Shopping Last-Minute for Dad? Here Are 10 Ways to Stick to Your Budget

Just say no to ties, socks and underwear this year. Get your dad something he'll really love instead.

You know Father’s Day is coming, but somehow it sneaks up on you every year. Mother’s Day is hard to ignore — after all, we’re practically blanketed with commercials and print ads — but dear old dad can fall by the wayside. So here you are, days before Father’s Day with no gift strategy. You want to give your favorite father something special but you don’t want to pay a fortune. Here are 10 ways to do that.

1. Use Coupons… & Get Ideas

Sites like Coupons.com and Dealnews.com have blog posts about gift giving holidays. They’ll include deals on gifts you might already be considering, but they also have budget-friendly suggestions if you need ideas. Also keep in mind that coupons can help you save year-round.

2. Get Cash Back

A number of online retailers have cash-back offers, especially with Father’s Day around the corner. The easiest way to find out about these offers is to use a Chrome desktop extension, like the one from CouponCabin.com. It installs in seconds and notifies you of available cash-back offers as you shop online. You can get more cash back by using your cash-back rewards credit card. Don’t have one? Check out some of our favorites here, but also make sure your credit is in good standing before applying. You can get your two free credit scores on Credit.com.

3. Pound the Pavement

At this late date, you’ll likely pay expedited shipping fees to get your package on time. The one good thing about waiting until the last minute is that it’s an excuse to patronize your local merchants instead of shopping online. These shops need your business and you’re more likely to find a beautiful gift you’d never find browsing on your laptop.

4. Do It Yourself

You know what dad would really appreciate? Something you’ve made yourself. He loved that macaroni necklace you made in first grade and he’ll love what you make now. You can find tons of ideas on Pinterest by searching “Father’s Day crafts.” A lot of them are geared toward kids if you want to get your little ones in on the action, but there are good ideas for adults, too, like hand-painted signs and creative food gifts.

5. Buy Handmade

Not crafty? Buy from someone who is. Etsy has an array of handmade items. These craftspeople don’t have the overhead of larger companies so the prices are usually fair. While orders usually ship quickly based on our experience, it’s a good idea to familiarize yourself with the shipping policies of the person you are ordering from so you know when your gift will arrive.

6. A Date With Dad

When you were a kid, did you do fun things with your dad, like hiking, riding bikes or tossing a ball around? Plan a walk down memory lane for Father’s Day and do those things you both enjoyed. And it’s free, with the exception of gas, tolls and any park admission fees.

7. Breakfast in Bed

You always think of breakfast in bed for mom on Mother’s Day. Why not a relaxing meal in bed for dad? Make his favorite breakfast, juice and coffee and include the morning paper. If you’re feeling generous, offer to take over his morning household duties while he lounges in the lap of luxury.

8. Dining Out

Maybe a meal at a local restaurant is more his speed. Before you make a reservation, check Restaurant.com for deals. You can search by city and cuisine to find offers. In many cases, you can buy a $25 voucher for $10, saving yourself $15. Because restaurants tend to offer pricey prix fixe packages for occasions like Father’s Day, convince dad to celebrate with you another day instead.

9. Safety in Numbers

Instead of tackling Father’s Day on your own, host a group gathering with your siblings or a few friends and their dads. A Father’s Day potluck brunch or dinner means less work and a reduced financial outlay. Use a site like PerfectPotluck.com or SignUpGenius.com to organize who is bringing what.

10. Ask Him

Did you ever think to ask dad what he wants for Father’s Day? He could be hoping for something that didn’t occur to you (keep pressing if he says, “oh, nothing.”) If you don’t want to appear lazy, make him a card that encourages him to choose. Give it to him a few days early (like, today) so you’ll have time to plan.

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7 Ways to Help Dad Revamp His Space Without Ruining Your Budget

You don't have to go overboard to build your man cave.

