Ways to Save Cash This Mother's Day

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By Mae Anderson, AP Retail Writer

NEW YORK (AP) — Your inbox is likely starting to swell with Mother's Day deals from retailers and restaurants angling for a piece of the $14.88 billion consumers are expected to spend this year on the moms in their lives.

Retailers always heavily promote spending for the second-largest annual gift-giving holiday. But that figure from industry research firm IBISWorld is 4% above last year's so the heat is on.

With more than a week to go, you may still have time for a craft project or to plan a meal at home or do something personal like assemble a family photo album — joining kids of all ages in the effort to save.

If not, here are a few less-typical ways to find Mother's Day deals:

— Seek reward programs through your credit card, workplace or school. Retailers aren't the only ones pumping up Mother's Day.

Among promotions coordinated by credit card companies and retailers are a host at visa.com/MothersDay, including 15% off flowers from Proflowers.com if you use your Visa card, for example. MasterCard's program, at marketplace.mastercard.com, just launched this month. Just remember to stick with discounts on things you already planned to buy.

At work, check with your human resources department for employee-discount programs with deals specific to Mother's Day on gifts like jewelry and flowers. And your school, or your children's school, may offer coupon books, gift certificates and other forms of scrip for fundraisers. Buying it can be a triple win: a discount for you, a donation for the school and a nice gift for Mom.

— Use the federal rebate program to get a discount on new appliances. It might feel too practical, less of a gift than flowers or candy, but a brand new standup mixer might be just the thing for a foodie mom. The cash is for appliances certified as energy-efficient so you'll be treating Mom and helping the environment at the same time.

— Give the gift of computer savviness. Electronics are expected to be top sellers this Mother's Day, with sales projected at $97 million. But electronics are only as useful as you make them. Showing mom your favorite smart phone apps, how to download an e-book or connect on Facebook will value exponentially to any electronic gift.

— Check online coupon sources, including group coupon sites, for discounts on a gift or brunch.

Even if your neighborhood favorite is offering a Mother's Day prix fixe, check Opentable.com for its state-by-state list of restaurants offering Mother's Day specials. And Restaurant.com offers discounted gift certificates.

Also try Groupon, which offers daily deals in cities around the country, that come together only if a minimum number of people sign on. A recent deal in New York was a $205 spa day for $68, for example. Groupon competitor LivingSocial e-mails members one deal per day on a local restaurant, spa or event.

Do a Web search for other sites that gather coupons from various sources. Most helpful may be those dedicated to parenting, like coupons.mamanista.com, which links to promotional codes for mom-friendly products like shoes and toys. Also try poring over retailmenot.com, promotionalcodes.com, coupons.com and other aggregator sites that pop up.

Copyright 2010 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

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