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A Mother’s Day shopping cheat sheet

By Jeanine Skowronski ·
Friday, May 2, 2014
Posted: 4 pm ET

The relationship between Ray and his mother, Marie, brought a lot of laughs on TV's 'Everybody Loves Raymond.'

The relationship between Ray and his mother, Marie, brought a lot of laughs on TV's 'Everybody Loves Raymond.'

My mother is a wonderful woman who never really asks for or expects much of anything ... outside of a lavish Mother's Day celebration. This might have something to do with the one year my brother and I completely forgot the holiday (which, by the way, this year, falls on May 11.) But, whatever the case, come Mother's Day, we've learned to go all-out.

Thankfully, some savvy credit card use has kept me from blowing my monthly budget in recent years. Here's how you can similarly use your credit cards to mitigate Mother's Day expenses while still making her smile:

Buy Mom flowers through your credit card's online shopping mall. "Flower companies and spa brands are notorious for offering extra rewards points during this time of year, as well as other holidays, such as Valentine's Day," says Regina Novickis, a savings expert at For instance, right now ShopDiscover features a 20 percent cash back bonus on 1-800-Flowers purchases while is offering 30 miles per dollar on FTD arrangements.

Charge dinner to your restaurants rewards card ... Mother's Day typically includes taking mom out to eat, so be sure to charge this year's check to your Chase Sapphire Preferred, Barclays Arrival or other card that offers extra points on dining purchases.

… or look online for restaurant deals. If you don't have a foodie-friendly rewards card in your wallet, re-visit your issuer's online shopping mall to see if they're featuring any restaurant gift certificate deals. Chase's Ultimate Rewards portal, for instance, is currently offering 10 extra points per dollar on purchases.

Cash in your points. Gift-certificate swaps aren't exclusive to restaurants. Some issuers will let you redeem points for retailer gift cards or products as well. "Either give the gift certificates as gifts, or use the points to get the gift cards and then use them as cash for your purchases," Novickis says.

Follow your issuer on Twitter. Issuers tend to tweet out information about any holiday-centric or timely deals coming up. See American Express, which notified cardholders about this offer via tweet, or Capital One, which tweeted this last Mother's Day.

Pay off your balances in June. Any deals or rewards point will be negated if you have to pay interest on Mom's gifts, so make sure what you do buy is well within your monthly budget. "Spending $10,000 on a card to get a $100 reward doesn't make any sense if that award is costing you $1,000 in interest," Novickis says.

Follow me on Twitter @JeanineSko.

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