Moms are just notoriously hard to buy for. So what are the best gifts for the frugal mom? The mom who has everything. The one who lives a more minimalist lifestyle.
These qualities can make gift giving even harder. You always want to give a gift that is thoughtful. Bonus points if it is meaningful. But really, what the heck does mom really want?!
How do you define frugal?
Dictionary.com defines frugal as “economical in use or expenditure; prudently saving or sparing; not wasteful.” Also as “entailing little expense; requiring few resources.”
So a frugal person is someone who lives simply and is intentional with their spending.
Being frugal is not the same as being cheap.
Someone who is frugal has identified their values and works to uphold them. They usually have financial goals that may be said or unsaid. And these goals always align with their values.
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So what types of gifts would a frugal mom or wife want?
A frugal mom would most likely not be happy with receiving extremely expensive gifts because she may see them as extravagant and unnecessary.
For example, everyone knows that commercial where the husband surprises his wife with a brand new car with a very large bow on it.
Now I wouldn’t turn that fancy new car down and tell my husband to take it back. But as I take in the new car smell and admire all the fancy bells and whistles that my 2005 Mazda does not have, I’d probably wonder if this was a good financial decision.
I know that most frugal people would prefer a gift that is meaningful and thoughtful, no matter how much (or how little) it costs.
Great gifts for the frugal mom or wife would include things that:
- Make life easier
- Are useful and practical
- Are aligned with her interests and hobbies
Ok, so you may be saying, “Useful and practical? Are you sure?” Yes, I am sure. And no, it doesn’t have to be a new vacuum cleaner or appliance.
Although I do have to admit that my favorite Christmas gift this past year was a new vacuum cleaner (from my parents) but that’s just me. I’m probably the only person I know who would get excited for a new vacuum cleaner. But who doesn’t love freshly vacuumed floors?!
The Best Meaningful And Thoughtful Gifts For the Frugal Mom Or Wife
All of these ideas would make a great gift for Mother’s Day, Birthdays, Valentine’s Day, Anniversaries, or as a “just because” gift.
Just make sure to have the receiver of the gift in mind when picking something out. It’s not about you and all about her.
1. A day or evening of favorites:
Plan an entire day or evening about her. Watch her favorite movie, cook her favorite meal, go to her favorite place to get ice cream. Make a list of places that she likes to go to or things that she likes to do and surprise her with a fun filled day.
2. A day planner:
For the person who loves to stay organized or who needs to get organized, a planner is the perfect gift. They make such unique and beautiful planners (like this one on Etsy) nowadays that it’s easy to find one that would make the perfect gift.
3. A journal:
For the person who likes to get their thoughts out.
Keeping a journal is not for everyone but there are many people who find it cathartic and calming. There are many different types of journals that range from your standard freehand type to the 5 minute journals with prompts that take the guesswork out of journaling.
If you are creative you could even make your own or use printables to create a journal for someone, which would be a really cheap but thoughtful gift.
4. Tea Drinkers:
Most people are tea and or coffee drinkers. And as a mother of two young kids, I can tell you that caffeine is always the answer.
For the tea lover, you can buy specialty tea and a beautiful tea cup or teapot. This brand is one of my favorites – Harts of America Tea (not an affiliate, just a fan). They are very reasonably priced with free shipping and even have a monthly subscription . And I love that they use 100% U.S. grown ingredients including many that are sourced from my home state of WA. I highly recommend the Lemon Lavender Mint – You will not be disappointed!
5. Coffee Connoisseurs:
For the coffee lover, coffee from a favorite or local coffee roaster always makes a good gift. You can also look into monthly coffee subscriptions, which would give her the fun little gift of trying different coffees every month.
And if your mom or wife has been looking for a way to make the best cup of coffee at home, I would recommend that you look into using a pour over method. It makes great coffee and does not break that bank.
6. Flowers and Plants:
No, I’m not talking about the bouquet of flowers that you pick up at the store last minute. Those bouquets are beautiful but never last very long.
Instead how about a potted plant or flowers that you can plant in your yard. Every Mother’s Day I ask for a lavender plant. It lasts for a really long time, is pretty and smells great!
Another great idea is to buy or plant herbs. They are great to keep in the kitchen for cooking and fun for the whole family to grow.
If your mom/wife definitely does not have a green thumb, but she loves having fresh herbs around, you should buy the AeroGarden. Trust me, these herbs will grow without much work at all.
And if you have little kids, it would be a great idea for them to get outside and pick flowers for mom. I love when my kids do this for me. It is so much more meaningful to know that they picked them than if they handed me a store bought bouquet of flowers.
7. Food and Wine:
There are so many options for the food and wine lover. But one that I think is a great idea is to buy a beautiful charcuterie board (Like This One On Etsy) and put it to good use. Then have fun picking out all different types of meats, cheeses, and accompaniments to display on the new board.
And don’t forget the wine. But to make the wine a little more special and personal, print out a wine label to celebrate the special day.
8. Breakfast In bed:
Isn’t this what you are supposed to “get mom” on special occasions? Yes, and it never gets old.
Well actually, I don’t literally like to eat my breakfast in bed but my husband and kids get up early, make me coffee, which I enjoy peacefully in bed, while they make breakfast.
So however you interpret this one, make sure you start that special day off right!
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9. A day to herself:
Here’s a little secret: Moms need time to themselves!
