The Frugal Mother’s Day Special

Hi Everybody!  This Sunday is Mother’s Day (May 14th).  It’s a special day for Mom’s around the world…well at least for all good Mom-fearing folk out there.

Usually this ‘holiday’ is celebrated by offerings of breakfast-in-bed, flowers, gifts, dinner-out, and perhaps a day at the spa.  You know — spending a bunch of money on Mom…

Frugal Moms are a little different though.  Mothers on their way to financial independence aren’t interested in how much money you can spend.  Finding financial independence is mostly about saving money after all.

All Moms love the pampering and appreciation, but Frugal Mom’s don’t really want you spending extra money that could instead be invested in buying financial freedom.

So how do we give Mom an extra special day without spending a bunch of hard-earned money?  I’ll tell you how — The secret is in the surprise.  Doing something a little different will create a more profound and lasting memory for your Mother than spending a bunch of money.

This year I’m going to revisit all the usual Mother’s Day tropes, and show you how to do them in the best FU-style…  (Frugal Unusual)



Who doesn’t love breakfast in bed?  Frankly, for most Moms not making breakfast (or cleaning it up) is a bigger deal than where she actually ends-up eating it.

Certainly, you COULD take Mom out for breakfast, but those long restaurant lines and expensive-yet-crappy breakfast places won’t go a long way to impressing Mom.  That’s a different kind of FU-style if you ask me.

Instead, try making Mom a breakfast that’s a little different.

Most great breakfasts use eggs, and Master Youtube Chef “How to Make Sushi” shows us 10 wonderful egg tricks that are certain to impress Mom this Mother’s Day:

Any of those egg tricks would qualify as frugal and unusual!

Next up are the typical breakfast pancakes — A staple of both family breakfasts, and Mother’s Day.

Moms love pancakes, but she’s probably already eaten millions of them.  But has she tried Japanese Super-Fluffy Pancakes?  Unless she’s Japanese, I doubt it.

Make these fluffy pancakes for a delicious surprise!

Don’t have those ring molds that fancy restuarants use?  Just use aluminum foil wrapped into a ring.  Ring molds work best, but aluminum foil works in a pinch.

Hey Cheesy Finance — The challenge is set!  Make some of these Japanese Fluffy Pancakes for Mom this Sunday!



OK, let’s be really honest here.  Moms love getting flowers.  But buying flowers isn’t what Frugal Moms really want … even though they’d still love it.

So don’t do it!  Don’t spend money on flowers! Go outside and collect some!  It’s spring in the Northern hemisphere, and there are literally flowers everywhere.    Gather some flowers and then cut and arrange them nicely in a mason jar…

flowers in mason jar
A simple mason jar filled with flowers you collect. This is what a Frugal Mom really wants.

Don’t have a mason jar?  Use a coffee mug.  Nothing says “I love you Mom” like flowers in mason jars or a coffee mug.  Why?  It’s humble.  This reminds Mom that it’s not about the money you spend, but the love that you give.

If you don’t live someplace with flowers (or you just want to be different), I highly recommend making an edible bouquet.  Pins and Things shows us how to make this awesome (yet frugal) edible arrangement:

If you’ve ever purchased an edible bouquet like this before, you’ll know they are outrageously expensive!

Doing-it-yourself with fruit from the fridge, and skewers definitely won’t break the bank!

Heck, even if you have to purchase a little fruit, it’s not like fruit is that expensive.  If you don’t have those cool flower cookie cutters, just use Halloween or Christmas cookie cutters.  It’ll be absolutely hilarious, I promise.


Spa Time

A spa gift certificate is another great way to pamper your Mom, but that doesn’t exactly fit with our frugal ethos.  Instead, let’s make use of what we have already have — two hands and a brain to learn with!

You can give Mom a massage without spending a dime!  Foot massages are especially appreciated by hard working Moms everywhere.  Her feet get TIRED.  Don’t know how to give a proper food massage?  Massage Sloth provides an outstanding tutorial on the subject:



Most Mothers do more than their fair share of the cooking.  It can get tiring, and this is why buying Mom dinner-out is extremely popular on Mother’s day.

Even if the Mom in your life doesn’t cook, taking her out for dinner on a holiday is fraught with problems.  Everyone else (and their Mother) is going to be going out for dinner too.  The lines will be long, and the final bills will be large.

So avoid all that nonsense!  Do it FU-style!  Make Mom dinner-at-home instead.  You could prepare her delicious-yet-frugal sushi, or how about a fancy seafood dinner?  Slow-cooker chicken taco’s might be a great idea, paired with homemade roasted salsa.

