Frugal Father’s Day gifts

June 13, 2013

By Sheryl Smolkin


Maybe it’s because I’m a Mom and not a Dad, but coming up with creative gifts for the men in my life has always been a challenge. When my husband and I were first married he loved the gourmet picnic basket I put together. And years later he said the cordless drill I got him was the best gift ever. But these flashes of brilliance have been few and far between.

So in order to write this blog I used my trusty friend Google to help me come up with a list of frugal Father’s Day gifts that doesn’t include ties, socks or underwear. With thanks to fellow bloggers who are more innovative than I am, here are some ideas.

  1. Car detailing: A car wash with inside and outside detailing can cost $100 or more. If you play your cards right, you can charm your kids into providing the labour while you manage the project.
  2. Garage cleanup: Does the division of labour in your home dictate that Dad is responsible for spring and fall garage cleanup? Give him a break. Take a few hours to get rid of accumulated junk and make more space for the bikes and gardening supplies that resurface every spring.
  3. Barbecue: Sticking with the cleanup theme, think about vacuuming, de-greasing and even painting the barbecue to give it a new lease on life. You can also up the ante by buying a new set of inexpensive barbecue tools.
  4. Gadgets: My guy loves to cook and he loves gadgets. His latest purchase was mini muffin tins with a small ice cream scoop to fill them. Look for small inexpensive gadgets related to your husband or father’s hobbies.
  5. A shopping trip: I consider shopping for clothes as retail therapy. Many men view shopping for themselves as a necessary evil. Make the time to accompany your husband or father to the mall and help him select an attractive item he might never purchase himself.
  6. Special treats: Even the youngest children can help bake and ice a cake or cookies with “Dad” spelled out in chocolate chips or raisins. If they last long enough, special treats can be tucked into his lunch bag along with notes or original art work for days after.
  7. Tickets: For sports mad Dads, an outing to a hockey or football game may be just the ticket. While major league games can be very expensive, there are many local teams and tournaments that are great entertainment for the low price of admission.
  8. Framed photos: Some Dads are the family photographers, so they rarely appear in group pictures. Arrange a family photo shoot with a professional or a talented friend. Frame one or more pictures for his desk.
  9. Chores: Whether it is walking the dog, taking out the garbage or mowing the lawn, children of appropriate ages can make coupons for Dad to take over some of his chores.
  10. Memories: If your father has passed away, take some time to share memories with grandchildren and other relatives who didn’t know him or may no longer remember him. It may be a great time to start a family tree online to build and preserve memories for future generations.

Do you have ideas for frugal Father’s Day gifts? Send an email to so*********@sa*********.com and share your ideas with us. If your story is posted, your name will be entered in a quarterly draw for a gift card. And remember to put a dollar in the retirement savings jar every time you use one of our money-saving ideas.

If you would like to send us other money saving ideas, here are the themes for the next three weeks:

20-Jun Graduation How to use social media to find a job
27-Jun Summer activities Inexpensive summer activities for kids
4-Jul Summer vacation Visit Canada. Take a road trip.
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