Last month, we offered up some low-cost, last-minute ways to celebrate your mom on Mother's Day. Now we're doing the same for dear ol' dad. We've gathered some tips from various websites, including WiseBread.com and About.com. In no particular order, here are 10 low-cost, but heartfelt, Father's Day gift ideas:
1. Fund a dream
Every dad would like to have some luxury that's slightly out of reach: a new car, a vacation trip, a fancy sports item or cool new tool or gadget. Get him started toward his goal by creating a "Dream Fund." It can be as basic as labeling a jar filled with loose change or opening a special savings account. It's not the amount that counts, but that you support his dream.
2. Car wash
Grab a bucket, some cleaning supplies and a window squeegee. Then get busy washing and polishing your dad's car or truck. Don't forget to shake out the floor mats and vacuum the kid crumbs off the seats.
3. Custom golf balls
If your dad's a golfer, here's a fun one: Personalized golf balls. Using your permanent markers, take 12 old golf balls and color them up: his favorite sports team (Giants' black and orange, anyone?), family caricatures, goofy faces, the possibilities are endless. For a novelty presentation, put the decorated golf balls in an empty egg carton.
4. Brown bag it
Does dad take his lunch to work each day? Make up tickets that promise you'll make his favorite sandwich and bake a special dessert daily for a week. Decorate brown bags or splurge on a new insulated lunch tote. Don't forget to tuck in a funny note each day.
5. A day off
Make this Sunday - or let him pick a future date - that's his alone to spend exactly how he wants: watch TV, hit the bike trail, putter in the garage, head to the golf course, hang out with the guys. It's an all-day pass to do exactly what he wants: even if it's just sitting on the couch.
6. Meal deals
Some restaurants and fast-food outlets are offering special Father's Day deals for dads. TCBY Yogurt, for instance, is offering all dads 6 oz. of free frozen yogurt on Sunday. Buca di Beppo, the Italian restaurant chain, is giving dads a free cannoli dessert if you print out the online coupon.
Search online to see if your dad's favorite restaurant is offering something special. Most are good for dine-in only and only on Sunday, June 16.
7. Get crafty
Sites like About.com's Frugal Living offer crafty, low-cost gifts you can make yourself: paperweights, photo frames, mouse pads, even a duct tape wallet. If your dad likes ties, buy a cheap one at a thrift shop and personalize it with paints. Or make a photo collage or favorite photos of the two of you.
On Saturday, the West Sacramento Ikea store, at 700 Ikea Court, is offering a free pre-Father's Day craft activity from 2 to 4 p.m.
8. Garage/garden cleanup
Surprise dad by putting in some muscle to free him up from chores. Spend a couple hours organizing, cleaning and sweeping out the family garage. (Just don't throw anything significant away.)
Ditto for dad's yard or garden: Pull weeds, rake leaves, trim shrubbery. We saw an online post by a couple of sons who gift-wrapped their bag of weeds, just to show Dad how much work they'd accomplished on his behalf.
9. Board, not bored
Most every dad has a favorite board game that he played growing up: from Parcheesi to Pictionary, Monopoly to dominoes. Bring back some retro, childhood nostalgia and organize a game hour with one of his favorite board games. Don't forget some favorite snacks, too.
10. Thank you, Dad
Perhaps the ultimate gift is just telling dad how much he means to you. Putting words on paper that he can read and re-read is one of the easiest, least expensive but most memorable gifts you can give. List 10 things he taught you or write a short story of how he influenced you. Or make a video or digital greeting. Talk about a funny family outing, a special vacation, your favorite memory growing up.
No matter the medium, a "Thank You, Dad" message is straight from the heart, not the wallet.