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Finances Play a Big Role in Picking out Father’s Day Gifts

If I was a father I would want to live in France right now. Not because of their shortened work hours, food, or skinny women. Instead I’d want to be a father there because in France families spend just as much on Father’s Day gifts as they do on Mother’s Day gifts.


See in America we show love for our mom’s in a bigger monetary way than we do our fathers. Spending on Mother’s Day gifts are about 30 percent higher than they are for dear ol’ Dad. This trend is much the same around the world, except for France where people spend about the same amount on moms as they do for dads.

But it’s not all bad news for American dads this year, spending on father’s day gifts is expected to rise two percent this year over last year. The average American will spend about $120 on a gift for Dad. That number makes sense to me, that’s about how much I was expecting I would spend on my dad’s gift.

The problem for me isn’t how much I should spend on my dad’s gift; it’s what to buy him. Every year the man tells me he doesn’t want anything. But I can’t do that. It feels wrong to not get my dad a Father’s Day gift. So every year I hem and haw over what to get him.

Most dad’s get neckties or car accessories as gifts. That won’t do for my dad. He’s retired and hasn’t worn a tie since; I think he made a vow to never wear one again. And since he worked for an automotive company his whole career he has pretty much every accessory for his car already. So I’m on the hunt for a gift still…

Maybe I should consider giving him tools. I know they are a popular Father’s Day gift. The same report that said spending on gifts for dad this year will rise also said stores who sell tools will see an uptick in this sales category. It makes sense. Tools only go on sale twice a year, the two weeks before Father’s Day and the last week in November, Black Friday to be more specific. I guess since folks have a bit more money in their pockets this year because of the improving economy and home prices it makes sense they would be willing to buy a bit more expensive item for dad.

A few years ago I went this route for a Father’s Day gift…until I got to the tool aisle in Home Depot. There were so many tools to choose from! I had no idea what to get him. Not to mention all the accessories and add-on’s they make for tools that make the decision on what to get him that much harder. I’m pretty sure I walked out of the store empty handed that year.

If your dad isn’t much of a handy man or you have no idea what tool to get him like I did, then maybe you want to go the complete opposite direction and get him a tech gift. Electronics is another category research firm IBISWorld says will see an increase in sales for this June holiday. The Apple iPad will run you $500+, so for the average American that gift is a bit out of reach. But if you really want to get dad a tablet you can get him a Nook or Kindle, both of which are more in line with the predicted $120 budget Americans have.

Maybe your dad isn’t a techie or interested in the latest, greatest gadgets. In that instance a gift for his man cave might be a better fit. If your Dad is lucky enough to have a man cave at the house, then getting him gifts for his special room is a good idea. Update what he reads while hanging out down there with a magazine subscription for sports, or a hobby of his like hunting or golf.  You could also get sports memorabilia to hang on the walls of his man cave, perhaps a framed poster or jersey of his favorite team. The good thing is that there are a lot of options for man cave room gifts.

The most highly rated gift for dad is one that doesn’t come wrapped in paper or stuffed inside an envelope. Year after year dad’s say their favorite gift is an experience. Most dads would rather do an activity together than feign excitement over opening a gift for a necktie or t-shirt. Gifts like golf outings, movie theater tickets, sports tickets, fishing trips, batting cages, are all experiences Dad’s would love.

Admittedly your options for sporting events are limited by June. Basketball is over, unless you live in San Antonio or Miami.  Hockey is wrapping up too and football doesn’t start up again till September.

Baseball though is in full swing. A bonus is that baseball tickets are among the cheapest sports tickets to buy. You can get decent seats at most stadiums for $40 a pop. Check out fansnap.com or stubhub.com for deals on baseball tickets. And truthfully going to a game is more about spending time with your Dad and sitting in the warm sun than it is about the game at this point in the season.

No matter what experience you choose though, check out daily deal websites like Groupon and Living Social. They’ll be offering really good deals on experience gifts like sporting events all the way up until Father’s Day.

Of course Dad’s, just like everybody else loves getting gift cards. Behind meals out and sporting event tickets, this is the third most purchased gift for Dad’s. Whether it be for iTunes, Amazon or their favorite store Dad’s love getting themselves exactly what they want especially when they have someone else’s money to buy it with.

As for what I’m getting my dad I can’t say. He reads my weekly letters for money saving advice just like you do (hi Dad). I don’t want to spoil the surprise and make him act surprised when he finally opens his gift two Sundays from now.

Whatever gift you are planning on getting your dad don’t wait too much longer to buy it. Father’s Day is only a week and a half away. You are running out of time, especially if you need to buy it online and it needs to be shipped to your home. If you’ve got a particularly good Father’s Day gift share it with us in the comments section on lopmatrix.com.

Talk to you next week!

Keeping Money in Your Pocket,

Nancy Patterson


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