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Just because money is tight doesn’t mean you can’t afford to make your mom feel special this Mother’s Day. (It's May 10 this year. That's Sunday, people!) After all, a mother was probably the first person to say, “It’s the thought that counts.” A little thoughtfulness can go a long way with Mom and save you some cash along the way. Here are some ideas for meaningful and affordable Mother’s Day gifts and activities:

1. Breakfast in bed.
A tried and true staple of Mother’s Days past and present, give it new life this year by kicking it up a notch. Make your mom’s favorite breakfast meal from scratch. Does she like Belgian waffles? What about eggs Benedict? If you have to learn a new recipe, give it a trial run before the big day. Bring the meal to your mom on a nice tray complete with a small vase with a flower and the Sunday paper. Make sure to clean up after yourself.

2. Household services courtesy of you. Offer up yourself to your mom to do the laundry, vacuum, wash the car, paint a room, go grocery shopping, help in the garden or take on other household chores. For presentation's sake, create a booklet of “chore coupons” your mom can cash in at her convenience. Make sure you live up to your commitment (soon!) and do so with a smile.

3. Homemade video card. Videotape special Mother’s Day messages from all of the kids and grandkids. You can gather everyone together to shoot the video or collect clips at different times. For added flair you can use your computer to edit the video and burn it to a DVD. Don’t have a video camera? A DVD photo slideshow is also a unique and memorable gift. Choose photos from you mother’s life and set them to her favorite tune. Windows users can choose make a photo slideshow with the free software Photo Story 3, but you’ll need to buy the Sonic DVD plug-in to burn a DVD. Mac users can make DVD slideshow using the iDVD, iMovie or iPhoto software, all of which come with most newer Apple computers.

4. Picnic in the park. If it’s going to be nice outside, set up a nice lunch picnic at a nearby park. The whole family can enjoy each other’s company and the great outdoors. Pack a big picnic lunch of your mom’s favorite foods and go the extra mile by including a nice tablecloth or picnic blanket, fresh flowers and a bottle of wine with glasses.

5. Mother’s Day crafts. Remember how much your mom loved the homemade cards you gave her in grade school? You use that same creative flair for a more grown-up art project. Some ideas? Make Mom jewelry. There may be inexpensive jewelry making classes at local craft stores and the supplies can cost less than $10. How about hand-painted pottery? You can visit a paint-your-own-pottery studio to create a truly one-of-a-kind gift. Better yet, take Mom with you for a fun activity you can do together.

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