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When you’re rocking a budget, holidays can feel like a major stressor, especially if giving is one of your love languages (guilty!).
A great way to budget for holidays throughout the year is to build what’s called a sinking fund. Sinking funds are a part of your budget to help you save for things in advance. Think of them as virtual piggy banks. You can have multiple “piggy banks” running depending on what you’re saving for. Keeping track of these can be as easy as a spreadsheet or a note on your phone.
Here’s how it shakes out –– if I want to have a $300 budget for Christmas, I’ll start saving $25 a month in January or $50 a month in June. Either way, by the time December 1st rolls around, I’ll have enough in my sinking fund to fully pay for the presents I want to give in cash.
It might be a little too close to Father’s Day to start a sinking fund now, but that doesn’t mean you’re out of options just because you have a smaller budget. Fortunately, there are tons of gifts and experiences that are low or no cost and just as meaningful.
Here’s a list of both free and budget-friendly gift ideas to give the dad in your life.
$15 OR LESS
1. Hit up a local farmer’s market
I am a huge fan of local farmer’s markets! Of course, food and drinks might cost you if you decide to shop while you’re there, but often these events host live music and event games. It can be a great way to get out of the house and spend some quality time. Plus, you’re supporting local small businesses and artisans!
2. Take a drive down memory lane
If you live local to your hometown, take a drive (or walk!) with dad around some of your favorite spots as a kid. Old elementary schools, sports facilities, parks, or other memorable locations. It’s a great way to spend an afternoon and will only cost you the gas in your tank. If the dad in your life is your partner or spouse, take a drive to some of your favorite locations pre-kids!
3. Settle in for a movie night
Rent a movie on Amazon Prime, scroll through Netflix or Hulu, or hit up your local library for a selection of free movies! If you want, you can make it movie-theater-style with some popcorn or candy from the store (dad’s favorites, of course!)
4. Plan a picnic in the park
If the weather is looking nice, grab a blanket, his favorite foods, and a cooler and hit the park! As a fun bonus, bring a deck of cards or a board game to play with your family. This one’s pretty easy to do with items lying around your home plus a short trip to the grocery store.
5. Get crafty with old memories
Let’s go extra sweet! Find a box of old photos and grab an inexpensive scrapbook from your local craft store. Stick a few notes in between the photos of old memories for an extra sentimental touch. Are all your favorite moments on your iPhone? Use online stores like Mpix to print your digital memories!
6. A classic coffee date
Being from Seattle, I’m a BIG fan of this one. Find your favorite coffee shop, and take dad out on a date for some caffeine or baked goods. (Chocolate croissant, anyone?) Bonus points if you can find a shop with live music that day!
7. Take his whip for a carwash
If you can manage an excuse for borrowing his ride, take it to a local carwash for a squeaky clean shine. If he’s big on quality time, take him with you! Just make sure to blast his favorite music as you go through for the best experience ever.
8. The evergreen gift
This is a personal favorite –– head to your local plant nursery and grab a leafy buddy. Regardless of if your dad has a green thumb or not, there’s a plant out there for him. To stay in the $15 range, I’d recommend looking into succulents or even seeds. Gifting seeds and a few planting basics like pots or soil could make for an ongoing fun activity long after Father’s Day is over.
$30 OR LESS
9. Grab some grooming essentials
Grooming kits are surprisingly affordable and can make the dad in your life feel like a new man. Grab a beard kit with a brush, some shaving cream, and luxurious beard oil or balm. This could also be a great time to set him up with some new skincare!
10. Grab a beer at the local brewery
Local breweries are great stops for a casual but fun outing. Many local breweries have indoor and outdoor seating and usually a huge selection of board or lawn games. Play a round of cornhole or scrabble while you enjoy a brew with dad. Not a drinker? Many breweries offer non-alcoholic options –– and don’t forget the bar snacks!
11. Set him up with some self-care
Who says men don’t like bubble baths or even a good face mask? Head to your local Ulta, Sephora, or Target and build a self-care basket with a combination of face masks, Epson salts, foot scrubs, and whatever else you think he might indulge. Grab a facemask for yourself (and maybe a few cucumbers for dramatic effect), and have a mini dual spa night!
$50 OR LESS
12. Update his craft cocktail or coffee corner
Does dad love his craft drinks? Father’s Day is a great time to update his drink corner.
For coffee lovers:
Invest in that Chemex he’s been eyeing and maybe even a milk frother if he’s a latte lover. A selection of syrups can also add a little something-something to his coffee bar.
For cocktail drinkers:
There are so many great craft cocktail kits you can find online or at your local liquor stores. Take note of the drinks he loves to order when you’re out on a fancy date night and surprise him with the ingredients to bring his homemade cocktail dreams to life!
13. Make it a bundle
This is a fun one –– grab 3 or 4 gift cards to his favorite stores or restaurants. Mix and match a few categories like his favorite coffee shop, lunch spot, and clothing store. They don’t have to be large amounts, but the thoughtfulness of knowing his favs is sure to tug at his heartstrings.
14. Fulfill his bulk buying dreams
Think about purchasing a year-long membership to dad’s favorite bulk buying store! Basic memberships usually cost between $45-$60, and most bulk stores have great gas prices, too. You can turn this into a repeat yearly gift by re-upping his membership when it comes due.
Popular Membership Stores:
Sam’s Club Membership – $45
Costco Membership – $60
Whether you’re celebrating your dad or your partner, Father’s Day doesn’t have to come with an expensive price tag to make him feel special!