Dads: they're not the easiest of people to buy for. A universal law seems to dictate that they already have 10 pairs of cufflinks, enough aftershave to sink a ship and that 'forgotten classic' record you thought was a rare find already sitting in their collection.
With Father's Day on the horizon (Sunday 17th June), you're likely to be already racking your brain over what to buy him. What's more, with summer fast approaching, the Diamond Jubilee and all your other costs to budget for, spending a small fortune on a present probably won't be an option (as much as he'd like a BMW and a yacht in Bermuda…).
So, with this in mind, how could you celebrate Father's Day without breaking the bank? Here are some ideas to get your imagination flowing.
- Do a household job. Dads may secretly love cleaning the car until it's showroom-sparkling, mowing the lawn and doing DIY around the house - but they're likely to enjoy an opportunity to put their feet up and watch the sport with a cuppa even more! Offer to do a chore (particularly if it's something he really dislikes) and let him take a well-earned break.
- Give him some free time to spend however he'd like. It may sound like a bit of a cop-out, but never underestimate how important a bit of 'Dad-time' is when they otherwise spend their days in a house full of kids and chaos! Getting everyone out from under his feet for the day so he can play golf, read a book, get on the Playstation or just lounge about on the sofa costs nothing - but can be priceless.
- Why not give him 'Dad vouchers'? It's the little things in life that can go a long way, and a coupon that 'buys' a bit of your time when needed could be the gift every father dreams of - e.g. 'this coupon hereby entitles you to a lift to the pub and home, so you can have a tipple' or 'this voucher entitles you to one whole week of brew-making'. You know your Dad best, so you can tailor the vouchers accordingly.
- Rather than going to an expensive restaurant, why not cook him his favourite meal? Whether it's steak and chips or a more exotic Indian dish, buying all the ingredients in bulk or from a wholesaler could save you £s, and you can impress him with your gastronomic skills - which he'll no doubt say 'run in the family'…
Check out our guide to cutting costs in the kitchen for some more kitchen tips!
- Personalise a gift. Whether it's a mug, mouse mat, T-shirt or beer glass, dads are generally big fans of just having 'stuff' - and customising it with a personal touch or tongue-in-cheek message could be the ideal way of ensuring it gets pride of place in the family home.
- If your Dad's a big music fan, consider making him a mix CD or playlist of all the songs that mean something to him. Whether it's Jimi Hendrix guitar solos, Bob Dylan's back catalogue or Tina Turner classics, you'll know his tastes and the tunes that match his moods better than anyone else - and it'll provide a soundtrack for life. Alternatively, print off all your digital photos and make a family photo album.
- Consider making your own card. Rather than going for the shop-bought option, you could get on the computer or get creative with paint and pens to customise your own memorable card with family photos, messages and personalised touches.
- If the family finances are tight, but your Dad is looking to save up for a big purchase - such as a holiday, a new car or a football season ticket - you could start up a 'Dad Fund'. If you stick some spare cash in a piggy bank for him every week, the savings pot could really grow over time - and help give him a ticket to his financial dreams.
You could also take a look at the thinkmoney guide to being a frugal man for some more tips - great for if your dad is pinching the pennies.
Following some of the more inexpensive ideas above could really save you some money, and because they require some effort, will still show your Dad that you care - and could give him the best Father's Day yet!