Last month when I wrote about affordable gifts for Mother's Day, it was an easy task for me. After all, I'm the mother of three kids, so I have a good idea what moms really want on their special day. But when it comes to Father's Day gift ideas, well, it's more of a struggle.
One Father's Day shopping survey ranked the gifts dads wanted most, and at the top of the list was a gift card to a favorite store. The number-two gift of choice was clothes. "Clothes? Really?" my husband asked. "Women must have filled out that survey." So to find out what dads really want on their special day, which falls on June 16 this year, I conducted my own informal survey on my Facebook page. And we reached out to men through the Kiplinger Facebook page. Turns out that some of the things dads would like are similar to what moms want. Take a look at these nine gifts dads really want, many of which are quite affordable or even free.
Peace and quiet. Like moms I know, several of my friends who are dads said what they want most for Father's Day is time alone to do as they please. "We are simple creatures," says my cousin Rick. "We really just want to do what we want."
Special treatment. My friend Josh says that he would love to be catered to all day. Ideally, he says, someone would order pizza for him while he watches TV in his man cave.
Handmade cards from the kids. Yes, dads appreciate sentimental gifts as much as moms do. My friend Brandon says that some of his favorite gifts are the cards his daughters make for him.
A grill or grill tools. Even if you already have a set, you always need more hot dog tongs or long-handled spatulas, says my friend Tom. If your dad values a good deal, though, you might want to wait until the end of summer or early fall to get a grill because prices drop by 50% or more then.
Tickets to sporting events. Sure, a family outing to a major-league baseball game will run you at least $150, but you can have the same experience at a minor-league ballpark for only $62. And minor-league parks generally let you get closer to the action. However, if Dad's heart is set on seeing a major-league game, see How to Save Money on Concerts, Sports and More to learn how to score discounted tickets.
Hunting and fishing paraphernalia. If your dad is the outdoors type, you can't go wrong getting him something he can use on hunting or fishing trips. If your dad's favorite past time is golf, see Ways to Pay Less for Golf for tips on how to save money on equipment and rounds of golf.
The latest gadget. A smart phone/tablet actually was the number-three gift choice in the survey I mentioned above. And men who responded to our informal survey also said they would like to receive tech gadgets for Father's Day. Unfortunately, this sort of gift can be pricey. But some tablets are on sale now (see Best and Worst Buys of June), and there are plenty of smart phones you can get for free when you sign up for a two-year service contract.
Booze. Yes, several men said they would like a six pack of good beer or a bottle of bourbon or Scotch for Father's Day.
Subscription to Kiplinger's Personal Finance. This is not a shameless plug. One dad actually said the best gift would be a subscription to Kiplinger's Personal Finance. For just $12, this is a gift that keeps giving.