We already spend less on Dad than we do on Mom for their respective holidays, but gifts for Dad can still come with a hefty price tag. According to last year’s survey by the National Retail Federation (NRF), the average person celebrating Father’s Day planned to spend $134.75, up from $125.92 the previous year.
On one hand, that’s about $50 less than the $186.39 we planned to spend on Mom.
On the other hand, it’s still a big expense for tight budgets, especially on the heels of Mother’s Day just one month prior.
How can you spend less on the things you want Dad to have?
Give Dad what he wants.
Replace Expensive Material Items with Memorable Experiences
What Dad wants most is quality time doing fun things with the people he loves.
Last year’s NRF survey shows that many of us get it, with 48 percent of respondents saying they planned to take Dad on a special outing for Father’s Day.
But we just can’t seem to shake the impulse to buy him material things:
- 46.1 percent of us gave him clothes
- 23.9 percent of us gave him books or CDs
- 21.2 percent of us gave him consumer electronics or computer-related products
- 20.9 percent of us gave him personal care products
- 16.7 percent of us gave him sporting goods or leisure items
- 16.3 percent of us gave him tools or appliances
- 16.2 percent of us gave him home improvement or gardening supplies
- 16.1 percent of us gave him automotive accessories
Fortunately, the results of a Fatherly survey confirm that experiences matter more.
What Dad Really Wants
Hang at Home
An experiential gift doesn’t necessarily mean an expensive trip, dinner out, or front-row tickets to an event. In fact, 70 percent of dads told Fatherly they’d like to spend part of Father’s Day at home.
So, give him what he wants and:
- Make him breakfast in bed
- Organize a weekend barbecue
- Plan a game night with friends
- Make it a movie night with just you and the kids
You can always supplement the at-home gift experience with an outing that’s inexpensive or even free.
Get Him Out of the House
Whether it’s for a couple of hours or a full day, there are plenty of ways to get Dad out of the house without breaking the bank.
For outings on the shorter side:
- Go hiking or biking
- Pack a lunch for a picnic in the park
- Take the closest scenic drive
- Visit a museum or art gallery
- Go to the movies
For outings that last all day:
- Go to the lake or beach
- Visit a national park
- Visit a national landmark
Give some real thought to that last idea, as 21 percent of Dads told Fatherly they’d like to be surprised on Father’s Day with a trip to a national landmark they’ve never seen before.
Think he’s seen all the landmarks within a day’s drive?
You might be surprised.
Visit the National Parks Service website to search national landmarks by state. The list is probably a lot longer than you realize. Chances are good that there’s something on the list he hasn’t seen before.
Plan a Kid-Free Night Out
This might go against everything you believe Father’s Day should be about, but 35 percent of Dads told Fatherly they’d like to celebrate with a kid-free night out with their partner.
But here’s the thing – it doesn’t need to be on Father’s Day evening. Planning something on the Saturday night before Father’s Day, though, can be a great way to kick off his special day.
Again, no expensive dinner or front-row tickets necessary.
Consider these additional ideas:
- Go to the movies
- Go bowling
- Drive go-carts
- Hit balls at the driving range
- Play a round of mini-golf
- Find an art walk/crawl
- Go to a museum
- Find a free concert in the park
- Take a scenic drive to a point overlooking the city
Buy Him Something Experience-Related
If you can’t stand the thought of Dad not having anything to open on Father’s Day, give him something experience-related, like a game he can play with family or friends, utensils for the grill, or camping gear.
You know the kind of care Dad takes planning fun experiences for you and the family. What better way to celebrate Father’s Day than to do the same for him?
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