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10 Mother's Day Gift Ideas That Seem Expensive, But Aren't

Impress Mom on a budget this year! Everything from pearls to perfume can be had for less, and she doesn't need to know.
Mother's Day

We all know a mother's love is priceless, and no gift can truly express our appreciation for everything she's done for us. Unfortunately, Mom probably won't appreciate that logic when you gift her with an air freshener you picked up at the gas station.

But fancy presents don't have to cost a lot. Here are some gift ideas that will impress Mom without putting a strain on your wallet — and we promise we won't tell how much you really paid!

Get Something That Sparkles

As everyone knows, diamonds are a girl's best friend. Jewelry encrusted with gemstones is sure to dazzle your loved one, even if you didn't spend a fortune. We routinely see Mother's Day-appropriate jewelry from Szul and other retailers.

SEE ALSO: Everything You Need to Know About Synthetic Diamonds

Opt for Pearl Jewelry

Regardless of how easily this gem can now be produced on oyster farms, the pearl still exudes an air of elegance over many other jewelry options. We routinely see inexpensive choices that have the luster and weight characteristic of much pricier pearls.

Take heed though, because some people find pearls to be a bit stuffy; make sure you know your mom's tastes.

Shop Outlets for Designer Goods at a Fraction of the Price

Although Mom will no doubt love (or pretend to love) whatever you get her, she probably enjoys the finer things as much as anyone. Enter the likes of Saks Fifth Avenue Off 5th, Neiman Marcus Last Call, Nordstrom Rack, and J.Crew Factory.

These stores are nothing but constant sales on name-brand clothing. Sure, you may find last season's fashions and wares designed specifically for the outlet store, but that just means big savings of up to 90% off. (Outlet-only goods may be of lesser quality, but are definitely more affordable.) And Mom will never know your dirty little outlet shopping secret.

There are also some traditional, brick-and-mortar outlet stores that sometimes include manufacturing-defected items. You can still get perfectly good high-end items at a deep discount — just inspect your purchases to make sure they don't have a red dot on them.

Rich Scents for Less

Brand-name fragrances may exude the smell of money, but we routinely see deals on ritzy colognes and perfumes. Sites like FragranceNet and FragranceX specialize in discounts on scents from Calvin Klein, Armani, Prada, Fendi, and more. Meanwhile, big retailers like Target and Macy's also frequently offer up great deals. No matter where you buy, your mom will never sniff out your secret.

Shower Her With Gifts From The Body Shop

Unless it's a bar of Ivory, people tend to assume that bath and beauty items are a luxury. But if you look out for a sale, you can actually score higher-end body care goods at a reasonable price. For instance, even though The Body Shop's signature collection of lotions, body wash, and scents can be rather expensive if bought one at a time (prices start around $5 a pop), the merchant frequently has some kind of sale running. Put together your own gift basket for Mom!

Give a Gift Card for Less

While it's always the thought that counts, when it comes to gift cards, your mom can easily put a price tag on your present because it's staring her in the face. Or can she? We frequently see gift cards discounted by as much as 50% off face value.

SEE ALSO: How to Save on ANYTHING With Gift Cards

Be Creative

While at some point you get too old to give Mom something made from macaroni, that doesn't mean you can't show your love using creativity instead of your credit card. Try a more mature art form like watercolors, or get a nicely bound journal and write a poem. And who knows, if you someday become famous, maybe it'll be worth something! (Okay, this one probably won't seem expensive, but you'll get major points!)

Take a Picture (Because It Does Last Longer)

If your Mom is like ours, then no family get-together is complete without a few photos to mark the occasion. Surprise her with a framed photo of your family, or just yourself. Save money by skipping the professional sitting and ask a friend with a decent digital SLR to take a few snaps at home. Then, use a photo print deal to get an 8" x 10" made. Naturally, your mom will think of you every time she looks at it.

Impress With a Tablet

It's easy to come across as a big spender to your perhaps less tech-savvy mom when you put a shiny new tablet in her hand. We've seen the prices on tablets decrease dramatically over the past year, to the point where you can find many options at any price point.

SEE ALSO: 10 Ingenious Uses for a Super Cheap Tablet

Any Editors' Choice Deal (Within Your Budget)

The best way to give a gift that seems more expensive than it really is? Buy it at a significant discount! That's exactly what you'll find on our Editors' Choice page, as it's filled with all-time low prices and rare sales. Some of these items will still fall into the upper levels of your budget, but you're sure to find something Mom will like. You can also sign up for the DealNews Select Newsletter, if you'd rather get our deal suggestions delivered to your inbox.

There's no shame in putting a price limit on your love for your mother, so long as she feels appreciated. What are you getting her this year? Let us know in the comments below.

Senior Staff Writer

Stephen has been writing for such national and regional publications as The Village Voice, Paste, The Agit Reader, and The Big Takeover for 20 years, and has been covering consumer electronics and technology for DealNews since 2013.
DealNews may be compensated by companies mentioned in this article. Please note that, although prices sometimes fluctuate or expire unexpectedly, all products and deals mentioned in this feature were available at the lowest total price we could find at the time of publication (unless otherwise specified).
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Elizabeth Zimmerman (DealNews)
Family pictures where everybody actually looks good are indeed a rare and coveted treasure.

source: am mom
India A. (DealNews)
You can't go wrong making her dinner Jeff, no matter the cost. My favorite thing on this list is the photo. You can never have have too many photos, and the older we get the harder it is to get everyone together to get a family photo, so this one is high on my list.
Jeff Somogyi (DealNews)
I really screwed up: I already told my mom I would cook her dinner, not thinking about the cost of ingredients (lamb chops!) and my own time.
Still, I GUESS it's all worth it, to see my mom happy...