When I was a kid, I made my dad a pencil sharpener in the shape of a baseball glove and baseball for Father’s Day. Knowing this, you’d think my dad was a big baseball fan, right? Not so. In fact, I think this is the only baseball related item he has (and it still sits on his desk at the office, all these years later). I guess it’s the thought that counts, right?

While it may not be as charming to make something like this for Father’s Day as an adult (unless you’re an artist, then by all means), you can still get creative with your gift.

Help Him Improve His Space

Whether it’s his game room, workshop in the garage or a different room, giving him something to build out (or upgrade) that perfect sanctuary may be just the ticket to let him know you appreciate all he’s done for you over the years.

Odds are, you won’t be building out an entire room — that’d be a bit pricey for most people’s budget. So, whether you’re thinking of getting him a TV, new work bench or an old school pinball machine, you don’t want to blow your budget. (He probably wouldn’t be too impressed to hear you went into debt for him anyway, now would he?)

So what do you do when you want to get dear ol’ dad something nice for the house without overspending? Well, we have seven ways to save on improving his perfect zen space.

1. Hit up Pinterest

If you have strong craft skills, you can hit up Pinterest and find all types of creative ideas for do-it-yourself projects. All you’ll need are the supplies and some time — perhaps you and dad can do this together and it’s like two gifts in one.

2. Use Seasonal Sales to Your Advantage

Whether dad is a sports junkie or loves movie night, a flat-screen TV isn’t a bad option. And you may be able to find one that doesn’t come with a price tag that makes your eyes pop. While prices won’t fall as low as they do in December (when retailers are looking to clear out their stock for the year) plenty of retailers offer Father’s Day deals on TVs so it isn’t the worst time of year to buy one. Consider shopping at stores that offer price guarantees, so you can get a price match or refund if the television you buy goes on sale for less shortly after you get it. This is a good reason to hold onto your receipt (and check the terms for restrictions on these offers).

3. Look Online for Deals

Many retailers offer seasonal deals on their websites, which Sarah Hall Weaver, the digital content strategist for Eight Oh Two Digital Marketing Strategies pointed out are “often separate from the general sale or clearance pages, but can offer great savings and promotions on well-stocked items you’ve been eyeing.” Stores like Sears, Home Depot and Walmart have online Father’s Day gift pages separate from regular sales with promotions on great gifts like smart speakers, TVs and sports gear from Dad’s favorite team.

4. Don’t Forget About Free Shipping

Shoppers shouldn’t overlook free shipping, especially if it’s on a big ticket item that isn’t easy to transport to Dad anyway. “Take advantage of making that purchase when there are free shipping promotions, especially if it’s a sizable item that might otherwise come with hefty fees,” Hall Weaver said.

5. Don’t Wait to Buy Furniture

Time to replace his workout gear? Perhaps he needs a new patio set? You’re in luck — June is typically considered one of the most ideal times to buy furniture, along with indoor workout equipment and summer sports gear, according to Consumer Reports. Consider using that clearance time to your advantage. Pro tip: Make sure you measure the space before ordering furniture. It would be disappointing to have the movers show up with furniture that can’t make it through the doorway.

6. Use Rewards

Using any credit cards points you’ve racked up can help you save on any purchases. And if you pay with your rewards card, you can reap some benefits too. Just make sure you don’t overspend in hopes of racking up more rewards — carrying a balance means you’re likely to lose out on the perks of these cards because of interest charges. (Want to see how your credit card use is playing a role in your credit? Take a look at your free credit report snapshot on Credit.com.)

7. Stock the Fridge or Cooler

Get Dad a mini fridge for his space and fill it with a collection of his favorite snacks and beverages. Enhancing a room without a fridge? Fill a cooler instead.

Any one of these tips should help Dad spruce up his space, just in case he isn’t in the market for more homemade pencil sharpeners, adorable as they are.

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Note: It’s important to remember that interest rates, fees and terms for credit cards, loans and other financial products frequently change. As a result, rates, fees and terms for credit cards, loans and other financial products cited in these articles may have changed since the date of publication. Please be sure to verify current rates, fees and terms with credit card issuers, banks or other financial institutions directly.

