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What to Do For Father’s Day With No Money

On Father’s Day, we may not spend as much as on Mother’s Day. Still, according to the National Retail Federation, consumers plan to spend an average of $171.79 on gifts on Father’s Day.

The good news? There are plenty of affordable Father’s Day gifts and ways to celebrate if money is tight. And, by affordable, I mean next to nothing.

1. Wash and detail his car.

There is nothing men love more than their cars. That may sound like a stereotype. However, men develop personal relationships with their cars since they perceive them as extensions of themselves. Additionally, every car or truck has the potential to become a life-changing part of a guy’s world in terms of power, freedom, and adventure

As such, one of the best gifts you can give your dad is to clean and detail his vehicle. Make sure the interior and exterior are clean, and if he has the supplies to polish or wax it, do that as well. On Monday morning, he’ll proudly show off his freshly cleaned wheels.

2. Play ball!

Dads who love sports love to share their passion with their kids. So, why not get the whole family outside to learn and play your dad’s favorite sport?

If you want some quality one-on-one time with your old man, why not shoot some hoops? In case he’s not a basketball fan, try kicking a soccer ball, playing catch, or driving golf balls in the backyard.

Whatever sport he chooses, just go out and play.

3. Desktop pictures of a family.

You could change Dad’s computer wallpaper, smartphone wallpaper, or tablet wallpaper with a photo of his family smiling. As soon as he turns on his electronics, he’ll be reminded of just how loved he is.

4. Have a “Remember When.”

Make some time to sit down and reminisce. Regardless of whether he brings up only embarrassing stories from your childhood. But, if your dad was like mine, he loved retelling his adventures.

Family photos are optional. However, they can have a huge impact by making it more impactful. As Deanna Ritchie writes in a previous Due article, researchers found that people with positive memories are more likely to enjoy life when they recall and savor them. Compared with those who did not reminisce or actively engage in reliving happy experiences, those with an intentional practice reported greater happiness and satisfaction.”

5. Write him a heartfelt note.

Generally, people enjoy feeling loved and valued. It’s likely he’d appreciate a sticky note that simply reads, “I love you and I appreciate everything you’ve done for me.” It may sound sappy. But, I guarantee that he’d be humbled by the sentiment.

6. Take over his chores.

Make sure he takes Father’s Day off by doing all that he does. Some ideas would be:

  • Taking out the trash.
  • Grocery shopping.
  • Minor home repairs.
  • Lawn and yard work.
  • Give the grill a thorough cleaning.
  • Doing the laundry or dishes.
  • Helping out with your younger siblings.

Their weekdays are spent at work, and their weekends are spent doing chores around the house. Let them know they have a day off on Father’s Day. While he relaxes, you do the chores that are on his honey-do list.

7. Prepare a meal he’ll love.

Unless you have the ingredients already, you may have to spend some money on the recipe. However, it’s far cheaper (and probably healthier) to make your dad’s favorite dinner at home. Moreover, it’s a far more thoughtful gesture. And, you might just impress with your culinary skills.

8. Sort out his sock drawer.

It’s not always easy for busy dads to stay organized. Give Dad a helping hand by organizing his socks, T-shirts, and shoes this Father’s Day. It’s an unexpected little act of kindness that can make a big difference to his busy schedule.

What if your dad is meticulous with his clothing? Maybe you could offer to organize the attic, basement, garage, or his workbench.

9. Make acrostics.

Make a list of positive character qualities that begin with each letter of the father’s name if you are a wordsmith. Pen it in the best handwriting you can on a colored notepad or a tuxedo card, or type it and add an impressive page border to it.

This may seem like a small gesture, But, in writing, he can see what his child thinks of him, which may be quite meaningful to him.

10. Give him a call.

Does your dad live far away from you? There may not be enough time or money for you to visit him personally. Then, if you can’t see him in person, set aside some time to speak with him by phone — or, even better, video chat with him.

Get the conversation going by asking him questions. For example, discussing his favorite sports team or asking him how’s work going. I’ve found that reminiscing on what you did with him growing up also makes for an engaging phone conversation.

11. Spend time in the great outdoors.

It is no secret that fathers love outdoor activities. Spend Father’s Day hiking in the wilderness with your father. Get out of town for a hike.

Just makes that all the work should be done by you. Pack the hiking gear and food, for instance. Driving to the destination while your father relaxes is the best option if possible.

If he’s not much of a hiker, consider camping, fishing, hunting, paddling, or chopping wood for the winter.

12. Take the mystery out of technology

Keep your dad from thinking Twitter is a search engine. Instead, he should unlock the mysteries of the Internet, download some new books to his Kindle, or simply clear his laptop’s cache.

13. Bring other dads together for a game.

Have a pickup game in the backyard to honor all the dads you love. Invite friends, family, neighbors, and other dads you know. His friends, family members, or neighbors will enjoy the opportunity to catch up with each other as well.

