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Frugal Father’s Day Gift Ideas



Last month, people across America were wondering what to buy their moms (and the moms of their own children) for Mother’s Day. We’ve now arrived in June and people are wondering what to buy their dads (and the dads of their own children) for Father’s Day.

The common way of thinking is dads are harder to get gifts for than moms – the stereotype being guys are rougher around the edges and won’t politely pretend to appreciate a gift they don’t actually like.

Of course, that’s not true for all dads, but maybe we can extract something good out of that old conventional wisdom. Have the motivation to get the dad in your life something thoughtful, practical, and enjoyable.

Gifts, however, still cost money. But come to think of it, wouldn’t a dad be proud that you know the true value of a dollar?

Whether you’re an adult searching for something for your own father, a parent looking for gift ideas your children can get their dad, or a significant other seeking something for the father of your children, we have some ideas for gifts that can show the fathers in your life you’re as appreciative of them just as much as you are mindful of your wallet.

Homemade Gifts

Dads value handiwork, right? What better way to show that off than to make a gift yourself? Many of these just involve getting a common item and modifying it.



Adults and children alike can give the gift of small homemade furniture. Young children can make things like a necktie rack, which can be as simple as a board with some nails as hooks (with the rack being made under adult supervision, of course).

Older children and adults can try to make something more sophisticated, like a small table or shelving made from an old dresser drawer.

Another thing kids and adults alike can make is a customized grilling apron. Children can free-hand decorate it with their markers and finger-paints while adults can try more delicate designs or even get it custom-printed for not too much at all.

If the man likes to tinker, try personalizing his tools. This can range from painting his name calligraphically on a wrench to having loving messages engraved into a hammer.

If you would rather not mess with his toys, you can find new projects for him to use them on. Look into around-the-house “life hacks” from the Internet and compile a life-hacks booklet to get him inspired. Maybe he’ll want to make that dresser-drawer shelving himself.

Is this his first Father’s Day? Something you may both enjoy is handprint art from your infant child. If you don’t mind spoiling the surprise, get his handprint on a piece of canvas, then add his child’s handprint on top of that, and have it framed and hung upon a wall.

For a simpler version, try incorporating the father’s favorite sport – get black paint for a handprint on a baseball or basketball, or white paint for a print on a football or hockey puck.

Making Memories

If he’s a man who values actions over objects, there’s plenty you can do to make his day special.

If he’s a simple man, he may enjoy simply going to a movie or a baseball game. Is he one of the many dads who’s into golfing? You can likely find an affordable place for you and him to enjoy a round.

If you aren’t too great at “real” golfing (and you don’t want to just send him off to golf without you), mini golfing is always a safe bet. This is a good idea if there are young children in your family, but even if it’s you as an adult with your dad and maybe some adult siblings, nobody’s going to think it’s too juvenile to spend time with your dad and have some classic family fun for old time’s sakes.

Perhaps your dad really appreciates help around the house. You could help clean up his workbench. Or if you’re really committed, help him with a bigger project like painting the garage, tuning up a car, or whatever he might currently be doing on his Saturdays.

And if you’re all having a classic Father’s Day cookout, offer to do the grilling for him; of course, if he really loves grilling, he may prefer you share the responsibility.

If you don’t know what he’d like help with, give him options. Kids can give their dads chore coupons for household tasks, and adult offspring can take the idea to the next level by making coupons for more advanced tasks like an oil change or hedge-trimming.

Are you still completely out of ideas? Do what he wants to do. Whatever he’s passionate about, do it with him. Whether that’s building things, gardening, restoring a car, or even building a model railroad, offer to do it with him. Just as we said in our Mother’s Day gift-guide (and if you missed that one, bookmark it for next year) everybody appreciates the gift of time spent together.

The old joke about giving gifts to your parents goes that while moms play coy and don’t tell you what they want, dads will be all too quick to tell you what they don’t want.

While we know people are more complex and varied than that, sometimes it’s a good mental exercise to play by the so-called rules. Whoever you’re gifting for, consider what you can’t get them, and think about how creative you can be within the realm of what you can do.

For a holiday like Father’s Day, a quintessential dad will probably appreciate the ingenuity.

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