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9 Budget-Friendly Father’s Day Trips to Take With Dad

Break free from the rut of boring gifts and indulge in some bonding time.

Giving dad a vacation for Father’s Day may sound extravagant and costly, but a variety of budget-friendly offerings would be a far more memorable gift than another tie, golf set or steak dinner.

“The most obvious — but most essential — piece of advice is, of course, to pick something that hews closely to his interests,” said Kelsey Blodget, executive editor for Oyster.com, a hotel review website. If dad’s a foodie, consider taking him for a day trip or overnight stay at a city known for great restaurants. “Even if you spend a lot on an amazing meal, it will still be cheaper than a long vacation,” she said.

Smart budgeting and tools like travel rewards cards, which offer kickbacks like free checked bags and hotel upgrades for everyday spending, can also help curb your expenses. However, many gift givers find it hard to think outside the box.

“In general, travel is not gifted often for any occasion, because it ends up being so high dollar, as compared to other options,” said Clem Bason, CEO of goseek.com, a hotel booking site, adding it’s usually done on special occasions like weddings. However, he sees people increasingly choosing experiences over material goods, which is probably what dad would prefer anyway.

To help you break free from the boring-gift rut, here are nine travel ideas to get some priceless bonding time with your dad.

1.The Bourbon Lover

If dad is a fan of top-notch bourbon, you may want to put the Kentucky Bourbon Trail on your radar. The trail showcases Kentucky’s world-famous distilleries, including Maker’s Mark, Wild Turkey and Woodford Reserve, taking participants through big cities, quaint country towns and and bourbon-themed hotels.

To fully experience the trail takes between two to three days, and spending a full weekend allows time for exploring some of the Bluegrass region’s other famous attractions, including the more than 400 horse farms and hundreds of locally owned restaurants serving Kentucky cuisine.

Accommodations are light on the wallet. For example, rooms at The Campbell House, in Lexington, start at around $140 per night.

2. The Speed Racer

Not only is Indianapolis the racing capital of the world, it’s considered an affordable destination. You and dad could spend Father’s Day weekend touring the world-famous Indianapolis Motor Speedway Museum. Admission is $10 for adults and $5 for children. Among the exhibits is the first car to win the Indy 500. There are also track tours on days when the track’s not in use.

Keep the race car theme going at nearby Dallara IndyCar Factory, the U.S. headquarters for Italy’s Dallara Automobili. Exhibits showcase the technology, science and engineering involved in making an Indy car with interactive and hands-on displays. Visitors can sit in a car and experience a simulated drive. Admission is $10 for adults and $5 for seniors and children ages 5 through 12.

In terms of lodging, you won’t pay much. Rooms at Marriot’s Courtyard Indianapolis South, for example, start at $199 per night. (Carry a Marriot Rewards Premier credit card? Here are five more hotels to consider.)

3. The Space Enthusiast

Along Florida’s eastern shores, there’s a region known as the Space Coast. Attractions include the Kennedy Space Center Visitors Complex and its Shuttle Launch Experience, the American Space Museum & Space Walk of Fame and Exploration Tower.

The priciest of the stops is the Kennedy Space Center. Tickets are $50 for adults and $40 for children. The American Space Museum & Space Walk of Fame, which displays items donated by astronauts, space workers, NASA and company contractors, is $10 for adults and free for children 12 and under. Admission for children ages 13 through 18 is $5.

Exploration Tower, meanwhile, is a seven-story structure with an indoor observation area facing Kennedy Space Center and an exhibit on air and space. Admission is $6.50 for adults and $3.75 for children.

Lodging along the Space Coast is reasonable. Rooms at budget chains like Days Inn Cocoa Beach Port Canaveral start at $100.

4. The History Buff

Philadelphia is a city synonymous with history, home to the Liberty Bell and Independence Hall. What’s more, the Museum of the American Revolution just opened, making it a great time to visit.

