Shopping for the fathers and father figures in our lives seems to get more challenging, and expensive, every year.
This year, shoppers are expected to spend $138.97 on average for Father’s Day, a record high according to a survey from the National Retail Federation.
But you don’t have to spend a small fortune to show Dad you care. Experts share their affordable gift recommendations for the June 16 holiday. Check out these ideas, all under $50.
1. Smart speaker
Gadget-loving dads will appreciate a speaker that doubles as a voice assistant, like the Amazon Echo Dot or Google Home Mini. These devices can play Dad’s favorite music, tell him sports scores and help keep track of his busy schedule. The Home Mini is on sale for $29 (regularly $49) at Macy’s.
2. Gift card
A gift card or certificate can be a practical — and flexible — choice. It allows Dad to pick what he wants so he doesn’t have to return anything, says Katherine Cullen, senior director of industry and consumer insights at the NRF. Or you can get him a gift card for an experience together or buy something related to an activity you both like.
Most retailers sell cards of assorted values or allow you to load a specific amount onto a card, so you can stick to a price that’s within your budget.
3. Subscription service
What do you get for the man who has everything? How about a subscription for something he wants, needs or uses regularly, says Jon Lal, CEO and founder of cash-back website BeFrugal.
“You can get a subscription service these days to everything from a monthly delivery of beef jerky to a shaving club,” Cullen says, “… and it’s something that reminds him of your love throughout the year.”
Subscription costs vary, but you can find plenty of options under $50 or give just a few months rather than a full year. A three-month Book Club subscription to Culture Carton, which gives the recipient one book per month, costs $48.
Dad deserves to take a load off every now and then. Help him relax at the beach, while camping, or in the backyard with a hammock. The AmazonBasics lightweight double camping hammock sells for $29.99 on Amazon.
5. Slow cooker
For the dad who likes to cook, or wants to get in the habit, a slow cooker might be just the ticket to easy, delicious meals. Many stores sell different sizes at various prices, so you can find the one that works for him and your budget. Target has a 7-quart Crock-Pot for $34.99.
Feeling extra generous? Pair it with a recipe book, like the “Slow Cooker Cookbook: 500 Recipes for Everyday Cooking” by Jeff Jones, about $10 from Amazon.
6. An experience
Sure, it’s the thought that counts, but taking action is even better. If possible, spend the day together doing an activity Dad enjoys.
“Time, effort and attention, that’s the greatest gift of all,” says Daniel Post Senning, author and spokesperson for the Emily Post Institute, an etiquette organization. “You can often show thought by choosing something that’s related to a passion or interest.”
If you need inspiration, “think about the season,” Lal says. “It’s the month of June. What does he do in the summer?” Here are a few free or cheap ideas: Grab your fishing gear and spend a day out on the water, go for a hike or catch a movie. You can purchase a pair of Cinemark movie tickets for $16.98 at Sam’s Club.
7. Make something yourself
A do-it-yourself gift is more than frugal. It’s also meaningful.
“Think about things that cost you in time and effort but maybe not as much in terms of your pocketbook,” Senning says. “Maybe it’s a picture of you and Dad that you give in a picture frame or the thing you write to him about what it is he means to you.”
Get as creative as you like. Decorate a coffee mug, treat him to a homemade dinner or make his favorite snack. A tamale-making kit from Williams Sonoma costs $29.95.