He’s the first one I call when I get a flat tire. He spent a fair amount of time checking the closet for monsters, opening jars and reaching things. And although he may not have to spend hours at dance competitions anymore, he now has to constantly field calls from me to rationalize my Vanguard investment decision, offer advice on how to negotiate my salary and hear about the spicy chicken sandwich I ordered for lunch.
Dads are the best.
(My dad, specifically, is the best. But I’ve heard I’m biased on this.)
Because, well, if it weren’t for my sister and me, he’d probably have enough money now to retire to a private island. Or, knowing him, he would be retired and somewhere in Yellowstone National Park, grilling hot dogs on an open fire with nary a day-timer in sight.
The point is: I was expensive.
All kids are.
Even without the 2398486454 dance costumes he bankrolled (love you! Yes, the a/b crystals were worth that extra $30!), there are basic costs associated with parenting.
Like, the kid has to eat.
I wasn’t spoiled by any means, but I always knew where my next meal was coming from and never truly suffered — and that’s something for which I have always been very conscious of and very grateful. There are too many kids in this world who are hungry.
My parents lovingly provided, and they made sure I knew the value of a dollar, too. But more on that later.
It’s not just me. According to a 2016 report by the USDA’s Center for Nutrition Policy and Promotion, the average kiddo costs $233,610 to raise.
The report estimates that “for a child born in 2015, a middle-income* married-couple family will spend between $12,350 and $13,900 annually (in 2015 dollars) — or $233,610 from birth through age 17 — on child-rearing expenses. Families with lower incomes are expected to spend $174,690.”
That’s a crap ton of money. Technical term.
While the discussion on costs of child-rearing is fascinating, it may be a little weighty for this post. Let’s circle back to the pros and cons of that later.
Father’s Day. It’s a lovely, corporately created sentiment designed for a culture of consumerism. But it’s also a day when you can give a nod back to Dad and say thanks.
I should’ve named this post “Father’s Day, or Oh Yes, There Will Be Ads.”
Because if there’s anything a marketer loves, it’s a holiday where they can guilt you into buying more stuff that you don’t need. I should know, I am in marketing.
But you don’t have to fall prey to the cheesy home improvement ads. And unless you’ve been keeping an eye on something for awhile and know your dad could use it, you can go ahead and delete all 17 emails you have in your inbox featuring Father’s Day sales. There are so many ways to show appreciation without making a big purchase. Below are a few frugal ideas for Father’s Day gifts:
#1 Buy him a beer.
Show up on his doorstep with a six-pack of his favorite local brew. We’re big fans of Westbrook’s One Claw and Palmetto Brewing Company’s Huger Street IPA around here. Or, take him out to your favorite dive bar and sit side by side on barstools with a cold one. Better yet, get a 12-pack of some horrible, watery, refreshing light beer and meet Dad by the pool. Simple, easy, effective.
#2 Gift an experience.
If you do have the means to be a little bit more spendy, consider buying tickets to a ballgame or a concert that your dad would enjoy. Of course, if you can’t stand to be together, maybe stick with a refrigerator magnet. If you can, cater to his interests — don’t just buy something because you feel like you have to. Maybe you buy both of you a round of golf. I think my dad would rather I whack him over the head with the club than take us both golfing, but hey, maybe it’s for you. Although these may not seem entirely frugal from a purely financial perspective, it’s an investment in an experience and a new favorite memory. Some things are worth the spend.
#3 Print him pictures.
In this fast-paced digital age, our life can seem like a whirlwind of Facebook pics, iPhone albums and The Office memes. While these kinds of communication and sharing have made it faster and easier than ever to share memories or a laugh, it doesn't beat our holding a hard copy of that photo in your hand. I wish I would make the effort to keep real photo albums, or have the patience to create beautiful scrapbooks like my grandmother. But alas, if I can drag myself to CVS for a few shoddy prints, I chalk it up as a win. It’s a thoughtful, inexpensive way to show Dad a little love.
So there you have it! Three ways to show Dad how awesome he is without breaking the bank. What other ideas do you have for a frugal Father’s Day? I bet there are cute DIY projects out there, but mine always end up looking like a 4 year old did them. Let me know in the comments below!