Updated on 07.29.14

Eight Frugal Father’s Day Gift Ideas

Trent Hamm

For me, Father’s Day has always been much easier to understand than Mother’s Day, perhaps because I saw my father as a role model growing up and now I have become a father myself. I also find that most fathers I know like “open-ended” gifts – ones that they can continually get enjoyment out of over time or that free up time to do other stuff. In other words, there’s an abundance of frugal gifts that work well for Father’s Day. In fact, I myself would enjoy most of these gifts for Father’s Day.

dangerousThe Dangerous Book for Boys This is perhaps my top choice for a Father’s Day gift (I’ve waxed ecstatic about it in the past), simply because it is loaded to the brim with wonderful, nostalgic, and inexpensive activities that fathers and their children can do together. I almost think the titular “boys” refers to fathers more than children, actually.

Yard work Mow the yard, trim the weeds and bushes, clean up the flower bed, and so on. Do this while you’ve told your father to go out and do something fun, like playing a couple rounds of golf with his friends.

Car wash and detailing Take a few hours and focus on really making your father’s primary automobile clean, inside and out. Scrub the whole exterior, wax it, and clean out the entire interior, including spraying down all of the surface and vacuuming everywhere, including the seats and the cracks between them. It’s an awesome gift that he’ll really appreciate.

Garage clean up This is something that my brothers and I did for our father once and it was a smash hit. We basically scrubbed down the garage, turning it from a dank pit into a very nice, clean place. The key part was that we noted where every item of importance was before we started cleaning and we put many of them back in the exact place we found them, save some tools and things that had designated places, so he had no trouble finding anything.

makeMake Magazine This is another item I’ve been quite excited about for a while and is perfect for a father who loves to tinker with things. Much like the Dangerous book above, a lot of these projects can easily revolve around fathers and their children – the cover of issue #10 even pictures the editor and his daughter working on a project together.

Home maintenance work Similar to the yard work concept, you could do some home maintenance tasks to give your father the gift of some free time to enjoy a baseball game or something else he would enjoy. Don’t know what to do? Here’s a useful checklist of tons of ideas for regular home maintenance. Just write down all of the things that you did and present that to him – he’ll be thrilled.

Garden weeding My brothers and I did this for Father’s Day one year. We pulled a ton of weeds out of the garden, saved them in a bag, and gave him the bag of weeds as a gift. With the three of us working on it like madmen for several hours while my parents were off doing something else, we saved him many hours of work in the garden, freeing him up to do other things that he would enjoy instead of the relative tedium of weeding.

Communication Sometimes it is hard, but spending some time to really communicate how important your father is to you can be the best Father’s Day gift you can give. Don’t run to Hallmark and buy a card – spend a half an hour and try to write down on a blank card in your own words how important and wonderful your father is.

Loading Disqus Comments ...
Loading Facebook Comments ...
  1. catherine says:

    I love the ideas in your post, but I’m completely baffled by your opening line – surely these ideas apply every bit as well to one’s mother? After all, relieving her of the dusting/ laundry/ cooking/ cleaning/ general dogsbody duties is surely as laudable? How come you don’t ‘get’ that a mother deserves recognition for all that she does to keep a family going? Please explain!

  2. catherine says:

    I love the ideas in your post, but I’m completely baffled by your opening line. Don’t you think these would apply equally well for Mother’s Day? How come you don’t ‘get’ that mothers deserve a reprieve from the cleaning/ laundry/ cooking/ general dogsbody duties they do day in and day out that we totally take for granted? Please explain!

  3. Trent Hamm Trent says:

    Quite simple. I am not a mother. It is difficult for me to comprehend being a mother. I am a father, thus it is easier for me to comprehend being a father. When I was young, I knew I would never become a mother but I was also aware that I would potentially become a father, so I used my father as a role model for what kind of parent to become.

  4. Todd says:

    This is an article that is about Father’s Day, please do not take offense to the fact that we (as fathers) also get a day to celebrate. There was nothing in this article negative towards mothers, Mother’s Day was a month ago.

    Excellent article, I wish there had been a few more frugal (on the cash side) ideas, but well done.

  5. larfus says:

    I bought a copy of The Dangerous Book for Boys and I must say it really is a great book. My son enjoys the different things they show you how to do.

  6. Ryan says:

    Trent, if your wife doesn’t get you “The Dangerous Book for Boys”, she isn’t reading the site! I hope you have a nice frugal Father’s Day with your family.

    Take care,

  7. John says:

    Here are even more Father’s Day gift ideas: http://www.debonairmag.com/10_original_fathers_day_gifts.htm

  8. Amber Yount says:

    I feel completely horrible because I still haven’t gotten my dad anything….and I work in the mall! tsk tsk to me :*(

  9. Lexi says:

    Okay, I really need some help, and I hope this gets spotted before fathers’ day rolls around. But here’s my situation.
    My dad left when I was three, and I’m sixteen now, I just met him two years ago, and since then, we haven’t had much contact. I mean a phone call every so often, but that’s about it. I wanted to do SOMETHING for him, but I just don’t know what; because I don’t know what he likes, or what he doesn’t like, I’m at a loss.

    Any suggestions?

  10. Thalia says:

    I would suggest you do is talk to him, get to know what he likes. That is half the battle. Father’s Day is a celebration of fathers(I am on this site, too, for suggestions,)but it can be celebrated anytime of year. Meaning, after you get to know him, and what he likes you can get the gifts rolling. I know my father, and he can be distant. I prod until I get something from him. Good luck!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *