23 Inexpensive Ways to Spend Time with Mom

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Are you looking for inexpensive ways to spend time with mom for Mother’s Day? Or maybe you are just looking for some budget-friendly activities to do with your mom to spend quality time with her on your day off?

We all know how busy life can be. You might have good intentions to get together with your mom on a weekly or monthly basis, but then life happens and it ends up being weeks or months until you are able to spend time with her.

Setting aside some time in your schedule to spend with your mom is a great way to maintain your bond with her, even when life gets busy. 

According to the website, caring-for-aging-parents.com, when people get older, time and memories are typically cherished more than gifts.

Any mom is sure to appreciate whatever amount of time she is able to spend with her children, whether it is 15 minutes or 2 hours. 

Spending time with mom does not have to be expensive either.  There are tons of great budget-friendly ideas for spending quality time with your mom. 

The easiest way to come up with ideas for spending time with your mom is to think about what she enjoys doing the most.  What are her hobbies and interests?

However, if your mom is one that does not really have hobbies or a lot of different interests, you may have to think a little harder to come up with creative ideas for how to spend time with her.

So here is a list of inexpensive ways to spend time with mom that I put together to help you come up with some different ideas she may enjoy.

If you are looking for an inexpensive gift for your mom, whether for Mother’s Day, her birthday, or any other special day, check out budget-friendly gifts for moms.

20 Inexpensive Ways to Spend Time with Mom

1. Have a meal together

It doesn’t matter if you cook for her, cook together, get takeout, or go out to eat at a restaurant, any mom is sure to love the time spent with her daughter to chat about life.

If you decide to make her a meal, you could keep it super simple and make a picnic lunch. Enjoy it at the kitchen table, on a blanket in the yard, or eat it outside on the deck or patio.

2. Watch a movie, favorite shows, or sports together

Make some popcorn and have a movie marathon.  Or you could rent her favorite movie and watch it together. Look for a Redbox in your area and rent a movie for $1. 

Perhaps she enjoys afternoon soap operas or other shows during evening television? Tell her you’re coming over to watch them with her and I’m sure she will love it!

Or maybe she loves to watch sports on TV?  I’m sure she would enjoy some company watching her favorite baseball team play a couple of innings!

Inexpensive ways to spend time with mom: antique shop building and sign

3. Go thrifting or antiquing together

Take your mom to check out some thrift shops or antique shops. Maybe she will find something interesting that she will reminisce about.  She may even tell you about something in your family’s history that you never knew about!

4. Look for free or cheap events in your town

Some towns have festivals or community days at different times throughout the year. Check your local websites and newspapers to look for events in your town.

5. Take a walk

Meet up with your mom and take a walk in the neighborhood, walk the dog together, or walk in the park.

Walking and talking about what is going on in each other’s lives will help you stay connected with your mom.

Inexpensive ways to spend time with mom: 2 women embracing outside watching sunset

6. Outdoor activities

Some ideas for outdoor activities to do with mom are hiking, swimming, going to the driving range, mini-golf, and watching local sporting events.

7. Exercise together

Got a mom who loves being fit? I bet she would love a workout partner. You could find a workout on YouTube, go for a bike ride, or go for a jog together.

How about trying some strengthening exercises with weights or resistance bands, doing some yoga, or trying some Pilates together?

8. Go to the local museum

Many local museums have free or inexpensive admission to their exhibits. Or take her to the larger city museum she has been wanting to go to.

Inexpensive ways to spend time with mom: woman painting another woman's hands

9. Do a DIY spa day

Take over your mani and pedi supplies to her home to have a spa day together. You could also try out a new mud mask or try a DIY facial.

10. Wine Tasting

Got some local wineries? Map out a little wine tasting tour. Many wineries have free wine tasting or charge a small fee if you don’t end up buying a bottle of their wine.

11. Do laundry together

This may seem a little odd, but if she goes to the laundromat to do her laundry, why not go along and keep her company while she waits!

Woman holding playing card

12. Play games or cards

Playing games and cards is fun at any age. Many moms would love to spend some quality time with their kids while doing something different and fun.  Try a game from her childhood so she can reminisce.

13. Look at photo albums or create a new one

Pull out old photos and photo albums to look through together.  This is another great reminiscing activity!

Or you could create a new photo album together online through a site like Mixbook or Shutterfly.  I have used both of those websites to make photobooks and love them both!

14. Do some gardening

Does she love flowers or planting vegetables? Help her work on her gardening to spend some time together. 

If she doesn’t have an outdoor garden, you could start a container garden together with some vegetable plants from the home improvement store.

Maybe you have a houseplant that needs to be broken into smaller plants, separated, and transplanted? You could do that with mom and then she will think of you every time she sees her new houseplant you transplanted together.

15. Take a class together

Find and take free or inexpensive classes in your town that you both would enjoy.  Some places that I know that offer classes are Home Depot, Michael’s, Joann Fabrics, and Hobby Lobby.

Inexpensive ways to spend time with mom: quilting fabric and thread spools

16. Learn her favorite hobby

Does she have a hobby you would love to learn? Things like crocheting, knitting, cross stitch, quilting, and sewing would be fun.

17. Volunteer together

Find a place that is meaningful to both you and your mom to offer your time and service to.  Whether it be a homeless shelter, soup kitchen, boys and girls club, animal shelter or animal rescue, donating your time together to a good cause is sure to be a great bonding experience.

18. Meet in the morning for coffee or tea

Maybe you don’t have a lot of extra time in your schedule with working, taking care of the house, and kids.  Even meeting up for a quick cup of coffee or tea and chatting for a few minutes is sure to put a smile on your mom’s face.

19. Do a jigsaw puzzle together

Piecing together a jigsaw puzzle is a great way to spend time with mom.  It is a way to spend some peaceful, quiet time together while you talk about life.

Inexpensive ways to spend time with mom: crafted flowers made from paper

20. Do a craft together

Do you both love crafts?  Find a fun craft on Pinterest, gather the supplies, and head over to your mom’s home to get crafting together!

21. Bake together

Spend time with mom to bake some treats together.  Take this time to learn some delicious family recipes from her while you are baking.

22. Work on a family tree

Get together to do research on your family’s heritage and start creating your family tree together. 

23. Go for ice cream together

Just about everyone loves ice cream! Either go to the local ice cream parlor with your mom or show up at her home with some store bought ice cream to surprise her. 


Finding inexpensive ways to spend time with mom does not have to be difficult or time consuming.  You know your mom best, so think about what she enjoys doing the most and just start with that. 

The most important thing to keep in mind, when you are trying to find time in your busy schedule to spend with your mom, is taking the initiative to make plans and then following through with your plans.

You see, for the last 12 years out of my 20-year career in health care, I have worked with older adults and the geriatric population. I have learned so many things about our aging population, but the one thing that is always running through my mind is this:

Life is short. 

And sometimes it’s incredibly too short for some people.  It’s important to spend as much quality time with your mom when you can.

You will definitely never regret spending that time with your mom. Make memories. Enjoy life.

That is what living is all about.

Do you know of other frugal ways to spend time with mom? I would love to hear about them! Let me know in the comments.

You may also enjoy reading:

Budget Friendly Mother’s Day Gift Ideas

70+ Frugal Living Tips to Help You Spend Less Money

20 Ways to Save More Money Every Month

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