How to Save Money on Mother’s Day

Family-oriented holidays always cost money.  You are expected to show your love by spending money on those you love. And while a sincere expression of sentiment is well-deserved, we want to curtail the financial excess of the businesses that gouge consumers over these special occasions. After all, some holidays were created by businesses to increase their sales anyway.

A picture of a Mother's Day greeting.
Can you celebrate Mother’s Day, save money, and not feel cheap? Yes.

Mother’s Day is a modern tradition for the United States, having started in the early 20th century by Anna Jarvis of Grafton, West Virginia, when she memorialized her own dear departed mother. Miss Jarvis and her sister Ellsinore quickly became disenchanted with the commercialization of Mother’s Day because, in their view, you should not be honoring your mother by sending her a greeting card. They spent their entire inheritance opposing the commercial exploitation of Mother’s Day and died in poverty. Neither sister, sadly, ever married or knew the joys of being mothers themselves.

Although the commercial powers seem to have won the war, the truth is that many people now live far away from their parents and it is common for families to try to come together around Mother’s Day to renew their bonds of love and communion. Doing so may entail considerable expense including travel costs, hotel accommodations, dining out, and other special activities.

So in the spirit of this fantastic list of unusual ideas for Mother’s Day, here are a few tips on how you can show Mom how special she is and save money, too.

Buy Discount Restaurant Cards If you have a membership in a wholesale shopping club like BJ’s, CostCo, or Sam’s Club then you can save up to 30% at some of the nicer restaurants buy purchasing gift cards through these clubs. Call ahead to make sure they will honor the cards on Mother’s Day (May 11, 2014) before you invest money in these discount offers.

Buy Discount Entertainment Cards Also available to wholesale shopping club members are an array of discount cards for regional theme parks, theaters, and tourist attractions. You may be able to save up to 40% on some thematic entertainment for the family by scouring these clubs’ Websites for their attraction discount cards.

Split the Cost with Family Get together with your relatives to share costs for special trips and dinners. You may be able to find a nice family restaurant that will accommodate a large party for a discounted menu (beware the mandatory gratuity for service, which is now 18% at most places). Maybe Golden Corral is not the right place for a family gathering on Mother’s Day, but some steakhouses are excellent gathering places for relatives who mostly live out of town.

Use Travel Discount Websites Whether you drive or fly home to visit Mom, check your options for hotels and flights at popular online discount sites like Hotwire, Priceline,, et. al. These companies get such great deals by purchasing blocks of rooms and seats in advance in bulk, or by negotiating referral fees. You want to stay at 3-star hotels if you can, but some 2-star hotels — if recently renovated and located near middle-class neighborhoods — can be quite comfortable.

Alternatively, you may be able to join a hotel travel plan and book many nights for your relatives on one plan. This is a quick way of racking up points. You may be able to rent 3-start hotel rooms for $80/night or less, depending on the chain, location, and special offers. But you’ll want to book your rooms as soon as possible before they fill up. Look for Executive Suites and also see if any new locations are opening; they may have special discounts within the 1st month of opening.

Find the Least Expensive Gas in Any Area Maybe you only buy gas at a wholesale shopping club but if you use the GasBuddy Website you’ll see what prices consumers have been paying at each town you drive through. Be careful to check out the neighborhoods via wifi before driving into strange areas. Where you stop for gas is something you can plan in advance of starting your road trip.

Pay Off a Credit Card by May 4 If you’re going to use a credit card for your Mother’s day celebration then pay it off first at least a week before that special day comes. That way you’ll be able to repay the credit card company within 30 days and avoid any interest on the charges you run up. If you have a card that offers a rebate then plan around using that card. Let the bank pay you money instead of you paying the bank money.

We want to be frugal with our money but sometimes you need to put family first. So when those special days come around make the best choices possible for how to spend your money. If Mom loves saving money herself she’ll appreciate the wise options you chose to honor her.