7 Cheap (or free) Gifts for Your Rich Dad

June 12, 2013    |    By +
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cheap fathers day gift ideasThey say that today’s young adults are going to be the first generation to make less money than their parents. And if your Dad has done especially well, you might be struggling to think of something to get him. He’s on a steak and fine-wine budget and you’re on a burger and beer budget. Besides, he’s picky, has everything that he wants and knows what “good” is, so you have to go all out to impress this guy, whether you’re on a budget or not. Well, that’s where I come in! I’ve found some ideas that will polish up that Rich Dad/Poor Kid situation and make it a beauty. It comes down to one thing, kids, and that is quality time. You can spend zero dollars and give the best gift ever if you plan things right.

Are you on a shoestring budget and already have an idea of what you’re getting the old guy? Don’t keep it to yourself … share the wealth (of ideas that is) by commenting below.

Record His Memoirs

Get inspired by “Story Corp” and record a chat with your dad where you ask him about an important part of his life like when you were born, for example. Or, what were his favorite toys? What has he learned about life that he wishes he knew way back when? Don’t forget to take a photo of the two of you on that day too!

Challenge Him

Plan a game tournament at home. Successful dads like a good challenge and test of their wits so this is the perfect afternoon for them! Scrabble, chess, monopoly, Sports themed trivial pursuit, UNO, there are tons of options for fun board games that you can play as a family, on teams or one on one. Bring some snacks and/or drinks to liven up the event and be easy on the guy.


Roll Out

Go for a bike ride. This was one of my favorite things to do with my dad. I’ll always remember our epic bike rides and the chats we had along the way. Taking another ride with dad and the family as an adult is free, great exercise and a lot of fun. Something about riding a bike makes you feel like a kid again no matter how old you are.

Visit Memory Lane

Bring out the old home movies. Dad will love seeing all of those moments captured on BETA-max or VHS, as long as you still have a player. Otherwise, dusting off the old family photos is just as fun. Make sure you ask him questions about your favorite pictures to get the whole story.

Personalized Photo Box

Be Chef for a Night

Cook for dad at his house! Making steaks at home is a lot more affordable than going to the local steakhouse. It might cost you a few bucks, but if you’re good in the kitchen this could be the Father’s Day plan for you. Make sure you set the table like a restaurant and plan your timing carefully. Don’t make dad wait two hours to eat after you arrive. And don’t make him ask just do the dishes like a good kid.

Park It

Go to the park. If dad likes it outdoors and can handle the summer heat then take him to the local State Preserve. Pack some lawn chairs, grill friendly food and picnic snacks. Play a game of horseshoes or bocce ball and go for a walk. If the park allows, you could even drop a line in the lake or river and test your luck with the fish.

Vinyl Horseshoes

Catch a Flick

If you want to go the old fashioned route and just buy something, get him a personalized fandango gift card.

You can customize it with a photo of the two of you so that he thinks of you whenever he uses it to catch a movie at his local theater. Fandango gift cards are good at most major theaters but you can check their website to make sure dad’s town is covered. And, if he’s lucky, maybe you’ll go to the show with him!


That ought to get you started in planning your high-quality, low-budget gifts for Dad. If not, ask me a question about your specific situation and I’ll do my best to answer.

See more gifts for dad that we’ve picked for every type of father, and every type of budget.


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Kathryn D.W.
Kathryn Drury Wagner is the senior manager of content at Gifts.com. She was formerly the executive editor at Honolulu Magazine, and is the author of The Ultimate Guide to Shopping on Oahu. Her career has included staff positions at Country Living Gardener and Power & Motoryacht. Her latest book is "Hawaii's Strangest, Ickiest, Wildest Book Ever!"

Gwen P.
Gwen is the Editorial Curator at Gifts.com. In addition to writing blogs, she creates gift guides, curates the site, and produces content for our social media channels. As a freelance writer, she created blogs on fashion, art, travel, health and lifestyle. A talented jewelry designer, she's also a yogi and a hospital volunteer with her therapy dog, Lilo, a Pomeranian.