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How to score discounts on tech gifts for Mother's Day

Just because it's Mother's Day, doesn't mean you should have to spend a lot of money. Here's how to get the best possible deals on great gifts for Mom.

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A cash-back service like Ebates can help you get a lower final price on Mother's Day gifts. Screenshot by Rick Broida/CNET

Mother's Day is looming large on the calendar -- it's May 10, in case you're wondering -- so any gift shopping better start soon.

Flowers? Please. They're overpriced, ephemeral and done to death, don't you think? To really show Mom you care, get her a tech gift -- something that's practical and will last for years, not days.

Of course, there's nothing wrong with saving a few bucks along the way, right? Mom herself may be priceless, but your budget is, well, your budget. So here are some simple tips for scoring discounts on Mother's Day gifts (even non-tech stuff, if you insist):

Use a cash-back service

Whether you're shopping for a tablet for Mom or an eye mask, chances are good a cash-back service will save you a few bucks.

It works like this: sign up for one of the bigger services (Ebates and TopCashback are two I recommend), then search the site for the store where you plan to shop. See what kind of rebate you can expect (could be 2 percent, could be 10), then click through and shop like you normally would. Don't expect to see any kind of discount applied to your shopping cart at checkout; cash-back services work behind the scenes.

So yeah, you pay full price now, but eventually you'll get some money back. And right now, Ebates has double cash-back specials running for a bunch of stores, like 20 percent from ProFlowers, 12 percent from Shoebuy and 6 percent from Kohl's.

Install a coupon-finder

Ever get to a store's checkout page and stare longingly at that empty promo-code field, wishing you had a big fat discount code to put in there?

Instead of spending a bunch of time Googling in search of codes that might or might not work, let a coupon-finder do the heavy lifting. Coupons at Checkout and Honey are among the browser plug-ins that can automatically locate compatible coupons for your purchase.

Check tech outlets for Mother's Day sales

The big online stores should be trotting out their big Mother's Day promotions right about now. Ebay, for example, recently posted a page devoted to tech for Mom under $199, and if you sign into your PayPal account and click Shop, you'll find discount offers for a variety of stores -- not all of them tech-oriented, but still good deals if you're looking for the more traditional gift items (flowers, jewelry, etc.).

Groupon also has a Mother's Day promo page up and running, and if you apply coupon code SALE3, you can bag an extra 10 percent off any deals on goods. That code expires today, but chances are good there will be more last-minute Mother's Day goodness coming soon.

Follow the Cheapskate!

In the weeks leading up to most gift-giving holidays, yours truly (aka The Cheapskate) digs up great deals on tech. For example, in just the last two days, I've found a $50 iTunes gift card for $40 and a custom (as in, with your face on it!) Bluetooth speaker for $55.99. Both deals are still active, by the way, or were as of this writing.

So follow me on Twitter (@cheapskateblog), check the blog daily for more Mother's Day tech deals and see what CNET Moms recommend this holiday. When it comes to shopping for Mom, I've got your back.

Do you have any other tips for scoring sweet deals? Share them in the comments!