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Frugal Father’s Day gift ideas

Fathers Day Gifts

It’s that time of year again. The time to celebrate the fathers in our lives. Does anyone else struggle shopping for husbands or fathers (or both)? Father’s Day gifts are almost always hard for me!

This year, I recommend a fresh approach to Father’s Day gift-giving.

I recently read a fabulous book called The 5 Love Languages by Gary Chapman. This book teaches that there are five basic ways that we can express love, and some mean more to us than others.

To really honor someone, we need to learn to speak their love language. This can improve any relationship – with children, friends, siblings, partners, and parents.

Let’s consider how to apply these principles to honor the love of our lives this year for Father’s Day.

Words of affirmation

Does the man in your life beam when he is given verbal or written praise? Chances are his love language is Words of Affirmation. He might appreciate it if you:

  • Take the extra time to find the perfect card, even if it costs (gasp) $6. If this is truly his love language, it will be worth every penny. Or make your own, with meaningful words.
  • Make a video telling him specific things you appreciate about him. Get creative – maybe it could be an A to Z list (Awesome, Buys my favorite ice cream, Considerate of my feelings…).

Acts of service

Does the man you are honoring seem touched when you do thoughtful things for him? Chances are his love language is Acts of Service. Here are some ideas for him this Father’s Day:

  • Make a coupon booklet full of acts of service that you and the kids will do for him. For example, take out the garbage for a month, make his coffee for a week, take his car for an oil change, get something crossed off his TO DO list.
  • Buy something that will make his life easier and finish the project. For example, buy a shelf to organize his tools, and install it for him.

Meaningful touch

Does your man value physical touch more than other expressions of love? Some ideas to speak this language on Father’s Day:

  • Book a massage for him. This is my favorite frugal gift to give (and receive, in case you are reading this, honey!), because we have insurance coverage for a few massages each year.
  • Have the kids take turns rubbing his feet, scratching his back… whatever dad fancies.


If your man feels most loved when he receives gifts, make sure your presents are given on the actual holiday. Gifts do not have to be expensive to be meaningful, since “it’s the thought that counts” is especially true for these men. You could:

  • Make a scavenger hunt, with small thoughtful gifts that lead up to a larger gift.
  • Put together a basket of meaningful items that he enjoys (favorite DVD, popcorn, flavored coffee, and lounge pants).

Quality time

If your man feels most loved when you carve out time for him, you can honor him in this way by doing the following:

  • Plan a special afternoon or evening when you can have an uninterrupted time. Make sure he has your full attention.
  • Surprise him with the children and take him to a place he loves.

I hope this inspires you for meaningful Father’s Day gift ideas. We’d love to hear how you plan to celebrate. Want some more quick ideas? Keep reading.

Dinner or lunch

Dinner or lunch is always a great way to celebrate dad. I’m sure he would appreciate the night/afternoon off from cooking and cleaning up, right? Many places offer some type of promotion on Father’s Day, such as dad’s meal for a free or free dessert. Check around for the best deal!

Write a letter

Write a letter to your dad, reliving all of the wonderful memories you have with him and all of the things you have learned from him. Tell him how much you love him and what he means to you.


Bake a big cake in his favorite flavor and give him the first piece.

Photo album

Dad’s love pictures just as much as mom’s do, so why not make your dad a family photo album filled with pictures of all of the people he loves?

Clean the car

Clean out the car, vacuum and wash the outside. Dad will sure love to get into a shiny, clean car – without having to clean it himself!


Mow the lawn, pull the weeds – all of the stuff that dad does outside – do it for him! He will appreciate that he gets a break from the yard work.

Garage clean-up

Spend a few hours completely cleaning out the garage for your dad. Scrub the floors (YES, REALLY!), wipe down tools and cabinets and workspaces. Put everything away so it’s nice and clean and organized.

What are you planning to give dad this Father’s Day?


  1. Nicki

    Just another idea for you!…. I’m new, but I LOVE your site!

    Get some other dad’s and friends together for a pick-up match of your favourite game. Baseball, soccer, football, pick dad’s best sport and spend the day cheering him on. Don’t forget some hot dog’s, burgers and pop’s, as many of our city park’s already have BBQ’s, so you don’t even need to tote your’s along! Not only will he be thankful for the time with his friends, but he’ll spend the day with his favourite cheerleader’s, you, and your kids!

    • Joanna

      Great idea Nicki:-)Thank you.

  2. Heather R

    I have been meaning to read that book!

    • Karen

      I really recommend it – such a simple approach that can revolutionize relationships.

  3. Angela

    I know the love languages, but have not yet had the opportunity to read the book. Thank you for this post.

  4. Sara

    This is a wonderful book!!! It has improved our marriage and our relationship with our children. I recommend it to everyone. There are also free quizzes, online, to figure out what your love languages are. (Kids quizzes too.)

    • Karen

      Thanks for the endorsement Sara. It has helped my parenting a lot–I can understand when my Quality Time kid is getting moody that I haven’t filled his love tank lately. And my Touch boy loves back scratches and snuggly blankets, but this would not impress another son at all.

  5. Krista

    I read this book years ago – and have re-read it many times since. I’ve also recommended it to quite a few friends & those that have read it also enjoyed / benefited from it (one said it was the best relationship “self-help” book he’s read – and I’d agree!). Great book… and good article! Thanks for writing on this topic Karen.

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