Our Yearly Mother's Day Celebration Costs $0. Here's How We Pull It Off

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  • Many people I know spend hundreds of dollars on Mother's Day.
  • My preferred activity is to spend the day in nature, which doesn't cost a penny.

Some people find the idea of Mother's Day overwhelmingly cheesy. But as a mom who works really hard to take care of and provide for her kids, I appreciate the acknowledgement of the tough job at hand. And I'm all about dedicating a Sunday in May to celebrate moms and the work they do.

But one thing I don't believe in is spending a fortune on Mother's Day. So my family doesn't. Instead, we've adopted a tradition that pretty much costs us no money at all.

There's no need to overspend on Mother's Day

In 2022, Mother's Day expected spending reached a record high of $31.7 billion, according to the National Retail Federation. And I know a lot of people who commonly go all-out for Mother's Day, racking up multi-hundred-dollar tabs on their credit cards to go out for an expensive brunch or dinner.

My family's traditional Mother's Day celebration looks a little different. Rather than go out for a meal, we grab food from our kitchen and spend the afternoon hiking and picnicking in the woods. My kids like to each pick -- and pack -- a snack they think I'll enjoy, and my husband makes sandwiches and other things for lunch so I don't have to do it myself.

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Now, if you want to get technical, since we have to pay to replace the food we're eating on our hike and picnic, and since we have to spend a touch of money on gas to get to a hiking trail, I guess our Mother's Day celebration doesn't exactly cost nothing. But since hiking is free, the cost of gas is minimal since we have trails near our home, and the food is coming from already-purchased items in my pantry and fridge, I think it's fair to say that we do a good job of pulling off a no-spend Mother's Day.

Just because we can afford to spend more doesn't mean I want to

Because I do my best to maintain a frugal lifestyle, my family is reasonably comfortable and we have a decent amount of money in our savings account. So if I wanted to have us spend a few hundred dollars to celebrate Mother's Day, we could swing it easily without landing in debt or having to compromise by cutting another expense. Rather, I don't feel the need to celebrate the day any other way.

Hiking is one of my favorite activities, and being in nature is something that soothes me. Meanwhile, high on my list of dislikes are crowded restaurants, so a picnic lunch is far more appealing than an expensive brunch in a loud cafe.

Plus, the hiking and picnic option allows me to bring my dog along. And trust me when I say that he tends to command just as much of my time and attention as my children.

All told, I'm really happy with how my family celebrates Mother's Day. And the fact that it doesn't happen to cost us anything is really just icing on the cake.

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