NEW YORK (TheStreet) — Since dads are notorious for wanting costs kept low even on big days such as their birthday and Father's Day, some family members are getting ahead of the issue.
They're planning fun but budget-friendly Father's Days this year, and they think dad will be really happy about it.
"With my father being 68 this Father's Day, we have really begun focusing on his health and wellness to ensure he lives for many more," says Andrew Royce Bauer, chief executive at Royce Leather in Secaucus, N.J. "To limit our costs and maximize the day, I am taking my father on a [paddle-boat] trip along the Shark River inlet in New Jersey. A two-hour boat ride will allow him to get exercise, which is conducive to his exercise regime."
"This way we can pedal together and enjoy each other's company while not spending a fortune on a gift," he adds.
Budget experts say Father's Day really isn't about dollar signs, but about honoring the family patriarch. "Father's Day is not all about buying the perfect gift or card, it's about showing dad how much you love and appreciate everything he has done for you," says Steven Trumble, president and CEO of Newton, Mass.-based American Consumer Credit Counseling. "There are plenty of ways to demonstrate your gratitude and thoughtfulness without breaking the bank."
The average gift-giver will spend $115 for dad on Father's Day, and Americans will spend $12.7 billion, in all, according to the National Retail Federation.
Just don't expect Selena Marie Norris, a consumer financial consultant to Fortune 500 companies, to spend that kind of cash — she believes there are better, more affordable ways to show dad some love.
"What better way is there to spend Father's Day than to go on an old-fashioned picnic in the park?" Norris asks. "You can make cold-cut sandwiches, old-fashioned potato, macaroni salad and fruit salad for a fraction of the cost of store-bought food. If you're not a star cook, these items can easily be picked up at your local grocery deli. In a pinch you can get meals at KFC or Subway, though I prefer the homemade methods for a more personal touch. All you need is blanket, a basket and some plates and utensils, and the bonus is that there is very little to clean up."
"Holidays don't require expensive gifts to show you care," she says. "Spending time with each other being happy and having fun can be the best gift of all."
Others are all in on meals, with some exercise for dad afterward. "I'm a big fan of waking up and getting breakfast for my father," says John Rampton, founder and CEO of Due.com. "It can be as simple as Bisquick, for $4 or so, and that will feed a family of any size. You can throw in bacon in there to make almost any dad happy."
"Next, go on a fun hike to your favorite place and tell your dad how much you love him and talk about good times. A father couldn't as for anything better," Rampton says.
The ACCC's Trumble says there is even a more affordable way to show dad you care on Father's Day. In fact, it doesn't cost anything at all, but still packs a big emotional punch: "Just write a heartfelt letter," the ACCC advises. "Let your dad know why he is the best dad. Write down your favorite things about him, any favorite memories you have shared together, or highlight how he has made an impact on your life. Instead of buying a Father's Day card, this letter will make a great personalized one."