Shopping Last-Minute for Mom? Here Are 10 Ways to Still Stay on Budget

We've got your budget — and your status as Mom's favorite — covered.

Forgetting to pick up something for Mother’s Day can really cost you — and we’re not talking about the hot water it could land you in with Mom. Express shipping or rush flower delivery isn’t exactly cheap and hitting up the closest retailer before you hightail it to that fancy restaurant is a surefire way to overpay. That’s not so say spending beaucoup bucks on Mom is a bad thing, but we’re pretty sure she wouldn’t want you busting your budget for the big day — especially because some upcharges can be avoided.

Here are 10 ways progeny tardy to the party (and on a tight budget) can avoid overspending this Mother’s Day.

1. Skip Delivery …

Because it’s going to significantly up the amount of money you’re throwing down for Mom. Overnight shipping can easily cost $20 or more, so consider in-store pickup.

That goes for flowers, too. Most florists up the delivery charge on (and the closer you get to) prime petal days, so to avoid an upcharge, pick up an arrangement at your local grocer and deliver it to Mom yourself. (Pro tip to bank for next year: If you want to avoid paying uber-dollars for flower delivery, arrange for Mom’s bouquet to arrive early. It’ll be a nice surprise and save you a chunk of change.)

2. … Unless You’ve Got Amazon Prime

The online retail giant is currently offering free same-day and one-day shipping to prime members in over 5,000 cities and towns with qualifying orders over $35. You can check the website for full details (and to see if your city’s on the list.)

3. Shop Your Credit Card Issuer …

Issuer reward portals are known for offering bonus points, miles or cash back on seasonal purchases from their partners. We’re talking 5% back at popular brands and, better yet. 15% back on flower delivery. If you’re lucky, you’ll even find a coupon code or discount to pair with the bonus rewards you’ll ultimately receive.

Just don’t let the lure of all those rewards lead you to overspend. That’ll defeat the purpose. Plus, high credit card balances can skew your credit score. You can see where you currently stand by looking up two free scores on Credit.com.

4. … Or Use Your Rewards

If you can’t avoid going over budget, consider using credit card rewards to fund Mom’s gift. You can redeem points or cash back for a statement credit, so long as your program permits. Or trade those rewards in for a gift card Mom’ll love. Some issuers will even let you use rewards to pay for purchases directly on partner sites, like Amazon (more on the most flexible rewards credit cards here).

5. Look for Discount Gift Card Deals

Sites like Gift Card Granny and Cardpool resell gift cards at discounted rates and their offerings are pretty expansive. So whether you’re looking to give Mom a gift card or save on the night out, these marketplaces could be worth checking out.

6. Cook

Because you’re probably going to have a hard time getting a reservation at this point anyway. Make mom’s favorite food — or, if she has expensive tastes, keep it simple. We’ve got some suggestions here that’ll help you keep a holiday meal to $5 per person.

If you are committed to taking mom out, you can still find ways to save. There are some brunch alternatives that will spare you from breaking the bank — and you can also use a restaurant rewards credit card to at least get some kickbacks on a fancy meal.

7. Find Some Freebies

They’re certainly out there. From a complimentary mimosa during brunch at a DoubleTree to a gratis red velvet cake donut and small coffee at LaMar’s to a free entree with drink purchase from Hooters (yes, you read that right), plenty of places are willing to give mom a treat. Search online for deals near you. (Remember, terms apply.)

8. Hit Up the Dollar Store

You can usually find a large selection of greeting cards, wrapping paper, tags and ribbons for 99-cents or less.

9. Get Crafty

It’s the thought that counts so skip the luxury retailer and put in a little elbow grease. There are plenty of DIY Mother’s Day projects floating around Pinterest and, if you’ve got two left thumbs, check out some video tutorials on YouTube.

10. Work Your Lateness

Certain things, like flower or food delivery, are going to cost extra when you’re up against the wire, but there’s still a chance your last-minute shopping spree could pay off. Retailers with excess inventory might be inclined to offer discounts, especially on holiday-branded items. Scope out clearance sections and search online for last-minute Mother’s Day deals.

Pro tip: If you find an online-only deal, skirt high shipping fees and/or a mom-tastrophe by sending the item directly to mom’s house. Next, print out a picture of your gift and tucking that image into the greeting card you picked up at the dollar store. That way, Mom will know it’s on the way.

Happy Mother’s Day!

Note: It’s important to remember that prices for products and services frequently change. As a result, rates, fees and terms cited in this article may have changed since the date of publication. Please be sure to verify current rates, fees and terms with the company directly.

Image: PeopleImages

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