Sure, you could give your dad a gift card for Father’s Day, but why not make this year’s present a little more personal? Fortunately, it’s possible to give a thoughtful gift that’s also affordable, says shopping expert Trae Bodge.
“A great way to give Dad an affordable gift he’ll love—and use—is by making it a companion item for something he already has,” says Bodge. In other words, think about what your dad already likes to do and build on that. Here are some options for all types of dads.
Bonus: Want to give Dad a handmade gift? We’ve got some great ideas at the bottom of this article!
“Buy him a set of grilling tools,” says Bodge. “Or see what he already has and invest in one tool that’s most in need of replacement.” Want a no-cost gift? Clean the grill for him (it takes only a few minutes!).
“If Dad listens to music digitally, a Bluetooth speaker or new pair of headphones will give him new ways to enjoy his tunes,” says Bodge. If he likes his tunes analog, pick up original LPs at thrift stores and specialty record shops.
Get him a new travel pillow or toiletry kit to make him feel more at home when he’s on the road, says Bodge. Other on-the-go ideas? Buy him an organizer for his cords and chargers, a monogrammed luggage tag or a refillable water bottle.
“Is he handy?” asks Bodge. “Take a look at his stash of tools and see what he might be missing.” (Here’s how to build an easy tool kit.) Or consider a new set of drill bits or a compact wet/dry shop vac that’ll clean the garage and the car. Another option: Organize his workbench for him—it won’t cost you a thing.
Find a cool pocket square or pair of colorful socks that he can wear with his favorite suit, Bodge suggests. A lightweight scarf can be a sharp (and useful) accessory.
For the dad who always has the latest gadget, consider a portable charger or a home multi-USB hub that can charge several devices at one time. (And share our story with him about how to create a cutting-edge, connected living room.)
If he loves to cook, he probably already owns a heavy-duty stand mixer—but he may not have all of the accessories. A meat grinder, pasta maker or vegetable slicer and shredder are all cool add-ons. Or have his knives professionally sharpened.
He probably has all of the basic gardening equipment, so look for something specialized, like a pruner for his rose bushes or sturdy new cages for his tomato plants. Gardening shoes, gloves, a hat and sunscreen are perennial favorites.
“If he’s a runner or a gym rat, a holder for his smartphone or a moisture-wicking towel will help make his workout more comfortable and efficient,” says Bodge. Or get him a gym bag with a set of refillable bottles for his shampoo and other products.
Road Warrior Dad
If he spends a lot of time commuting—or loves to take trips in the car—Dad might like a new insulated travel mug that keeps liquids hot or cold, or an audiobook to listen to while he drives. And he’ll likely appreciate a first-aid kit or other emergency essentials for his car.
Instead of the obvious—another book—gift him something that’ll make reading more enjoyable, like a clip-on book light or a fun new pair of new reading glasses. You could also wrap up an oversized magnifier to help him to read books and magazines more easily, or get him a subscription (print or digital) to his favorite magazine.
Find an accessory he doesn’t have or something that needs a refresh. Maybe it’s a comfortable glove with a good grip, or a sun visor—anything to improve his game. And to help him stand out on the green, order some personalized, monogrammed golf balls.
Maybe he could use a new headlamp, to guide him to and from the campfire at night or light the way on trails before dawn. When the sun comes up, he’ll need a lightweight day pack with side holsters for water bottles. And you can also never go wrong with a multi-tool pocketknife, good for opening bottles or slicing into a steak.
Read more: Save money year-round with our monthly buying guide.
By Ellise Pierce
What Not To Give Dad This Father’s Day
Read on for a list of gifts to avoid this year—and what you should buy instead.
Ties are the safe go-to purchase for Father’s Day—they’re at every department store and come in a rainbow of colors and patterns. But frankly, the idea is played out, and how many ties does he really need?
The Switch: Instead of something that reminds him of work, why not help him feel relaxed on his special day? What he most wants is to spend time with you, so take him out to a movie, or join him for anything else he loves doing in his precious time off the clock. Experiences are always more memorable than material things anyway.
Fancy grilling tools may be marketed as Father’s Day musts, but we have a hunch Dad doesn’t need more items to clean and store. Depending on where you live, grilling season may only be for a few months, and you don’t want your gifts to go unused for months at a time.
The Switch: Rather than make him feel pressured to don a “Kiss the Cook” apron and stand over hot flames flipping burgers, let someone else do the cooking. Father’s Day is the perfect time to treat Dad to his favorite restaurant. Bonus: no dishes!
Tempted by late-night infomercials? Admittedly, some of those “as seen on TV” gadgets are pretty intriguing. But we’re guessing your Dad won’t be using a 30x sound amplifier or high-def night vision glasses by next Father’s Day.
The Switch: If your Dad loves being surprised and receiving deliveries by mail, what about giving him a shave club subscription? Other fun subscription box ideas perfect for the special father in your life: phone cases, retro candy, t-shirts and BBQ items.
It’s a labor of love to knit Dad a sweater or make him a homemade craft. While no Dad would be unappreciative of something his kid(s) made for him, and he’d proudly display a paper mache pen holder at his desk, things don’t provide the same long-lasting happiness as experiences do.
The Switch: Make a craft or meal together, or get creative with a “Take a Load Off” coupon book of offers of help around the house, like mowing the lawn. You can even pre-select one of the vouchers and tell him you’ll take care of that errand or chore on Father’s Day.
By Stephanie Levis
Next article: What Not To Give Mom This Mother’s Day
Bonus: Handmade Father’s Day Gifts
Brought to you by Playfull
● Print a personal image.
● Trace image onto the shiny part of the shrink paper, then decorate!
● Cut out a shape of your choice from shrink paper.
● Punch a hole for key ring BEFORE baking.
● Bake shrink film for 2–3 minutes at 350ºF.
● Attach the keychain ring, and you’re done!
● Cut out circles of your favorite photos.
● Glue photo circles onto wooden craft discs with decoupage glue.
● Add a second layer of decoupage glue over the entire face of the disc.
● Let dry.
● Spray with acrylic sealer.
● Hot-glue magnets onto the back.
● Take 9 popsicle sticks and divide them into 3 piles of 3.
● Hot-glue the first 3 popsicle sticks together and repeat with the other two sets.
● Set one stack aside.
● Align two popsicle stacks vertically and glue on 9 popsicle sticks horizontally.
● Flip the popsicle crate and glue on the final popsicle stack in the middle.
● Grab a brown paper bag and some colorful construction paper.
● Make 1.5” horizontal slits into the bag about 1” down from the top.
● Fold slits down and tape together, making a “collar” shape.
● Cut out tie shape from construction paper and tape it underneath the collar.
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