lacked the time to really go and allow her to enjoy it. In order to rectify that, we take her as a family on Mother’s Day as they serve a nice brunch and the cost of the brunch covers admission. We usually spend several hours there and she enjoys it immensely.

If that is not your mom’s thing, then maybe it’s candy from Amazon or lotion from The Body Shop. Try finding a local winery/chocolate facility that offers tours and I am confident it’ll be a hit with the Mom in your life.

Another option to consider is buying a Kindle Fire for your Mom if she enjoys reading or you’re looking for a cheaper, yet still quality tablet option. Amazon is my go-to source for last minute Mother’s Day gifts as you can use your Amazon Prime membership and get a gift delivered to your home in two days or less.


Related: You still have time to buy a Mother’s Day gift from Amazon. Amazon is currently offering free one-day shipping on certain Mother’s Day gifts.


Give Mom the Day Off


I’ve written about giving your wife the day off in my last minute Valentines gift post in the past and the same idea still applies in the case of last minute Mother’s Day gift ideas. This can be anything from getting her a massage to setting up a lunch/coffee date with some of her friends to simply enjoy herself.

If you’re at wit’s end of what to set up for her then you can always ask your Mom or wife what she would like to do for that day. She might surprise you by asking for something very simple or just a carefree day to do whatever she wants. In the event of that happening, I always like to buy a gift card from for my wife at the very least, to one of her favorite stores so she can go buy something she’d like to have for herself.

Many daily deal sites, like Groupon, also take advantage of those looking for last minute Mother’s Day gifts and offer specials the weeks running up to May 10, so be on the look out for those if you’re needing some help. I will sometimes use my credit card rewards points to buy purchases like this so I can stretch my budget a little further and buy a nicer gift for my wife or Mom. Also, If your Mom cooks, then one of the best last minute Mother’s Day gifts to give is to make her a nice dinner so she does not have to cook dinner, but can take it easy that night.

Put Mom at the top of the List


I think part of the hoopla surrounding Mother’s Day is that the greeting card industry has helped build up the expectations game. Don’t just follow the standard, but take time to think about your Mom or wife and listen and look for what she really wants. Do you have a “honey-do” list that she’s been adding things to? If so, look for a few things you can accomplish during the week of Mother’s Day.

Another idea is to write your own personal card as opposed to spending money on a mass produced one. A variety of online sites including traditional card-makers like Hallmark can help you do this or you can really spend some time and write out a note or a poem for her to tell her how much you appreciate her. Not only does this show her that you love her, but it also shows that you took the time to tell her so in your own way as opposed to giving in to the craze of shopping for last minute Mother’s Day gifts.

Shopping for last minute Mother's Day gifts can be quite pricey. Instead of putting it off, take time and buy a Mother's Day gift your Mom will enjoy.

Memorable Last Minute Mother’s Day Gifts


Last minute Mother’s Day gifts do not have to cost an arm and a leg to be special. As Mrs. Frugal Rules likes to say, pricey does not mean the gift is priceless. I remember when I was growing up, my Mom always loved presents that I made for her myself. I like to encourage that in our children as they get a kick out of making something for their Mom and Mrs. Frugal Rules loves receiving them.

If you’re looking for last minute Mother’s Day gifts, then think about having your children make Mom something special (if you’re married and have kids) or take the time to come up with something special that your Mom will cherish for years to come. After all, it really should come down to that and not the amount of money spent on the gift.


What kinds of things have you bought as last minute Mother’s Day gifts for your Mom? How many Mother’s Day cards do you buy? How much will you be spending on flowers for your Mom this year?



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I'm the founder of Frugal Rules, a Dad, husband and veteran of the financial services industry. I'm passionate about helping people learn from my mistakes so that they can enjoy the freedom that comes from living frugally. I'm also a freelance writer, and regularly contribute to U.S. News & World Report, Investopedia, Credit Karma and more. If you're wanting to learn how to monetize your blog, check out my blog coaching services to see how I can help you take your site to the next level.

