Sorry, Mom, I Can't Afford Your Mother's Day Gift This Year

NEW YORK (TheStreet) -- There are so many gifts for Mother's Day that have become a cliche. There's the standard jewelry sets with "Mom" pendants on sale at your local Macy's (M). Plus, you can't forget the good old reliable, last minute life-savers sold at any CVS (CVS) drugstore-- a card, cheap celebrity-endorsed perfume, or that horrible stuffed animal with a balloon.

Do you think your Mom really wants that? Well, she might have to put up with it.

According to the National Retail Federation's annual Mother's Day Spending Survey conducted by Prosper Insights & Analytics, shoppers are expected to spend on average $162.94 on Mom this year. That's down about $6 from last year, which was an all-time high.

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Pam Goodfellow, director of the group who conducted this year's survey, says, "Americans haven't forgotten about the state of the economy, and are treating their finances and gift-giving budgets in a way that keeps practicality top of mind."

Practicality?

Apple (AAPL) iPads, smartphones and other electronic gadgets had topped Mother's Day shopping lists in previous years. This year, the survey found only 13% of shoppers intend to spend on electronics. Total spending is expected to total $1.7 billion, down from $2.3 billion in 2013.

The NRF says retailers will be pushing more sales and promotions on ladies apparel items, health and beauty products, followed by jewelry and even restaurant options.

In fact, lots of money is projected to be spent on gardening tools and housewares -- a total of $812 million dollars. That exceeds what Mom's loved ones will spend on entertainment options such as books and CD's, which is $480 million.

Top 5 Things We're Buying for Mother's Day

  1. Brunch or Dinner: It seems the way to warm Mom's heart is through her stomach. We're taking Mom out to brunch or a nice dinner so she can take a break from the kitchen. Spending on dining out is expected to generate $3.8 billion.
  2. Jewelry: Can't go wrong with some bling. Whether it's that "Mom" pendant or a trendy Pandora charm bracelet, sales of jewelry are expected to rake in $3.6 billion.
  3. Flowers: A fresh bouquet of flowers takes the third spot with Americans spending a total of $2.3 billion. It's a predictable present, but two-thirds of those surveyed will still get a guaranteed smile from this token of their appreciation.
  4. Electronics: The amount to be spent on tech gadgets is tied with flowers, at $2.3 billion. However, since more gift-givers will unplug this year, it was bumped down a notch on this list.
  5. Gift Cards: If you really don't know what to get Mom, gift cards help ease the anxiety: 43% of gift-givers will opt for a trusty gift card and have Mom do the shopping. That's an increase from 41.5% last year. Total spending on gift cards is expected to reach $2.1 billion.

It's the Thought That Counts

In my opinion, no matter how you celebrate Mother's Day this year, nothing beats breakfast in bed, a simple hug and -- my all-time favorite -- home-made cards from the kids. The day isn't about how wide you open your wallet but showing your love and appreciation. 

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With that said, the NRF's survey shows total spending is projected to reach just shy of $20 billion this year -- which is much more than what was projected for Father's Day spending last year, $13.3 billion.

This article represents the opinion of a contributor and not necessarily that of TheStreet or its editorial staff.

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