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15 Father's Day Gifts Under $50

Geoff Williams

Still wondering what to get dear old dad for Father's Day? And worse, you don't have much money? Not a problem, and that's kind of normal. Dads tend to get cheaper and less extravagant gifts than moms, according to the National Retail Federation (it projected the public would spend approximately $19.5 billion for Mother's Day this year and $12.5 billion for Father's Day).

With that in mind, check out some of our gift ideas, culled from a variety of sources. These 15 gifts should cost you less than $50 -- some, way less.

Buy dad dinner. According to the National Restaurant Association, Father's Day is the third most popular holiday to eat out (Mother's Day and Valentine's Day take the top honors, respectively). Some restaurants even have Father's Day specials. For example, at Spaghetti Warehouse restaurants, fathers eat free on June 15, and IKEA is offering a free brunch for fathers in many of its stores' restaurants.

Make him dinner. If your spouse is one of the country's two million stay-at-home dads who are presumably cooking along with parenting and cleaning, according to numbers from the Pew Research Center, this is an especially good idea (in addition to giving him a card or a gift).

[Read: What Dads Really Want This Father's Day .]

Grill out. If your dad is typically the one behind the grill, you could get him something interesting to cook, like lobster or Cluck 'n Moo burgers, which may be fun just for the name alone (although this half-chicken, half-beef burger has 52 percent less fat than all-beef burgers, which is another good reason). They can be purchased in a few stores, but you may have to order them from RastelliDirect.com. You can buy them online in bulk for less than $20 (not including the $14.95 shipping fee).

Personalize a gift. If your dad is a golfer, Golfsmith.com will let you personalize golf balls, tees and club links until June 15 for no extra charge, and they can each be had for under $50. (The only problem with this idea: The website says you should allow at least two weeks for processing and delivery.) If your dad isn't into golf, Zazzle.com offers a variety of personalized gifts for under $50, including aprons, T-shirts and magnets. You'll still be hurting to get any online gifts to him by Father's Day, however.

Buy him art. Check out Redbubble.com, an online marketplace where artists sell their original work. You might find something, like wall art or clothes or a cellphone case, for under $50. TenThousandVillages.com is a similar site that features art produced by artisans in developing countries.

Buy him chocolates. This might sound more appropriate for moms, but let's not stereotype: Dads like chocolate, too. Or, yes, let's stereotype and suggest something like chocolates from The Moonstruck Chocolate Co. (moonstruckchocolate.com), in Portland, Oregon. It sells chocolate with an alcohol filling, like the American Whiskey Flight Truffle Collection. For $15, you get six chocolates -- yes, only six, but those truffles have genuine whiskey in them.

Get him a weird gift. Think conversation starter. If your father has a sense of humor, Garbage Pantz (GarbagePantz.com) is a line of all-weather decorative covers that expand to fit most sizes and shapes of trash cans (cost: $14.95). Or get him a condiment gun at Firebox.com for $26.89. It looks a little like a water gun, only instead of water, it squirts condiments like ketchup and mustard.

[Read: Fathers Confess: Don't Make the Same Money Mistakes I Did .]

Buy him a gold panning kit. Again, if you want a unique gift, the Discovery Channel website (Discovery.com), based on its TV series, "Gold Rush," sells an "Official Gold Rush Gold Panning Kit." For $39.95, you can get your dad a 12-inch gold pan, glass vial, snuffer bottle, certificate of authenticity and a one-pound bag of dirt, which evidently contains real gold.

Get him tools. If he's handy, tools are always a good bet. But we're mentioning this because Craftsman sells a cap wrench bottle opener that retails for $14.99 (currently $9.99 on its website). It looks like a Craftsman wrench, but it's really a bottle opener. It's available in a lot of hardware stores (you can find out which ones at Craftsman.com), and if you order it online and get it gift-wrapped, you can opt for bacon-flavored wrapping paper.

Do a do-it-yourself project for your dad. If you're the one who's handy with tools, you can probably find some small projects around the house to tackle. Fix the loose porch step or put mulch in his garden.

Help him look better. The Dollar Shave Club (dollarshaveclub.com) has received a lot of attention lately as a place where men can get relatively inexpensive blades. It offers $25 and $50 gift cards, or you could take a gamble and sign him up for a membership for several months (prices: $1, $6 and $9 a month).

Meanwhile, Gillette recently came out with its Fusion ProGlide with Flexball Technology, which has a handle that adjusts and pivots as the shaver runs the blade along his face. It retails for $11.49 (one handle and one blade), so it's an expensive blade but a relatively cheap Father's Day gift.

Or go bigger and get your dad a $50 gift certificate to a hair salon, where he can get a shave and a haircut. He's worth it, right?

Get him an app. If your dad has a smartphone, you could get him an app, or maybe several apps, since many are free and plenty cost just a few bucks. No specific suggestions on what apps to get, since you know your dad. If he's into golf, there are apps for that. Maybe he loves fishing or "Star Wars" movies or classical music -- there are also apps for those. Heck, there's even an app for fans of "Columbo," the detective series. Whatever your dad is into, there's most likely an app for it.

[See: 10 Smartphone Apps to Boost Your Budget.]

Take a picture. Don't email it to him. Take a photo or have one taken at a portrait studio, and get it framed. What dad wouldn't want a framed photo of his kids or grandkids?

Offer him an experience. Take him to the movies, and you and your dad might be able to get in and out with popcorn for under $50. TravelZoo.com offers various things to do on Father's Day, most of which aren't under $50, but some are. For example, if your dad is a Mets fan, you can buy Mets tickets through the site for $12 (although fees of $1 to $7.25 and $6 per order will negate that a bit). You'll also find that some zoos and museums are offering free admission to dads on Father's Day, like the Birmingham Zoo in Alabama and the Florida Aquarium in Tampa. Start searching online, and you'll find somewhere to go with your dad on the cheap.

Spend time, not money. If you can't take your dad anywhere or get him anything, just hang out with him for the afternoon. Sure, presents are nice, but if your dad is like most fathers, spending time with you is probably the gift he will appreciate the most.

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