50 Mother's Day Gifts She'll Love for $50 or Less

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SHOW MOM YOU CARE

It's nice to show the moms in your life how much you care all year long, but it's especially important on Mother's Day. For some, finding the right gift is a walk in the park. For others, it can be an annual rite of consternation, with hours spent in search of the perfect present. If you're in the latter camp, here are some ideas for heartfelt gifts under $50 -- from you or from the kids.

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HANDMADE APRON

A personalized apron makes a perfect sentimental yet functional gift for mom or grandma. Children can decorate a plain canvas apron from a craft store ($6.50 at Michaels) using fabric paint or fabric markers (about $10 for a multicolored pack).

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PAINTED POTTERY

Head to a local pottery-painting studio for a handmade gift or a fun activity to do together. One studio chain charges kids a $7 fee, while the adult fee is $10, and pottery pieces start at about $12. The studio provides all the necessary supplies and glazes, fires, and packages decorated pieces.

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GARDEN KIT

Help mom get a jump start on her garden this year. Get a seed starter kit (from about $6 at Home Depot) and some seeds (starting at less than $2). Start them for her for presenting on Mother's Day. Then offer to spend the day with her putting them in the ground.

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MAGAZINE SUBSCRIPTION

Nurture an interest in a topic or hobby with a magazine subscription. For a cheap Mother's Day gift that keeps giving month after month, buy a subscription using discount sources such as Amazon, where many titles start at $5 and others are less than $20. Some sites offer bundled deals for two or three magazines at once, so you don't have to choose one pastime over another.

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TECHNOLOGY LESSON

Spend time helping a tech-challenged mom become tech-savvy. If she has a computer or mobile device, teach her how to use a video chat service such as Skype or FaceTime. Help her join the social-networking world by setting up a Facebook page or Instagram account. She'll be grateful to discover new ways to keep in touch with old friends and lost relatives -- not to mention you.

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GOURMET TEA

Tea is more than a coffee alternative; it's a ritual, providing time to sit back, relax, and enjoy a cup of comfort. As one of the world's most popular beverages, tea comes in countless varieties, with many gourmet options for less than $20. Peach oolong from Art of Tea is a tasty blend that comes in a handsome tin for $10.

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PHOTO ALBUMS

Dig up old family photos from the attic to give mom two gifts in one. Ditch the shoeboxes and organize the years into comprehensive photo albums (starting at about $7 on Amazon). Mom will cherish the gift, which can be passed down through the generations, and appreciate the tidying at least as much.

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SLIPPERS

This practical gift shows mom you're thinking about her comfort. With thousands of options on Amazon under $25, you should be able to find a pair of slippers that suits her style, be they floral, furry, or funky.

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FLOWERS

Flowers are a good gift for a small budget because they're all about the gesture. A nice hand-delivered bouquet from the grocery store is just as appropriate as an expensive arrangement sent from a florist. Similarly, simple potted flowers (starting at about $5) will brighten the day just as much as a pricey bouquet -- and last longer.

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BREAKFAST IN BED

A classic gift for young kids to give mom, the effort of preparing breakfast and bringing it to mom in bed is sure to make her smile. It doesn't matter if the toast is burned and the coffee is weak if the family is going out to brunch anyway.

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HOUSECLEANING

A good option for teenagers and young adults, this labor of love is a surefire way to show mom some appreciation for all the work she's done over the years. Save her a few hours of chores or a few bucks on a cleaning service by catching up on laundry, dusting, and other housecleaning. It's time and money she can spend on herself.

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SCENTED CANDLE

This is a simple and inexpensive gift that provides hours of aromatherapy and sensual indulgence. Pier 1 offers a broad selection of candles in different sizes, scents, and colors to match her style and your budget (starting at less than $1).

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TIME AND MEMORIES

Interview your mom or grandmother for StoryCorps, a nonprofit that encourages people to record oral history. Many mothers would be thrilled to spend time reminiscing with their children. There are StoryBooths in Atlanta, Chicago, and San Francisco; a MobileBooth that travels to 10 cities and towns each year; and an app to walk you through the process from anywhere. Mom will always remember the conversation, and you might learn something about your family history.

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LUXURY SOAP

A simple gift of luxury soap can encourage a mom to take a little time for herself. Go for something that will pamper the skin and leave her feeling beautiful, such as Dead Sea mud soap ($5 from Walmart).

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CHOCOLATE-COVERED STRAWBERRIES

Who doesn't love a little sweet indulgence? Chocolate-covered strawberries can be found for a few dollars apiece at a local chocolate shop. Or, get more bang for the buck by dipping fresh strawberries in chocolate melted in a double boiler. Let them cool on wax paper in the fridge for a few hours and present them in a box with tissue paper.

