Of the thousands of Canadians facing mounting debt and diminishing income, some make the wise choice to establish a strict personal budget, cutting expenses to the bone to help them solve their debt problems. Sticking to such a budget is not an easy thing to do, and at no time is it harder to remain faithful than during a holiday.
Let’s face it, in an age when personal success is often measured in terms of dollars and cents, it is logical that the degree of affection we have for a family member or friend is often measured by the price tag of the gifts we give them.
Mothers Day is upon us and Canadians from coast to coast are staring at pricey bits of jewelry or extravagant bouquets of flowers with the unsettling knowledge they really cannot afford these gifts. But ah, there is always the plastic. Simply say “Charge it” and we can adequately express our deep affection for Mom right now and pay for it later. Only later often never comes.
It is easy to rationalize the expense in the belief we can make up for it in the coming months. But what about next month? Now the guilt you felt for being unable to buy something of value for Mom shifts to guilt over a Father’s Day gift. And then there are summer vacation expenses and back to school expenses and on and on until we reach the 800 pound gorilla of gift-giving guilt, Christmas.
A question we should all be asking ourselves right now is what does Mom really want? The flowers wilt; the live plant ultimately dies; and the jewelry gathers dust sitting on a shelf or cluttered among other trinkets in that expensive jewelry box from a distant Mother’s Day.
What does Mom really want? Motherhood is a gradual process of letting go. With each passing year, our Moms spend less time with us until the day finally comes when we leave the nest, never to return. I think what Moms everywhere really want is to spend time with us. Giving Mom the precious gift of your time is something you can do without breaking your budget and going deeper into debt.
There are creative ways you can accomplish this while maintaining the time-honored tradition of giving a physical gift. You don’t have to appear on Mothers Day and promise to spend more time with Mom. Here is an idea.
First, flowers are a lovely way to say “I Love You” but a single rose can relay that message as well as a dozen. If your budget can’t handle a single rose, search your neighborhood for a garden or field of wildflowers where you can simply clip a bloom or two, with your neighbor’s permission of course!
Now comes the fun part. Along with your single flower, why not present Mom with an attractively wrapped box with a home-made coupon book inside. Each coupon represents a specific thing you or one of your siblings will do with Mom. The possibilities are endless and many won’t cost anything other than the price of transportation.
If your Mom loves the outdoors, how about a coupon for a monthly walk in the woods, complete with picnic lunch? Or an afternoon at a local craft fair or art show? In warmer weather, many communities in Canada offer free concerts in the park. There are museums, art galleries, and street fairs in urban locations throughout Canada.
The possibilities for things to do with your Mom are limited only by your imagination. In the end, you will be giving Mom the most precious gift possible – your time.