Sunday, August 14, 2011

Gift Giving on a Budget: The Mom edition

Come on Barbie, let’s go party! Yesterday was my Mum’s birthday, but we actually celebrated last weekend when the entire family was together in Oakville.

My Eye Candy & I took care of the BBQ’ing so she could just enjoy the evening with everyone. We put together our favourite summertime meal: ribs on the BBQ, chopped Moroccan salad, crispy sweet potato fries and finished it off with apple crumble from The Big Apple plus my new favourite recipe for 53 calorie brownies that are Rocco made & even Dr. Oz approved.

When it comes to the present that I gave her (other than just my presence), a girl has to have a budget for gift-giving and there are no exceptions to the rule… even when it comes to your mother! There is nothing in this world that my Mum doesn’t deserve so my plan to give a $70 came with extra pressure as it had to be thoughtful and priced just right.

On my last trip home, my Mum mentioned that the only drawback to my new love for the Montreal library is that I don’t pass along books for her to read. This made the choice of a gift simple as I logged onto and found 2 books that have her name written on them.

The first is Every Boy’s Got One by Meg Cabot as this light-hearted chick lit had me laughing aloud. The story is written in a series of journal entries and e-mail correspondence between a mother and daughter as the daughter is gallivanting across Italy for her friend’s wedding and searching for her own love. The content in the e-mails reminds me of the ones that my Mum would send during my own European travels (“got to go my Love, your handyman father is currently stuck in a tree”) and I’m sure she’ll have a good giggle from this book too.

The second novel is I Think I Love You by Allison Pearson. I’ve not read it, but I’ve seen great reviews for it and the plot is appealing. One of my favourite stories that my Mum would tell my sister and I growing up is about her trip as a 13-year old to L.A. with her family. She told us how she spent the entire vacation convinced she was going to meet Davey Jones from The Monkees. I Think I Love You is about a different Dave – as it’s about a woman’s fanatic teenage love for David Cassidy of the Partridge Family and her quest to meet him. I’m hoping this book brings back fond memories for my Mum (and not necessarily the urge to write fan mail to Davey Jones).

To purchase the books, I used my iRewards card with Chapters for the last time (it’s about to expire & I have no plans to renew, and Chapter’s is now offering a new Plum reward system that’s free to join) and a coupon code for $5 off. My order came to $26.79 with only a $1.28 tax so I still qualified for the free shipping.

But that’s not all. I also arranged for flowers to be delivered to my Mum on her birthday so she could wake up to the morning newspaper and a vase of flowers on her porch. I wanted to buy the flowers through Acorn Flower Shoppe in Oakville as I like to support local small businesses and they’ve always done beautiful arrangements. I was a bit put-off by the prices, but with some expert Google’ing I found a great deal for the flowers through the website of the mall where the flower shop is located. For $42 including taxes, delivery and the flowers, my Mum will receive a birthday bouquet of sweet splendor.

The total spent for my Mum’s birthday present is $69 which sneaked in at just a dollar less than my budget. I’ll be putting that loonie towards her Christmas gift!

How much do you spend on birthday gifts for family and friends? How do you set a budget for the present?


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