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MUSIC MIX

Many moms are too busy to explore the world of new music. Whether you introduce her to some interesting musicians or make an old-school mix of classics, she will appreciate the effort and think of you every time she plays the mix. There are lots of options for making a music mix, from CDs to Spotify.
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HERB PLANT

Head to the hardware store and pick out a nice herb plant in a pot, even if it's a small one. A simple oregano or basil plant is a beautiful gift that can provide years of culinary contributions.
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HANDWRITTEN CARD

This is one of the least expensive and most expressive gifts you can give. Use this opportunity to tell mom in writing why she's so special. Share some memories of when she taught you important life lessons or was there for you in ways you'll never forget.

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CUSTOMIZED STAMPS

Use personal photos to create one-of-a-kind postage stamps, which can be used to send letters and postcards. This is a fun gift that mom will love to show off and share with friends. Sites such as Zazzle offer packages starting at just under $20.

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MATINEE MOVIE

Take an afternoon off and steal mom away from the everyday routine with a daytime movie -- her choice, of course. After so many years of paying the tab, she'll appreciate the gesture of one of her children taking her out, even just to a movie.

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'BEST MOM' CERTIFICATE

This is a cute way for children to show mom (or grandma) she deserves an award. With many free templates online, kids can design and print out the one that best fits their mom's special qualities. Present it with as much pomp and circumstance as possible.

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HOME-COOKED DINNER

For a mom who has prepared countless dinners for the family over the years, this is a good opportunity to return the favor. Something as simple as spaghetti with marinara sauce and garlic bread can be the best meal she will eat all year, because her family made it with love.

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CHARITABLE DONATION

Rather than giving another material possession, choose a charity that reflects mom's interests and make a donation in her name. Even if it's just a small amount, she'll be touched and proud of how well she raised you.

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HOMEMADE BATH SALTS

While fancy bath products can cost well over $20, this DIY trick uses simple ingredients to create a pure and luxurious gift for about $5: Combine 2 cups of Epsom salt, a half cup of baking soda, and 4 tablespoons of dried lavender flowers, then store in a glass jar. Add a bow and it's a homemade aromatherapy bath soak she will love.

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SCENTED MIST OR BATH SPRAY

Inexpensive perfumes and body fragrances are often low quality, but body mists and bath sprays are considerably less expensive, even for good quality. The organic line from Nature's Paradise comes in a wide range of scents for $15.

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VINTAGE TRINKET

Take kids to a thrift store or flea market to scour the bric-a-brac and find something that suits mom or grandma. A simple porcelain heart or glass animal costs just a few dollars, but when given with love, it can quickly turn into a precious token with sentimental value.

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WREATH

A nice spring- or summer-themed wreath is easy to make and very cost-effective. At the local craft store, a wire wreath frame starts at about $3 and burlap ribbon costs about $6. Other supplies include pipe cleaners ($1) and any embellishments you may want. An initial for mom's last name (starting at $4) or clip-on spring flowers (about $4) make perfect wreath additions.

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PICNIC

The gift of time never gets old. Pack a picnic for Mother's Day and head to the local park. The meal can be as simple or as gourmet as you want it to be. Be sure to grab a blanket and sunscreen, too, and clear your schedule so you have ample time to enjoy the food and conversation.

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FRAMED PHOTO

An elegant photo frame costs just a few dollars at a thrift or discount store. Rifle through old family photos or use a current favorite and frame it for mom. She'll think of you every time she sees it.

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FAVORITE THINGS

Show mom how well you know her by putting together a basket of her favorite things. If she's a fitness fanatic, grab an infinity headband (starting at about $6 at Dick's Sporting Goods), a new reusable water bottle, fitness socks, and maybe even a workout tank (starting at $13 at Target). Package these items neatly in a basket for a unique gift for less than $50.

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MANI/PEDI PACK

A bottle of nail polish from the popular OPI brand costs $10 or less at Target. Select a few colors mom will like, grab a buffer (less than $2), and a nail file (about $3) and package them in a mason jar for a DIY mani/pedi set.

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BEACH/POOL GEAR

Mother's Day means pool/beach season is near. Help mom get prepped with a new beach bag (starting at $10 at Target) filled with gear. Slip in some sunscreen, a new beach towel (starting at about $10), and flip-flops (starting at $4 at Old Navy). She'll be decked out and ready to hit the waves.

