Frugal Father's Day gifts

I remember as a kid asking my dad on Father's Day, "When is kids' day?" He laughed and replied, "Every other day."

That one day of the year for dads is coming -- Sunday, June 21 -- and like fathers everywhere, I'm looking forward to it.

TCBY is offering a free cup or cone for dad on June 21. Free yogurt -- a healthy choice on your day.

But other than that freebie, if you want to spend a little cash -- or no cash with homemade gifts or services -- then there are plenty of ideas for showing dad how much you love him. None of them involve an ugly tie, either. is a great place to start for crafts projects to make for dad. Here are a few:
Make Burma Shave signs to put along your street or driveway. Dads everywhere remember these road signs from the 1950s, when the Burma Shave shaving cream company put small roadside signs along highways. Each sign had a line from a four-line poem, so you read the poem before getting to the fifth sign that just said "Burma Shave."

Family marble magnets are a fun way for dad to see your adorable face every time he opens the refrigerator. Hit your local crafts store or chain (Michael's comes to mind) for flat-backed marbles.

Personalized license plate. No, you don't have to be a prison inmate to make one for Dad. You just have to live in a state that doesn't require a front license plate. The main things you'll need are a license plate frame, cardboard and construction paper to make a license plate such as "DAD U R GR8"

A secret safe. Every dad needs somewhere to hide his stuff -- we won't say what, exactly -- but this will help. On the outside it looks like an ordinary trinket jar, filled with bolts and such, but inside is a secret safe for Dad's valuables. Now you'll know where he hides whatever it is he hides. Just don't blackmail the old man.

If arts and crafts isn't your bag, then try offering a service or doing something that will still take some work, but without the scissors:

Do some chores. Sure, you're supposed to do them anyway, but surprise Dad on Father's Day by doing yard work, washing his car, cooking a meal and cleaning it up, or maybe just letting him relax on the hammock.

Write him a letter. Tell him what you appreciate about him and how he's impacted your life. If your children are too young to write, then ask them to draw a picture of them with Dad. He'll cherish it forever.

Best Dad T-shirt. It's a cliche, but it's still the best cliche to bring out on Father's Day.

Aaron Crowe is an unemployed journalist in the San Francisco Bay Area. Read about his job search at
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