:::: MENU ::::

Mother’s Day Update


Last minute reminder – Mother’s Day is this weekend! 

Yikes! How did that happen?

Remember our conversation about gift-giving and how to save money on gifts (basically by not giving any!) Well I wanted to give a little update.

If you’ll recall, we have a lot of family events this month. The first two were my two brother-in-law’s birthdays (the 5th and 7th, respectively). In the past we’ve always sent cash or gift cards. This year they each got a card from the Dollar Tree (fifty cents each)…..and nothing else. If you read in the comments, I admitted that I felt pretty guilty about it as I walked down to our mailbox (its around the corner). But as soon as I put the cards in the mail I somehow felt….relieved? almost lighter even? I can’t describe it, but it felt right. Like I’m doing the right thing.

Next holiday “up” was Mother’s Day (this weekend). I had originally thought I would print pictures and send, maybe in a cheap Dollar-Tree frame. Well time got away from me and we needed to mail them out ASAP and that hadn’t been done. So I took the advice from commenters and let the girls do another art project. Someone commented on how baby’s drawings are like priceless Picassos to grandmas. So that’s what we sent.


I let the girls color on some pink paper, then used scrapbook paper I already have to “frame” it. Before making any cuts I first measured the envelopes to make sure everything would fit inside the card envelope (I didn’t want to have to buy larger envelopes). So it all fit perfectly. One for my Mom, my MIL, my Grandma, and Chris’ Grandma. Got everyone covered. : )


It was really fun getting to decide which way was “up” and “down” and to sign the girls’ names in the corner! On the back I simply wrote, “Happy Grandma’s Day” or “Happy Nana’s Day” (depending on what the person is called).

I slipped these little works of art into Dollar Tree cards, where I wrote a more personal and heart-felt message, signed our names, and dropped in the mail.

Total cost was 50 cents per card (I LOVE the 2 for $1 cards at the Dollar store!).

Certainly not as extravagant as gifts in the past (which have included gifts like delivered flowers, chocolate of the month club, tickets to a show, etc), but I feel so much better knowing that this didn’t set back our debt-payoff journey, and I honestly think our Moms will enjoy these little works of art more than some chocolate in the mail (side note:  If anyone has ever thought of doing the chocolate of the month club….DON’T do it! The chocolates are supposed to be packaged with ice packs but always arrived totally melted and inedible at my Mom’s house! Not to mention the insane expense!)

All in all, I feel like this has been a small “Win” in our debt-payoff process.

The remaining 2 events from this month include my Dad’s birthday and MIL’s birthday. I just picked up some pictures from Walgreens (I spent under $2), and plan to put a couple pictures in both cards, along with more heart-felt messages. Not a bad spending month, considering all the gift-giving “holidays.”

Money Envelope Update

We’re only 1 week deep into using money envelopes so I’ll update more as we go along, but so far I’ve really liked using the envelope system! They’re still bulky and slightly annoying and just a general change in habit since I’m almost “programmed” to just whip out the debit card for all purchases. But I have to admit that they’ve been working GREAT at curbing spending! I have also liked having the envelopes to be able to tuck receipts inside or to store coupons for the grocery store (otherwise, these slips of paper would just be floating randomly around inside my purse and often got lost or trashed).

I’ll let you know how I feel 3 weeks from now but so far, so good!

What “Wins” have you had in the debt-payoff (and/or savings) journey recently???



  • Reply Helene |

    I’m proud of you, Ashley. I know that wasn’t easy to do.

    I made a baby step. I “only” spent $50 on my mom. That was really hard normally I would spend at least $100, maybe more. And be sure to get separate gifts from my son and me. But I just couldn’t do it this year.

    • Reply Ashley |

      Thanks Helene! I know what you mean about “only” $50, too! We certainly didn’t have the money for it (as my debt can attest to), but we have always, always spent much more money on birthdays/mother’s day in the past (generally in the $100ish range per gift).
      I think it was made easier this year because I’ve recently opened up to my Mom a little about our debt. She knew we had some (student loans, etc.), and I still didn’t give exact numbers (I don’t want her to worry!), but it helps just having her know that we’re working on paying off debt because I KNOW she wants us to be debt-free and would prefer us to keep working toward that goal more than any gift we may give her. Of course….her birthday was in February (prior to getting gazelle-intense), and I spent about $115 on that gift, so it’s real easy to say this since I’ve got almost a full year before her next birthday rolls around! ; )

  • Reply Shoeaholicnomore |

    Great job Ashley! The girls’ pictures with the “frames” are a nice touch. I’m glad you felt “relieved” after you mailed the cards. Try not to let the guilt overcome you and make decisions for you. It’s hard but it can be done 🙂

    • Reply Ashley |

      Yeah, its really kind of crazy! I felt so much anxiety leading up to mailing the (empty) cards, but then felt so relieved once it was done. In the past when we’ve sent money or gift cards I never felt any sense of “relief” or even any happiness/joy in mailing the cards…it was almost like just another task on my list or another duty to tend to. I think this is really starting to shift my mind set to recognize what’s really important (and its not monetary stuff)! Hopefully when we’re out of debt and can afford to send gifts again we’ll be able to do so in a way that is more meaningful rather than simply stuffing cash in a card and sending out without so much as a second thought.

    • Reply Ashley |

      Also – thanks for the compliment on the “frames” (lol!) I wanted to step up my game a little since everyone had just barely received a craft! lol

  • Reply Mary from SC |

    You seem to have a very giving spirit. One way to help with your gift budget is throughout the year take advantage of all the free with coupons offers you can find. You can stockpile free baby shampoo, wipes, for that baby shower you were invited to…cleaning supplies with a cute card for a house warming gift. Lotions and candles for friends birthdays…the list goes on. There are many web sites that provide store information. Passion for savings, southern savers, etc. Cvs, RiteAid and Walgreens typically have a couple of items each week. Even if you don’t need it right now, you may in a few months. Also you can sometimes find children’s toys and games free or very close to it. Great stock up for children’s birthday parties. I would suggest you allocate yourself a small budget for these items…say 5.00 a week or even month so you can take advantage of the great deals when they come around. I love to give and find this is a struggle for me as well. I don’t know what stores you have but Michael’s sometimes has a 50 percent off coupon. A pack of stationary for .50 would make a great addition to a gift basket for the person to use as thank you notes. Good luck. I enjoy reading your submissions.

  • Reply manda |

    One more idea with pictures, and maybe someone already said this. I have been gifted these adorable “matted” pictures of me with my niece. My niece colors on a piece of paper, and then her mom takes a picture she has of us, cuts a few angles off and then mats (or is it matte?) it on the colored picture. I love them. It’s like a nice notecard, or an alreay matted (or is it matted?) pic i can hang on the fridge, my office, or put in a frame. (4×6 pic, 5×7 matte (or is it mat?)).

So, what do you think ?