There’s no reason why you can’t impress Mom by cooking at home.  Just cook something a little different than usual…something she might never cook for herself.  Then, make it extra special with a beautiful garnish.

How to Make Sushi provides instructions on how to make an incredibly beautiful tomato rose garnish:

What Mom wouldn’t love that with dinner?

If tomato roses aren’t your thing, How To Make Sushi has tons of incredible garnishes. — Seriously, this guy is really good.



For some reason gifts are always popular on Mother’s Day.  As if a present could make up for the pain of birthing you!  Ha!

Frankly, most Moms don’t need more stuff.  They’ve got loads of stuff.  Your Mom has probably saved every art project, and play-dough handprint you’ve made since kindergarten.  She’s got tons of it.  It’s all in a box up in the attic somewhere.

More stuff isn’t what Mom needs…. but all mothers wouldn’t mind having a updated family photo.

Gather everyone together when Mom isn’t around and take the photo.  Use a tripod and the best camera you have.

Then, either print it on some nice photo paper, or have it done professionally (follow this link for 20% off any Amazon Prints order).  Put it in a classic photo frame, and she’ll cherish it forever.

pip photo
Bonus points if you put yourself in a large picture frame when you take the photo. For some reason, this is kindof dorky/cool right now.


Final Thoughts

Just remember, Mom doesn’t really need you to spend money to let her know that you love her.   Especially if she’s a Frugal Mom on the road to financial independence!  Mom’s like financial freedom too you know!

I hope you enjoyed these Frugal Unusual Mother’s Day ideas.  It’s entirely possible to make this Mother’s Day special without spending a dime — just remember my keys to making something memorable:  Surprise, and Being Different.

Combine those two elements with a little personal effort, and you can make this Mother’s Day one she’ll remember.  I guarantee it!

How will you celebrate Mother’s Day this year?  By spending mountains of cash, or DIYing it the whole way?


[Image Credit: Flickr0Proflowers, Flickr2]

9 thoughts on “The Frugal Mother’s Day Special

  • May 12, 2017 at 7:06 PM
    Permalink rarely fail to crack me up. ‘As if a gift makes up for the pain of child birth”

    One of the advantages of having had a few restaurant jobs before my professional career is that is causes you to want to have nothing to do with them on Holidays. Waiting for hours, the kitchen slammed, babies crying…who wants that?

    After being a mom for 20 years, my favorite gifts have been meals cooked from scratch(all kids learn to cook in my house m or f) and time spent with them. We have had years where one kid hit a home room(yes I cried), other year we had basketball games, when we lived in Hawai’i we went to the beach.

    The time spent is what counts…that is why I had them=).

  • May 12, 2017 at 8:01 PM

    Great list! Oh and also, what about a frequent flyer points?

    Love the idea of fluffy Japanese pancakes. Maybe frequent flyer points for a trip to Japan, a coupon for AirBnb, and fluffy homemade Japanese pancakes. Best Japanese themed mother’s day ever…at the lowest cost!

  • May 12, 2017 at 8:53 PM

    The best gift you can give is a gift you made with your own hands (c) my daughter You don’t need to spend money, or as minimum you don’t need to spend a lot of money on a gift. What’s more important is to show your love and appreciation.

    My daughter and I we made some postcards, it was fun making it together
    Friendly Russian recently posted…What about emergency fund?

  • May 15, 2017 at 4:44 AM

    I got lucky and was able to fly home to Chicago (from Phoenix) on the company dime since I’m working in Chicago this week. Rather than fly in on Monday I got the luxury of flying in on Sunday to surprise mom who didn’t even know I would be in state let alone surprising her on mothers day. I called on my way just like I would on a normal mothers day away from home, chatted, and then surprised her about 15 minutes after I got off the phone. Nothing makes mom cry more than unexpected surprises 🙂

  • May 15, 2017 at 8:12 AM

    Thanks for the egg link. Mrs. RB40 loves egg and I’ll make some of these for her. She’ll love it.
    For Mother’s Day, we didn’t do much. We took her out to dinner on Friday.
    I took Junior shopping on Sunday so she had a few hours to herself. That’s the best present. 🙂

  • May 16, 2017 at 8:21 PM

    I enjoyed the egg video.
    My brother got mom a necklace for Christmas and unfortunately the chain broke so I got her a replacement for Mother’s day. She got to try on a few for length & I have had a chain from the store for a few years so I know it will last.


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