Tickets for the new museum, which offers a look at the nation’s founding era, including Revolutionary War memorabilia, letters, diaries and works of art, are $19 for adults and $12 for children ages 6 through 18.

While in town, you could also take advantage of Art Museum Area Restaurant Week, which runs June 11 through June 16 and June 18 through June 23.

For reasonable lodgings, try name-brand hotels like Hilton Garden Inn Philadelphia Center City. Rooms can be found for $160 per night. (Be sure to check out these Hilton credit cards before you book.)

5. The Rock Star

Visiting Austin over Father’s Day offers live music and a memorable movie extravaganza. The Texas capital is home to the Blue Starlite Mini Urban Drive-In, said Bason, of goseek.com. If checking out a movie at a drive-in isn’t cool enough, for all of Father’s Day weekend, the theater will screen the “Indiana Jones” series, ending with “Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade,” which centers on Indiana and his father, of course. Tickets for the drive-in start at $8 per person.

For live music, top choices include The White Horse, a honky tonk featuring new country talent; Sahara Lounge, known for its eclectic mix of everything from blues to Brazilian music; and Elephant Room, a rare jazz venue in the city. Many of the spaces have free nights, but some charge a small cover.

For lodging, rates at boutique hotels like Casulo Hotel start at about $129 per night.

6. The Beach Bum

Quality time at the beach with Dad is always fun. In Miami, you can take the experience up a notch or two. Not only is the city cheaper come summer, you can also treat dad to a ride on one of the trendiest forms of transportation — a hoverboard. Two-hour rentals from South Beach Hoverboard Rentals start at $49. The hoverboards can be delivered to any local Miami hotel, residence or public park.

You can also check out speedboat adventure tours for that “Miami Vice” vibe. Thriller Miami Speedboat Adventures offers tours starting at $38 for adults 12 and up and $24 for children under 11.

Affordable accommodations can be found at options like Lexington Hotel Miami Beach where rooms start at $100.

7. The Outdoorsman

Whitewater rafting in Maine is another chance to share bonding time without spending a fortune. The Kennebec River, famed for Benedict Arnold’s fateful trip to capture Quebec, offers an opportunity to paddle through a variety of serious whitewater rapids.

The Double Gorge Trip, with Magic Falls Rafting Company, in West Forks, Maine, is $129 per person on weekends and $99 weekdays.

If you’re too exhausted to drive home after the rafting workout, inexpensive lodging can be found at hotels like The Dead River Lodge, where king rooms are $79 per night.

8. The Sailor

If you’ve always wanted to go sailing with dad, a variety of windjammer cruises are available through the Maine Windjammer Association website. A few are offering special Father’s Day deals.

The Heritage, a 95-foot schooner, is promoting discounted rates on its June 15 through June 18 expedition, charging $492 for dads who are sailing with children on the three-day getaway. The Victory Chimes will sail from June 16 through June 19 and is offering dads a discounted ticket of $340 when accompanied by a child. The cruises leave from Rockland, Maine, and include meals. There will be time to help sail the boat or sit back and enjoy the scenery.

9. The Golf Pro

No self-respecting Father’s Day story can overlook golf, so here’s one last option to consider: You and Dad practicing your backswing by the picturesque Finger Lakes.

Located on top of a mountain and adjacent to Canandaigua Lake, in Canandaigua, New York, the Bristol Harbour Lodge & Golf Resort provides a great backdrop for some quality golfing time. The resort’s Golf & Stay Package includes two nights of accommodations, one round of golf, a complimentary golf cart and range balls for $265 per person. As an added incentive to visit, the Finger Lakes region is one of the country’s most up-and-coming wine destinations.

How to Save on Your Father’s Day Trip 

Before you hit the road with Dad, make sure you have a plan for your spending. Travel rewards cards are one way to save, as are hotel rewards cards, which offer perks such as free hotel nights and late check-in and check-out. Just remember to swipe wisely so you don’t lose your rewards to high interest or debt. The last thing you want to come home to is a huge credit card bill. Not sure where your credit stands? Find out before you apply. You can view two of your credit scores for free on Credit.com.

