5 cheap (but memorable) father's day gifts

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As both a father and a son, I know the challenge of finding any great Father's Day gift, especially one that manages to be both inexpensive and meaningful to the father in your life.

It's not easy. Many of the items that fathers wish for can be quite expensive, and they can be rather hard to select, too. This can leave many children in a tight situation, especially when they don't have a lot of money to spare.

Thankfully, there are some tried-and-true Father's Day gift ideas that will not only show your father how much you care, but will also keep you from straining an already overburdened budget.

Spend time participating in his favorite hobby. What does your father love to do in his spare time? Does he enjoy fishing? Gardening? Gaming? Hunting? Golfing? Tinkering in the shop?

Whatever it is that your father gravitates to in his spare time, spend some of your own time sharing that hobby with him. Help him complete a project, or just spend a few hours swinging golf clubs or tossing a lure out on a lake. Just focus on what your father loves.

For some people, this might feel like a miserable day if they don't particularly share the joy of a hobby with their father. Rather than think about what else you could be doing, focus on the joy you're bringing your dad by engaging in that hobby with him. It's pretty easy to make anything enjoyable when you take that perspective, plus your father will deeply enjoy the afternoon or the day.

Find small but high quality items related to his interests. If you want to give a tangible gift, the hobbies you considered above are a great place to start. Most hobbies require small items that are in constant need – pens, pencils, golf balls, fishing lures and so on.

The key here is to notice your father. What hobbies and routines does he have? What little things does he use all the time?

Identify those little things. Then find high-quality examples of those things. If he fishes all the time, for example, stop by an outdoor supply store and pick up recommended lures. If he enjoys craft beer, stop by a store and ask for a recommendation of an interesting and tasty brand. Trust me – those little things make all the difference.

Help him do bigger tasks around the house. Most fathers have a never-ending checklist of tasks that need to be done around the house. These often aren't urgent tasks, but they're usually important ones, and they can be both time and energy consuming.

If you want to really show your father how much you care, help him out with a few of these projects and tasks for the afternoon. Clean out the gutters, trim the trees or change the oil in the cars. If you're not sure, ask him.

Having these tasks finished – especially if they're finished together with you – will mean a great deal to your father. Not only is this an easy way to spend time together, but the completed tasks will also take a load off of his mind.

Make him a big batch of his favorite snack. What does your father like to munch on? My father, for instance, always has a can of seasoned nuts on his work table out in the garage, and he constantly grabs a few as he's tinkering out there. Myself? I love flavored almonds.

Whatever snack he happens to like, get him an ample supply of that snack so that he doesn't have to worry about conserving them or picking up more. Buy him several jumbo packs of nuts or whatever he likes to munch on.

Even better, make a batch of his favorite snack from scratch. Does he like cookies? Make an enormous batch of his favorite kind. You can even make surprising homemade treats like marshmallows or tortilla chips. He'll be impressed at your new skill and the delicious snack you made for him

Bring good food and prepare a meal together. One simple way to make a Father's Day really special is to simply show up with a sack of food and prepare a meal for him – or, even better, with him.

The best way to make this an amazing experience is to use quality ingredients to prepare a meal he likes. You can prepare it yourself, but it's even better if you tap into his expertise on the subject. Encourage him to offer grilling tips or hints about his favorite seasonings.

This transforms a tasty meal into a special experience because of that shared personal bond.

The real powerful gift of Father's Day isn't stuff; it's time and attention. Most fathers have plenty of stuff. What they really want is time and attention from the people they care about. That's the best Father's Day gift you can give, and it doesn't cost much at all.

Copyright 2015 U.S. News & World Report

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