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HEART-SHAPED PICTURE COLLAGE

A heart-shaped picture collage from Minted incorporates 30 pictures to create a keepsake mom will treasure. Prices start at $29 for an 8-inch square print. Spend a little more and have it framed; the cost still won't exceed $50.

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A GOOD BOOK

You can't go wrong with a good book -- or with Oprah Winfrey. A 240-page collection of her columns culled from O, The Oprah Magazine gets rave reviews on Amazon and costs less than $15 for a hardcover copy. Click on Amazon's Best Books of the Month feature for more selections, or visit a local bookstore and ask for suggestions.

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BOWLING

Take mom bowling with the family. A recent Lowell, Massachusetts, Groupon offered two hours of bowling for up to four people for $33. Local lanes also may have specials. A trip to the bowling alley is sure to make for a fun and entertaining Mother's Day.

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COFFEE

What mom doesn't love (or need) coffee -- especially with young children? Put her kids' mugs on a mug (from about $13 on Snapfish). Couple this photo gift with some fresh-ground gourmet coffee or a gift card to her favorite coffee shop.

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JOURNAL

Pick up a nice journal where mom can jot down her innermost thoughts. You can personalize the cover with photos on Shutterfly, where $20 buys a 6-by-8-inch journal with 150 pages.

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SALON PEDICURE

Treat mom to an hour alone getting her feet and toes ready for sandal season. Many salons offer pedicures for $50 or less. Trim the cost a bit by searching for coupons and deals online, on grocery receipts, or in coupon packs in the mail.

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ADULT COLORING BOOK

The biggest trend in crafting is coloring for adults. Get mom set up to try this relaxing, therapeutic hobby with supplies from Michaels, where adult coloring books and packs of colored pencils each start at $5.

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ESSENTIAL OILS RELAXATION KIT

Give mom a treat of relaxation, stress relief, and cleansing. An essential oils starter kit with lavender, tea tree, eucalyptus, lemongrass, sweet orange, and peppermint oils ($16 on Amazon) promises all those things, and will leave her house smelling fresh and clean.

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WINE

If mom enjoys the occasional glass of wine, a bottle or two makes a great gift. Cheapism.com has rounded up 24 recommended wines under $10. For an added surprise, throw in a set of stemless wine glasses, such as a Riedel set for $25 on Amazon.

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INDOOR PLANT

For a mom who doesn't have space for an outdoor garden, or simply doesn't want to mess with gardening outside, opt for an easy-to-care-for indoor plant. Some good choices include aloe plants, ficus, peace lilies, and rubber plants. A quick search online pulls up aloe for $11, peace lilies for $17, ficus for $30, and rubber plants for $33 at Home Depot.

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PERSONALIZED PHONE CASE

Head to a photo site such as Snapfish to put together a personalized phone case with one of mom's favorite pictures for $40.

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BATHROBE

Give mom a lightweight bathrobe for spring. Retailers offer lots of choices for less than $50, such as a Jockey cotton robe from Kohl's ($33 on sale). That's less than you'd likely spend on flower delivery, and she'll get more use out of it.

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CAR DETAILING

Most busy moms, especially those with young children, know how much gunk can accumulate in the car. Under the car seats is a whole school of fish crackers, not to mention other lost items and fingerprints on everything. Professional car detailing can run $50 to $150 or more, but the cost can be minimized by looking for a deal on general interior cleaning at a local car wash, then doing the detailing yourself.

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A DAY OF SLEEP

No, really, this is not a joke. Moms who take care of everyone and everything sometimes need to rest up. Get a pillow and a blanket, roll them up, and present them to mom with a pass to sleep all day. What parent wouldn't enjoy that gift?

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FAMILY BIKE RIDE

Warm weather is just setting in by Mother's Day in many parts of the country, and what a perfect excuse to dig out the bikes and helmets and organize a family bike ride. Pack a picnic lunch and make a day of it.

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STICKY NOTE SURPRISES

Remind mom how special she is by writing little sticky notes and placing them all over the house. Anywhere she looks, make sure she sees one: the bathroom mirror, a kitchen cabinet, her spot at the table, in a dresser drawer, etc. Tell her what you love about her, your favorite things to do together, and more.

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JEWELRY ORGANIZER

Regardless how much jewelry mom has, help her organize it with a jewelry tree or tray. Check out Umbra storage options with a modern twist -- many are less than $50.

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HAMMOCK

May is a beautiful time of year to hang out in the yard and relax in a hammock with a good book. Amazon, Wayfair, Walmart, and Dick's Sporting Goods have good options for less than $50. If mom doesn't have a yard or trees for hanging a hammock, a portable chair could be just the gift for her to take to the park, to the beach, or on a day trip.