Image: iShootPhotosLLC

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6 Great Gadget Gifts for Father’s Day

Can't figure out what to get dad for Father's Day? Here are some of our favorite gadgets.

Father’s Day is fast approaching. If you’re still trying to figure out how you’re going to thank Dad for all the things he’s done for you over the years, you’re in luck, especially if he likes gadgets and gizmos. We’ve combed through countless products to find some of the best stuff to make your dad happy this Father’s Day (and keep your wallet happy, as well).

For the Dad Who Loves His Tablet: Flipy

Price: $49.98 on Amazon

If dad is always on his tablet, this may be a great gift. Flipy is a pillow-like tablet stand that can free up his hands and keep him comfortable when he cozies up with his tablet after a long day. “It’s odd looking, but seriously functional,” Juliette Fassett, the inventor of Flipy, said. “You can move it from table to couch to bed and it works every time.”

For the Music-Loving Dad: RunPhones

Price: $39.95 corded, $99.95 Bluetooth

If your dad heads to the gym or out for a run, and returns to complain that his earbuds are always falling out, RunPhones may be the perfect gift. The headphones are inside a headband and you can separate them to wash the band as needed. They come in a variety of colors and sizes so you can customize them to be perfect for your dad.

For the Traveling Dad: Oaxis AirScale

Price: $59

When Dad flies, whether for work or leisure, the Oaxis AirScale can help ensure the luggage he’s bringing won’t be overweight (ultimately helping avoid any additional fees at the airport). Best of all: The AirScale doubles as a charging port for his devices.

For the Dad Who Can Never Find His Keys: Chipolo

Price: $24.99

If your dad is always searching for his keys (or wallet, or cell phone … or pretty much anything), Chipolo may be his new favorite gadget. This small, flat chip is a Bluetooth tracker he can attach or place on any of his favorite items and then use the paired app, or double click the fob, to see where the item is in the house. He can even place one on his bike as an added security feature to help him know where it is. Pro tip: Your mom is going to be jealous and want a Chipolo, or two or three, of her own. Fortunately, there’s a discount for buying multiple Chipolos, so stock up now for her birthday, Christmas or Mother’s Day.

For the Note-Taking/Writer Dad: Rocketbook Wave

Price: $27

Dad can use the Pilot FriXion pen to write to his heart’s content in the spiral-bound Rocketbook Wave notebook, which comes in two sizes. Once all 80 pages are filled up, he simply takes photos of them with his smartphone and uses the paired app to send them to the cloud storage he already uses. There are also symbols on the page that help sort and organize his content to make finding it later a cinch. After this, he puts the notebook in the microwave. That’s right, the microwave. Microwave the notebook on each side, with a mug of water on top, and the pages appear new again. No more buying multiple notebooks or having to find places to store them all.

For the Handyman Dad: eTape16

Price: $29.95 standard, $49.95 Bluetooth

When dad takes on his next project around the house, he’ll want this measuring tape in his tool belt. No longer will he have to squint at the tape itself to figure out the exact measurement, as the eTape16 has a digital reader on the top that will tell him. Plus, it can convert the measurements to different metrics and store two in memory for future reference. The Bluetooth version allows him to create and customize Excel worksheets with his measurements, as well as prepare cut lists for larger projects.

Paying for the Perfect Father’s Day Gift

Whether you decide to purchase any of these or something else for your dad, consider buying it with a cash rewards credit card, as getting cash back from the card is like giving yourself a gift. These cards usually require a good or excellent credit score to qualify, so if you haven’t built up your credit enough to have access to one of these premier cards, consider using a credit card for fair credit to help build your credit profile (you can find out where your credit stands using Credit.com’s free credit report summary).

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16 Father’s Day Gifts Under $100

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