14. Sing his favorite song.

What’s your dad’s favorite song? Mine was “(Sittin’ On) The Dock of the Bay” by Otis Redding. He always got a kick out of it when we all belted out it together. A family sing-along like this could become a tradition every Father’s Day.

If your dad jam, then bonus points if you and he can actually play this song together.

15. Make him a playlist.

Speaking of music. There is no language like music, is there? You might want to put together a playlist for him if you know what type of music he enjoys. A dad-centric one could also be created.

16. Schedule a movie night.

Choose to screen your dad’s favorite movie and invite the entire family to watch it with you. There is something fun and cozy about this intimate celebration. In case you would like to improve the event, invite his friends and their families as well.

Don’t forget to have his favorite snacks on standby whether that’s popcorn, Milk Duds, hummus, or jerky.

17. Drive around.

A neighborhood road trip is a great way to spend time with your family. Pack up the family picnic and go for a drive. Take Dad to some of his favorite local parks or other settings to spend some quality time together.

My siblings and I used to do this with our dad. He loved telling us stories about driving around with his dad where they would grab some french fries and help turtles cross the road.

18. Invite your family to dinner.

It can be difficult to get everyone together for a sit-down dinner when kids and families have so many different commitments during the week. The whole family should make a promise to Dad on Father’s Day, and a family dinner should be enjoyed.

And, to save money, make it a potluck where everyone brings a dish. Ideally, these should be all of your dad’s favorites.

19. Build something together.

Handmade, from-the-heart projects promote quality time, hold more sentiment, and better match each father’s personal style than another tie or screwdriver. It doesn’t matter if you need ideas for your dad, your husband, or even your kids to do, here are some DIY projects you can do this Father’s Day:

  • Plant a garden or tree.
  • Assemble furniture.
  • Install a fire pit.
  • Build a birdhouse, workbench, or bookcase.
  • Arts and crafts, like homemade cards or drawings

20. Introduce him to something new.

Try reversing roles. Share a skill you know with your father that he does not.

For example, I showed my dad how to list items on Craigslist and Facebook Marketplace. Afterward, he was able to sell the junk that he had accumulated throughout the years.

If you’re not sure what your dad wants to know or learn, just ask him. However, don’t forget to commit to it and begin the lessons on Father’s Day.

21. Keep his legend alive.

On Father’s Day, some families observe memorials for deceased fathers because the father has passed away — which is something my family is dealing with this year. While the father does not know how his family is coping without him, he would want them to have a positive experience if he did.

Celebrate precious memories with each other to cheer each other up. Let each person recall a lesson he taught during his lifetime. To preserve memories for this and future generations, tell or write the stories.

[Related: 25 Holiday Gifts for Dad That Don’t Break the Bank]


How many fathers are there?

In the United States, there are approximately 72 million fathers. Of those fathers, 29 million are grandfathers as well.

When was the first Father’s Day?

An event honoring fathers in West Virginia was held on July 5, 1908, the same year Mother’s Day began. On this day, 362 men were remembered who perished in a mining explosion the previous December at the Fairmont Coal Company.

Although this day did not become an annual tradition in the town, it did set a precedent for dads everywhere to have their own day.

What state first celebrated Father’s Day?

Sonora Smart Dodd had the idea to start Father’s Day in 1909 while listening to a sermon at her local church celebrating Mother’s Day. After her mother died during childbirth, Dodd’s father, a Civil War veteran, and widower, raised six children on his own.

In an effort to coordinate the recognition of fathers across Washington, she contacted local church groups, government officials, YMCAs, businesses, and other official organizations. In 1910, Dodd’s Father’s Day campaign culminated in the first statewide celebration.

What is the date of Father’s Day?

As the original date of Father’s Day turned out to be unrealistic, the third Sunday of June has been chosen as a compromise.

Originally, Dodd planned to observe the holiday on June 5 to coincide with her father’s birthday. In response to the mayor of Spokane’s request for more time, however, the event was moved to the third Sunday in June.

Originally, Father’s Day was celebrated on June 19, 1910.

When was Father’s Day recognized as a national holiday?

The first nationwide proclamation of Father’s Day was issued by President Lyndon Johnson in 1966. According to Johnson’s proclamation, on June 19, 1966, “I invite State and local governments to cooperate in the observance of that day; and I urge all our people to give public and private expression to the love and gratitude which they bear for their fathers.”

However, Johnson’s proclamation didn’t specify what would happen on Father’s Day the next year, and the Joint Resolution agreed on“the third Sunday in June of 1966.” The federal government didn’t officially recognize Father’s Day until President Richard Nixon signed Public Law 92-278.

Featured Image Credit: RDNE Stock project; Pexels: Thank You!

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