As a mom of two little ones, it is really hard to pinpoint any time during the day that I am not getting snacks, helping kids with daily activities, sitting at a tea party, reading books, being asked a million “why” questions that I have no idea the answer to, etc.
As a parent, life is BUSY. And there is definitely a reason why I call my children my little shadows. They always seem to be wrapped around my legs, sitting in my lap, or following me around the house.
If your mom, wife, or significant other can relate, then maybe they just need a little time to themselves to recharge, practice self care, or even to just go shopping, alone!
Here’s another little secret: Moms often feel guilty for taking time for themselves.
So take it upon yourself to tell her it’s OK! Give her the gift of solitude.
10. Gift basket of favorites:
Find a beautiful basket, pick a theme, and start filling it in with fun things that your mom or wife will love.
Some themes to get your started –
- Gardening – a sun hat, gardening gloves, seeds to plant, gardening equipment, etc.
- Movie Night – a streaming subscription, popcorn, a favorite beer or wine, candy, a DVD, etc.
- Breakfast – Muffins or scones, favorite coffee or tea, a specialty jam or butter, fruit, etc.
- Spa day – goat milk soap, sugar scrubs, bath salts, a good book, a beautifully scented candle, etc.
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11. Offer a service:
This is a great gift for adults to give their adult parents.
The older I get the harder it is to find that special something to give to my mom. But sometimes the gift of offering a service is the perfect gift.
If you have someone in your life who doesn’t have the time, money or resources to get a project done or to take care of the landscaping at their home, this would be a very practical but thoughtful gift.
You could help to clean their house, cook a few meals to put in their freezer, run a yard sale for them to get rid of clutter, etc. Assess what they want and need and figure out how you would be able to help.
Helping parents is something that we all do regularly but I find that parents often decline help. Unless you say that it is their “Mother’s Day gift” (or whichever holiday it may be) then they are more willing to accept it.
12. Have a theme night:
Did you and your wife or maybe your whole family take an amazing trip to Italy? Or maybe you reminisce about the time you took that road trip and stopped at that hole in the wall restaurant with the best pizza.
Take a great memory and turn it into a theme night. Relive those memories with music, food, drinks, and anything else that would make her remember that time. Hang pictures up from that vacation or watch videos that you took from that trip.
13. For the active mom:
There are a lot of great gifts for the mom who loves the outdoors or is focused on staying fit.
Some great gifts for the outdoorsy mom include a new hiking backpack, hiking shoes, travel books, a trail or road trip app, or clothing for a specific activity.
14. For the great cook:
Spending time in the kitchen can either be a love or a chore. But for those of us who love to cook, getting new kitchen gadgets and items is fun and makes us think about the next good meal that we can make.
Unless you have a new home and are just starting out, you will most likely have all of the basics in your kitchen.
So to make this type of gift unique you need to think a little bit outside of the box and find those pretty little measuring cups. Or buy the artisan smoked salt and salted honey. Find those hidden unique gadgets and ingredients that will make this gift a little more special.
An Enameled Cast Iron Dutch Oven would also make a great gift. It’s one of those things that I’d hesitate to buy for myself because of the cost but it is something that I use all the time and is a great addition to any kitchen.
Another idea is to buy a really nice farmers market bag for those that enjoy roaming the farmers market to buy their local ingredients. It allows you to forgo the plastic bags and it also makes you look really put together and fit the scene.
Lastly, there are always cookbooks. Nowadays most people look for their recipes online, but there are still some of us who enjoy holding and reading an actual book and a cookbook is no exception.
15. Coupon Book:
Did anyone else make these as a kid? We made one all the time for our parents for Mother’s Day and Father’s Day and I still think that they are a very cute gift for young kids to give.
You can have the kids get creative and make one or buy one like THIS that can be digitally customized by you, downloaded, and printed right at home (with unlimited downloads).
16. Find a specialty class:
Is there something that you know your mom or wife would love to do but she just hasn’t pulled the trigger to try? Maybe she has a hobby that she would like to pursue but doesn’t feel like she has the time or money to put into it?
This is the perfect time to create that gift for her and to let her know that it’s OK to take this time for yourself, to learn, grow, and do something that you’ve always wanted to do.
There are a lot of community and online classes offered, which just may be the perfect gift.
Some examples include classes for:
- Painting and Art
- Guitar Lessons
17. Plan a day trip:
What better gift to receive than the gift of time spent with family.
I think that this would be the perfect gift for mom on any occasion. Plan the whole day so that she can just go along for the ride and fully enjoy all of it.
A day trip can be as spendy or cheap as you want it to be. The only thing that matters is that you have mom in mind.
Some Day Trip Ideas:
- Go on a picnic
- A day at a park
- Go skiing or ice skating
- Hiking a new trail or one that you know she loves
- Go to a new winery or brewery
- Go to a festival or concert
- Take a drive through the mountains
- Visit a specialty farm where they grow flowers. Or go berry or apple picking.
- Spend a day at the beach
Final Thoughts On Finding The Perfect Gifts For The Frugal Mom
A frugal mom is intentional with her spending and would enjoy receiving a thoughtful and meaningful gift.
This doesn’t mean that she wants something that is “cheap” or free just because it’s cheap or free. But she also probably doesn’t want something that is extravagant and costly.
That being said, there is nothing wrong with spending money on a gift, as long as it is something that the receiver would really enjoy and cherish.
The purpose of gift giving is to find that special something that the receiver will truly love.
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