The cheapest gifts you can buy Mom without breaking her heart

Margaret Aery May 6, 2013

Whether it’s a dozen roses, a new necklace or a shiny new iPad, consumers are planning to pamper moms this Mother’s Day. 

According to a survey by the National Retail Federation, shoppers will spend an average $168.40 this year, up 11 percent from last year’s $152.52.


But with Mother’s Day just around the corner, time to pick up the perfect present is running out. And unless you’re careful, you could wind up paying a fortune to retailers who are trying to cash in.

So before you rush to the florist or head to the department store, you might want to think more like a mom yourself — and be practical. A dozen roses might be a pretty way to show your appreciation, but in the week leading up to Mother’s day they could also cost you 20 to 50 percent more than normal.

So where can you spend your money and impress Mom with your bargain-hunting? has compiled a list of where to find the best deals before and after the holiday. Over the past year, they tracked price changes from top retailers to determine when the price of popular gift items were at their highest and lowest. Here’s a summary of what they found:

What to Buy Now Through Mother’s Day:

If your mom is an accessories fan, then you’re in luck. Brand name handbags, wallets and shoes are all much more affordable the month before Mother’s Day than any other time of the year. And if you shop at the right stores (Macy’s, Bloomingdale’s, Amazon and Zappos for wallets) and look for the right brands (Fry, Tory Burch and Cole Haan for shoes), you can expect to save anywhere from 20 to 25 percent or up to $45.

Fine jewelry is also a good bet and a great way to save — if it’s in your price range. To get a nice necklace, bracelet or pair of earrings, you might have to spend $500 to $1,000, but you could save around $150 if you shop now at well-known department stores like Macy’s, Bloomingdale’s and Nordstrom.

For tech-savy moms, tablets are also a great way to go. Savings on models including the iPad Mini, Samsung Galaxy Note and Amazon Kindle Fire range from $20 to $60 right now.

What to buy after Mother’s Day:

Of course, if you can wait to buy until after Mother’s Day — without upsetting your mom — then you’ll find all kinds of great deals.

Laptops are best to buy during the summer months of June and July or after the back-to-school season is over. Sporty items like sunglasses, watches and athletic shoes are also much more affordable in the fall.

And if you wait a few days to go to the florist, you could save up to 50 percent on flowers. Sending your Mom a dozen roses a week after Mother’s Day might not make you the favorite child, though.

Click here to see the full study by

There’s a lot happening in the world.  Through it all, Marketplace is here for you. 

You rely on Marketplace to break down the world’s events and tell you how it affects you in a fact-based, approachable way. We rely on your financial support to keep making that possible. 

Your donation today powers the independent journalism that you rely on. For just $5/month, you can help sustain Marketplace so we can keep reporting on the things that matter to you.