134 Money Tips, Special Mother’s Day Edition

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In this week’s link roundup: wisdom, tips, and lessons about money and family from moms everywhere—and tons of affordable, heartwarming gift ideas that’ll show much Mom is appreciated.
3 things that Mom really wants for Mother’s Day. A kiss, hug, and nap will do. Alternately, something a little creative, made from the heart:

I’ll share this idea that my husband came up with several years ago. He created this canvas that he called “A Mother’s Garden” and worked with the kids to finger-paint the sky and the grass, and then used their handprints to create the flowers and the tree.

4 lessons my mom taught me about family and money. At some point or another, pretty much everything goes on sale:

As a teenager, I’d often fall in love with ONE shirt or ONE pair of jeans and couldn’t see getting anything else much less taking the chance to wait for it to go on sale. They might sell out! What my mother patiently taught me was that for most things, there are many similar items that you can love and it’s expensive to set your sights on just one particular thing. Be patient and something similar will become available, often at much better prices.

5 frugal Mother’s Day surprises. I like the idea of a “flash mob car wash,” which dads (ahem) would also appreciate:

It’s just like those staged “spontaneous” public events only with buckets, sponges and a hose… family and friends will suddenly descend from all directions and usher Mom to a makeshift throne. From there, she’ll watch as her loved ones vacuum, clean her upholstery and windows, wash and wax the exterior and sign the back window of her shiny new ride with “World’s Greatest Mom!” All while singing the theme to “Car Wash.”

5 money lessons from Mom. More mom wisdom, and anyone who has had a child knows how important it is to have a partner with the same financial goals and overall approach to money:

Does your partner value saving, or does he spend beyond his means? Does your girlfriend lease an expensive luxury car but bemoans her mounting student loans? These are less than romantic questions, but finding the right partner may be the most important financial decision a person can make. Besides, divorce can be costly!

5 ways to avoid ATM fees. With a minimal amount of planning, this isn’t hard to do. Or, forget about the planning and open an account with a bank that reimburses any ATM fees:

Online banks are known for generous reimbursement policies. For example, State Farm Bank reimburses all ATM fees for customers who make a direct deposit into a checking or money market account each month. Charles Schwab Bank reimburses all ATM fees.

5 reasons to steer clear of extreme couponing. Sure, the strategies preached on the TLC show “Extreme Couponing” can save you money. But whenever something’s extreme, it’s literally not for everybody, often for good reason. For instance, many coupons entice shoppers to buy (and consume) more than they need, and spend more than they’d planned:

Let’s say all I need is one box of ice cream. A coupon says if I buy two, I’ll get one free. So what happens? A lover of ice cream, I come home with three boxes, spending twice as much as I had anticipated. The added calories won’t do me any favors, either.

5 tips for dogs and retirees. No, this isn’t about retirees who own dogs (though I suppose the advice would apply for them too). Instead, these are tips that are smart for dogs and retirees alike, such as:

If you’re on a short leash, try not to wrap it around a tree. Continuing to work — at least part time — as long as you can will give you a little money to buy the extras and make life a lot more pleasant.

7 tricks to increase your savings without decreasing your lifestyle. Just some basic, possibly effective tricks to force yourself into saving—which will change your lifestyle (in a good way), and hopefully the only change you notice is a boost in your savings account. For instance (and take that, anti-couponing link above!):

Buy at a discount and save the difference
For items that you were going to buy anyway see if you can find them on sale and then put the difference in your savings. Make the effort to use some coupons at the grocery store and then save your savings from your coupon items. As you see your savings grow from this method, “couponing” becomes more fun!

8 ways to buy more happiness. Happiness researchers say that instant gratification is ultimately not nearly as gratifying as saving up for something and paying for it with cash:

Consumers who buy right away on credit rob themselves of a free source of enjoyment: anticipation. People are prone to a decision error called future anhedonia, or the belief that a pleasure delayed won’t be as intense as one experienced in the present. The opposite, if anything, is true. Delayed pleasures are just as intense, and consumers accrue additional pleasure by looking forward to them. Think of it as “compound happiness” interest.

9 money lessons from moms. For example, this counterintuitive gem:

“My mother (from a poor family) used to say, ‘Expensive is cheap,’” Doug Colligan, a freelance writer in Amherst, Mass., tells MainStreet. “Meaning: Buy quality stuff. It lasts longer.”

10 Mother’s Day gifts for less than $10. Some passive-aggressive freebie Mother’s Day gifts may be inadvisable. There are plenty of thoughtful, affordable gift ideas, like putting together everything for a fun picnic:

Forget the mess of breakfast in bed. Leave the house. Secretly prepare all the food and stow it in the trunk. Then take mom to a beautiful spot, lay everything out on a blanket, and let her enjoy everything without having to worry about cleaning up.

10 top Mother’s Day gift ideas. Indeed, it’s possible to be thoughtful and get a discount at the same time:

Create a Customized Bottle of Wine and Get 20% off at Personal Wines.
You get to choose the wine and completely design the front label just for Mom – plus save 20% off.

20 Mother’s Day sweepstakes, freebies, and deals. Entering a contest won’t cost a dime, and might win your mom something nice, like:

Diet Pepsi – SpaFinder
Help your mom win a spa day for two by “liking” Diet Pepsi on Facebook before May 11.

38 life lessons I’ve learned in my 38 years. This one applies to mothers and children alike:

When your child asks for your attention, always grant it. Give your child your full attention, and instead of being annoyed at the interruption, be grateful for the reminder to spend time with someone you love.

And this applies to everybody:

There are few joys that equal a good book, a good walk, a good hug, or a good friend. All are free.

Happy Mother’s Day!