Father’s Day: Fun but Frugal

fathers_day_036_01The day you celebrate Dad is fast approaching.  Buying gifts for dads is notoriously difficult (every dad I know wants nothing, and then if they do, they maddeningly go out and buy it for themselves) and can present a new set of challenges if you are trying to stick to a budget.  Here are a few tips for a frugal, yet festive Father’s Day to show dad that you appreciate him.

Ask him what he wants

This may seem obvious, but many fathers are fairly specific in their tastes. All the dads I know operate more based on need than want. He may have some items on his list that might seem small to you (or not gift-worthy), but that would be well appreciated. This also helps you avoid lavish spending on gifts simply for the sake of gifts, which is derived out of panic buying.

Go with a Theme

Incorporating a theme is fun and budget friendly. You get to offer up several smaller, less-expensive gifts, which create big impact. Think of a special memory that you have shared over the years, or one of his hobbies or interests, and assemble items that reflect that theme in a basket or receptacle that ties in. Be sentimental. You can use homemade items, dollar store items or things from the past to round out the theme.

Give him the Gift of Time

In our busy lives, the most precious commodity really is time.  How many times have you told your dad (or your husband)—yes, I really want to talk about this/do this, but later? To offer someone your undivided attention as a gift is not self-indulgent, it is a tremendous gesture of a scarce resource. Maybe your dad just wants to hang out and catch up, but hasn’t had the time to do so. Perhaps your father needs some items done around the house, and could use some help. Offer to clean his car or sort out his closet.  To help your husband celebrate Father’s Day, organize a low-key family outing or take the kids somewhere so he can have some time to himself.

Lower-Cost Outings

So, you have your heart set on taking dad out somewhere, but cash reserves are tight? A little creativity and planning can help you celebrate without financial strain. Consider going for a walk, or wandering around a museum for the afternoon (one admission price gives hours of potential activity, while sharing time together). If you are looking to eat out, breakfast is likely the least expensive (and potentially least crowded) meal option, or consider an afternoon coffee, or dessert and drinks.

Homemade with Heart

There are dads that are DIY and there are those who, well, are not. Either way they lean, dads have an inherent appreciation for effort, especially when it is taken on their behalf.

Get crafty, and make something that he would cherish- like a collage of family pictures or a scrapbook about his favourite sports team, chronicling events, news and statistics.

Use fabric paint on a T-shirt (or apron for those patriarchs who man the BBQ).  Paint a mug or beer or wine glass with a personalized message.

Home cooked food is always an excellent choice (I dare you to find a dad who doesn’t relish in his favourite meal or baked goods).  You can make it more special by setting the table more lavishly, or by wrapping homemade food items thoughtfully, with tags and wrappers.