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  • pauline says:

    We don’t do card, generally flowers or a dinner out. This year she has requested a cordless hoover so it is all taken care of :).
    I like gifts that she will spend on herself, or giving her the day off, we got her a spa and haircut once.

    • John says:

      Yea, our “cards” are ones usually made by the kids. I think gifts that a Mom will spend on herself are one of the best kinds.

  • Norwegian Mother`s day was in February (why isn`t there just one universal??), anyway, I didn`t have much money to spend, but I wanted to give her something. So I gave her a travel magazine, because she loves to travel, and I wanted to give her a source of inspiration. She loved it! It was easy, it was personal, and frugal:-)

    • John says:

      I agree, why isn’t it a universal day I imagine the greeting card industry makes more that way. 😉 The travel magazine idea sounds like a great one, especially as your Mom loves to travel.

  • Matt Becker says:

    I like the family activity approach, like your botanical gardens example. Last year was my wife’s first mother’s day, so I put together a picnic lunch and we spent some time at a local park. Nothing fancy, just a fun way to hang out as a family. Gifts can be great, but time and experiences can often be worth a lot more.

    • John says:

      That sounds like a great idea Matt! We’ve done similar things in our family and are always a hit. You’re right on, those experiences are priceless.

  • Arrrgh! Thanks for reminding me that I need to get something done…and quick!!! I’m feeling the pressure already.

  • I got really lucky this year: my wife already bought my Mom her Mother’s Day Gift! I can’t recall what it is, but I am only responsible for a card this year.

  • My mum is happy for me just to spend the day with her and to have a nice meal somewhere. I think it is more meaningful that way too without the whole commercial present giving stuff.

    • John says:

      I agree Glen. Those simple times together are generally so much worthwhile then spending all sorts of money for the commercial hoopla.

  • Great post, John. We always have our moms over for brunch, but we do it on Saturday, so that I can enjoy the “whatever mom wants” day that Rick and the kids always give me, on Sunday. It always works out wonderfully. :-)

    • John says:

      Thanks Laurie! That sounds like a great tradition, especially since you’re so close in proximity to be able to do it. :)

  • Catherine says:

    I’m excited for my first mothers day! The whole family gets together and celebrates all the moms but having the men and children cook a big brunch, i’m excited to be on the receiving end of things this year :)

  • My Mom is a tough one. I’ve sent her a variety of stuff that she never really uses. If I give her a gift card, she ends up telling me to use it when I’m there! Even though, she’d never admit it, she really likes to get flowers, so that’s what I usually do. For myself, I’m very simple this year. I want to go to Red Lobster, actually only for the cheese biscuits. I allow myself those on time a year, and Mother’s Day is a great excuse.

  • I almost forgot about mother’s day (until I read this). My mom definitely appreciates thoughtful, inexpensive gifts over big, grand gestures. Sometimes just some flowers, a card and some relaxing time off is what she needs!

    • John says:

      It’s funny how the simple gifts generally seem to do the trick. It makes it easier for me as I don’t have to rack my brains to find something grandiose.

  • Greg@Thriftgenuity says:

    I hope this doesn’t sound bad, but my mom is in love with Yankee Candles, so we stock up whenever we find the buy one get one free deals or, you can get closeouts at places like Ross. So generally, I will give her a candle and then do dinner.

    • John says:

      I don’t think there is anything wrong with that at all Greg. Why spend more when you don’t have to? I’ve done the same thing myself and it really can help stretch your gift giving budget.

  • This year is going to be a different approach for me because my wife is now a mother. I don’t know what I am supposed to do, but I better figure it out quickly. There is only one chance to set a precedent.

    • John says:

      I remember having that same feeling a couple of years ago. My suggestion is to make it fun and do something your wife enjoys. The time together is worth more than any gift you could buy.

