10 free & cheap ideas to treat Mum on Mother's Day

Including free gift cheques, DIY spa day & cooking dinner

Mums deserve the world, but treating her this Mother's Day needn't cost it. There are many ways to show her how much you care, but at little expense. We've come up with a list of thoughtful activities so you can spend time, not money, this year including a family games night, a DIY spa day and cooking dinner. 

1. Pledge to do something nice for her

There are some things you can’t put a price on – and thoughtfulness is one of them. Our free Mother’s Day gift cheques allow you to create vouchers for Mum. All you need to do is download and print them, while signing the cheques off with your pledged act of kindness. Then when she presents it to you, do whatever it says on demand. Some ideas include washing her car, bringing her breakfast in bed, or doing some chores so she can have a well-deserved lie-in. 

2. Invite her round for dinner

Remember all those delicious home-cooked meals Mum would make for you as a child? Now’s the time to return the favour. Find a recipe with ingredients you already have at home and cook up a storm. If you’re struggling for meal ideas, you could turn to SuperCook – a recipe search engine which allows you to input the ingredients you have sat in your cupboard or fridge, then generates dishes you could make with them.

Extra points if you lay the table nicely and light a candle, too – all for ambience after all. A delicious meal, good company and not an extra penny spent either

3. Volunteer for causes she cares about

Not only something that mum will appreciate, but also something many others will get the benefit from, too. Giving your time to a cause or charity that she cares about is something you can either do together or on her behalf. Perhaps you’re spending time at a care home that’s close to your family’s heart, or walking dogs together at the local animal shelter you know she donates to every year. Whatever the cause or reason, you don’t need to spend anything – your time is a hugely valued gift.   

4. Go for a walk

Although spring officially starts the day after Mother’s Day (Monday 20 March), weather-permitting, it could be a great time to get outdoors and enjoy a walk together. Perhaps this could double up as a walk down memory lane by venturing to a place you spent your childhood together – provided travel there isn’t too costly – our cheap travel guide has a variety of helpful ways to help you cut the price of train tickets.

5. Host a family game night

Time to dust off those board games collecting cobwebs in the cupboard and get a little competitive. Scrabble, Cluedo, Battleship, Monopoly – these are all nostalgic games the whole family can enjoy together. And if you can’t all be together in-person, we’re all familiar with Zoom thanks to lockdown, so host a quiz. You could theme this around Mum and see who knows her best. 

6. Watch a film together

The cinema can be a pricey day out these days, especially if you buy a snack and a drink when you're there (although there are ways to get it on the cheap if you do fancy watching a movie on the big screen). Or instead, bring the cinema to Mum. There’s always a great selection of films on Freeview which is available to all – check the TV guide to see what’s on. Dim the lights and grab some snacks, easy. If you want to go all-out, you could even make mum a cinema ticket, too.

7. Take her to an art gallery or museum

For an experience that comes straight from the ‘art’, take Mum on a day out. Trust us, it doesn’t cost anywhere near as much as you may have initially thought to visit an art gallery or museum, as we have done the hard work for you and rounded up a whole host of museums and galleries with free entry.

8. Spend time in the garden

For green-fingered mums, there’s nothing better than spending the day in the garden, so roll up your sleeves and join her for an afternoon outside. While you could spend a little on planting some new seeds, there are plenty of jobs that need to be done in the garden for Spring that won’t cost you a thing, such as weeding, mowing the lawn and pruning existing plants. And, if Mum doesn’t have a garden, you can still enjoy a day in nature together by visiting a public garden together. You can find plenty of outdoor spaces that don't charge for entry with a quick search online.

9. Hold a DIY spa day

Mum deserves to put her feet up and relax – and she still can enjoy some much-needed R&R time with an at-home spa day. Run her a bath, create homemade face masks (mash up a quarter of a ripe avocado, one tablespoon of rolled oats and one tablespoon of raw honey, and hey presto, glowing complexion), give her a hand massage, paint her nails – the options are endless. You’ll be able to find a playlist of relaxing spa songs for free on YouTube, so you can create a relaxing ambience.

10. Look at old family photos

Get sentimental and dig out the photo albums at the back of Mum’s cupboard (see MSE Georgia-May's family throwback photo from the 90s below). Sitting down with a cuppa and looking back at fond memories is such a simple way to spend the afternoon together but it is truly priceless. You could even convert old family photos and videos into a digital format so your mum can keep them forever – a great gift that you can either do yourself, or pay a small amount to have this done professionally.