6 inexpensive Father's Day gifts your dad will appreciate

A Father's Day Gift-Giving Guide
A Father's Day Gift-Giving Guide

Ties are to Father's Day what fruitcakes are to Christmas.

They've been a traditional gift for generations – even though no one wants one.

Oh, sure. Dear old Dad may always say he loves the tie you got him, but he's probably not telling the whole truth. He likes that you took the time to get him something on his special day, but he would really have preferred something else. Actually, he'd have preferred almost anything else. After all, even if it's a really sharp-looking tie, it's still just a tie.

Trust me, I know. I'm a dad.

There's good news, however. Regardless of your dad's age, interests or location, there are lots of gift possibilities that are far better than a boring old tie. They don't have to be expensive either.

Here are a few practical ideas that won't break the bank:

Do his chores for him. My wife knows that when Father's Day comes around, there's one thing I want every year: someone to do my yard work. I know that on Father's Day weekend, I won't have to mow, edge, pull any weeds or grab anything out of a gutter. It's one of the best gifts I can get, and it doesn't have to cost a cent.

Now, of course, it can cost you. If you choose to pay someone to do your dad's dirty work for a weekend, that's fine. But if money is tight, save the cash and do the work yourself. Your dad will appreciate it.

This doesn't have to be limited to yard work, though. If your dad hates doing the dishes or folding laundry or cleaning up dog poop, taking those off his to-do list for Father's Day weekend will bring a big smile to his face.

Get him his credit report. OK, so it's not the coolest gift idea ever, but it can be really important. More than 1 in 3 American adults (35 percent) have never checked their credit report – and that includes nearly half (44 percent) of all senior citizens. It's likely that many people haven't checked their reports simply because they don't know how, but you can gift your dad a tutorial.

Just make sure he knows his Social Security number and then have him go to AnnualCreditReport.com – the only truly free, no-strings-attached credit report site, which is authorized by the federal government.

Finances aren't always the easiest thing to discuss – especially between a parent and a grown child – so be patient and understanding. Point him in the right direction. Be prepared to answer questions he might have and to offer reassurance when it comes to clicking a certain link or providing a certain type of information. And if anything looks amiss, offer to help him make things right by contacting the credit bureaus.

It might seem weird to make this your Father's Day gift, but the truth is that good credit can save your dad a fortune – and be the gift that keeps on giving.

Give him a family history lesson. What more appropriate gift for Father's Day than to teach your father about all the fathers in his family that came before him?

Building a family tree isn't easy or quick – and it might not be cheap either. (You can easily spend hundreds of dollars in subscriptions to genealogy websites.) However, if you think your dad might get a kick out of this, making just a few free phone calls can help you uncover information your dad might find illuminating. Call your grandparents and ask them for details. Do the same with other family members, such as aunts, uncles and cousins. There's a good chance someone in your family has already taken the plunge into genealogy and would be willing to share what they've gathered. Then, you can take that information, mix in any new tidbits you've discovered and give your dad a gift that is both thoughtful and informative.

Do what you do best. Computer-savvy? Help your dad's computer work better. Set up a webcam so he can video chat with you. Are you handy? Fix something around the house or in the garage. Good with sewing? Mend a shirt. Whatever your skill set, offer to do something to help make his life easier for the day. He'll love you for it.

Organize old photos. In 2015, this doesn't just mean taking faded photos from shoe boxes and putting them in scrapbooks. It can also mean accessing his computer, phone or email and organizing that stockpile of photos he has amassed over the years.

Show up. There's an old saying that 80 percent of success is just showing up. That's really true on Father's Day.

All of the above gifts are great, as are countless other gifts than run the gamut from free to outrageously expensive. Ultimately though, all most dads want – especially dads with grown kids who've already left the nest – is a phone call or a visit; a nice hello to let them know you're thinking about them and appreciate everything they do.

Take it from a dad. Nothing you could get them would mean more than that.

Copyright 2015 U.S. News & World Report