  • Since my mom lives in Michigan I don’t really ever see her on Mother’s Day. I usually send flowers, but I’d love to send her other stuff but I know for a fact she won’t use it. I think last year I sent a recent photo of us framed. She really liked that.

    • John says:

      I am the same way Tonya as my Mom lives in Florida. I can see my mom loving a framed picture of the two of us as well – that’s a great idea!

  • Jake Erickson says:

    Thanks for the reminder! I know my mom appreciates me giving her my time more than any gift, so we’ll probably end up having my family over for dinner or something like that.

    • John says:

      Not a problem Jake! I think that’s a pretty common feeling amongst most Mom’s…at least it is for the ones in my life. :)

  • Thanks for the great ideas. I think this year, we’ll just try to go have some fun on mother day. Maybe go hiking or something easy like that. I’ll have to see if there are anything going on that day.

  • I don’t live close to my mother so I usually have to send her something. It’s usually a nice card with a gift card to her favorite shop included which she loves but this year I get to see her close enough to Mother’s Day so I will have to use some of your tips John :)

    • John says:

      I am in the same boat GMD as both my & Mrs. Frugal Rules’ Mom live far away. It’s usually a thoughtful gift or some flowers that we send.

  • We keep it pretty low-key and traditional. Breakfast in bed and so forth. Now that the girls are a bit bigger the food is … ummm…. more edible. :) I love your idea of taking your wife to the botanical gardens. I may have to steal that idea for Father’s Day. Of course, not flowers for Chris. It would probably have to a surf museum or something similar!

    • John says:

      Lol! I can relate to the edibleness of the food. Our five year old likes to help out, but left on her own, things can be interesting. :) A surf museum…that would be perfect for Mrs. Frugal Rules as she loves to surf.

  • Mackenzie says:

    I’ve only been a mommy for 3 years now, so my husband usually makes a big breakfast that day, and I love how he gets me a Mother’s Day card “from” our daughter. Very cute :)

  • anna says:

    Oh my goodness, is that your little one? So precious! I mostly give my mom and grandma flowers since they both love them, but sometimes I switch it up with a mani/pedi or spa gift certificate since they’re more useful. With my grandma, since she’s only less than two hours away, I’m doing my best to give her my time and to spend as much of it as possible with her. Happy Mother’s Day to Mrs. Frugal Rules!

    • John says:

      Ha ha…I just got scolded by Mrs. Frugal Rules. :( No, that is sadly a stock photo. I know, I took the easy way out with this post. 😉 Those sound like some great ideas, especially spending time with your grandmother.

  • Thanks for the tips John! I just remembered that I need to get my wife a mother’s day present. 😎

  • I love the idea of “Give Mom a Day Off”. Our little one is a bundle of energy, and I know a day off would be the best gift I could give! Now, need to plan how the give should be presented……maybe I’ll spell “day off” by writing on flow pedals in a bouquet? Or maybe I’ll hand her $50 and send her off to a small town where there are antique stores (she’s OBSESSED with them).

  • Since my mum is so far away I sent her a card as always but I’m sure it would mean the world to my mum to hear her son’s voice on Mother’s Day so I’ll be ringing her up.

  • My wife is making both mothers a nice gift – laundry detergent. Cheap and thoughtful, and something they’ll actually use. I hate buying gifts just to buy…

  • I went very simple this year since my wedding day is the day before Mother’s Day, but I always say you can never go wrong with a card and jewelery.

  • Alina Bentley says:

    I am very busy during this weekend and I can’t send any gift or a card to my mom for this coming Mothers day. I really like your ideas but one of my friend helped me and referenced me “Post My Greetings” an online gifting portal. I really like this website because of its good customisation features and the way they send quality cards in a perfect way.

  • Mary says:

    Me and my sisters are thinking our brains out to get something for mothers day we always get her expensive jewlery and I think she’s sick of it. We don’t want to buy her something simple or create something. So if someone can help n give me a list that would be great. Btw loved your ideas John 

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