Father, mother, and young son having a picnic with piggy bank sitting on top of picnic basket.

10 last minute frugal Father’s Day gift ideas

Father’s Day is just days away and you’re still searching for the perfect gift for dad. You’re not the only one. In fact, most Father’s Day spending is on the day itself, going to dinners, brunches, and outings.

And then there’s the clothing and gift cards. A recent survey estimated that Americans will spend an average of $125.92 this year on Father’s Day gifts, a new record.

But you’re a saver, and you’re reluctant to miss your savings goal for this month by splurging on a single day.

The good news is that you can show dad how much he means to you without breaking the bank. These 10 last minute Father’s Day gift ideas are will make dad, and your budget, happy.

1. Treat dad to a father’s day picnic

Skip the fixed price brunch menu and opt for a more personal meal instead. Cook dad his favorite dish, grab some paper plates, and head to the backyard or a nearby park. Add a little flair to the feast by labeling your food and drink with these free Father’s Day printables

Plan some backyard games and set up a photo backdrop for memories with dad that will last a lifetime.

2. Make a DIY silhouette

Take pictures of the kids, set the contrast high with one of many free online image editors, print them out in black and white, and cut out the silhouettes to use as templates. All you need next is dark construction paper, a background (try maps, wrapping paper, or pages of old books), and adhesive.

More detailed instructions can be found here.  

As a bonus, this gift can be repeated year after year as your children grow.

3. Publish a family recipe book

Compile and publish a list of your family’s favorite recipes. Be sure to reach out to dad’s friends and relatives for their contributions.

A beautiful recipe book can be made with a composition book and contact paper. It’s okay to have blank pages at the end, you can continue to fill the book with new favorites.

More detailed instructions can be found here.

4. Create a personal book of your favorite memories, art, and stories

Online printers often offer affordable printing and binding options, but you can also just print everything off and bind it together with a hole punch and some colorful yarn. The pages can really be anything. Here are some content ideas to get you started:

  • Artwork
  • Lyrics of songs that you used to sing together
  • Favorite or original poems
  • Favorite or original short stories
  • Your favorite things about dad
  • Your cherished memories
  • Memorable photographs
  • The moments you were most proud of him
  • A list of things you’d like to do or places you want to go with dad

 5. Tell him how sweet he is

Head to dollar store, grab one of each candy bar, and think up some clever ways to tell dad that he’s the sweetest.

Here are some ideas:

  • Hugs and Kisses from your family
  • You bring us Mounds of Almond Joy
  • You're the best dad in the Milky Way
  • I wish I could give you 100 Grand
  • Take 5 on your special day
  • We would give you 100 Grand if we could
  • Love from your Nerds
  • Your Air Heads wish you a Happy Father's Day

6. Help him keep his place

These adorable personalized bookmarks are surprisingly simple to make.

Take picture of the kids hanging from the jungle gym, for the best effect. If no monkey bars are available, pictures with their arms and hands over their heads will work too. 

Print out the photos on your home printer, or at a local drugstore where prints over cost just pennies each. Cut your children out of the pictures, laminate or cover with contact paper, punch a hole, and tie on some thin ribbon.

More detailed instructions can be found here.

7. Create a personal portrait with chalk

Grab the sidewalk chalk and get creative designing a father’s day message. Have the kids lie or sit on the ground, then act out the theme. Here are some ideas:

  • Space theme: Best dad in the galaxy
  • Fishing theme: Our dad is the reel deal
  • Golf theme: My father is tee-riffic
  • Sports theme: We’re your #1 fans

8. Make homemade photo coasters

This clever gift idea is affordable, easy, and lasts for years.

A set of ceramic titles can be purchased for under $20 at your local hardware or home improvement store. The other materials you need are Modge Podge and acrylic sealer, which can be found at craft or hardware stores.

Print out your favorite black and white photographs of dad, and glue them to the tiles before coating with acrylic sealer.

More detailed instructions can be found here.

9. Design keychains from the heart

Grab some shrink plastic available at craft stores or online and allow the kids to get creative. Using permanent markers, have your family create original artwork, or trace and color in shapes using cookie cutters as stencils. It's also possible to use the clean plastic from your recycling bin. Here's a tutorial that show's you how. 

Bake the plastic in your oven according to the directions, and in a few minutes you’ll have a small treasure tough enough to keep keys together. Keychain clips can be found at your local hardware store.

More detailed instructions can be found here.

10. Personalize his own set of wooden kitchen utensils

An affordable set of bamboo kitchen utensils and a little bit of paint in dad’s favorite colors can become a surprisingly trendy kitchen set.

Mark lines with painter’s tape, and decorate with acrylic paint. The colors are completely up to you, but dad’s favorite sports team’s colors are a good place to start. Then seal with food-safe gloss.

The total cost of the project is under $10. More detailed instructions can be found here.


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