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Father's Day Gift Ideas for the Budget-Minded College Student

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If you are anything like me, holidays spring up so quickly it seems there is never any time to prepare the psyche for a shopping spree. Here is a gentle reminder, nudge, aide-mémoire, if you will, that Father’s Day is right around the corner, and if you have not yet found the perfect symbol of appreciation, a.k.a., gift, for your dad, there are plenty of budget-centered ideas to chew on.

When it comes to gifts, the beauty of Father’s Day, in my opinion, is that symbolism is far more important than any material gift. I could list a thousand gadgets, gift cards, or kitschy gimmicks that you can pick up at any department store without a thought. Those things not only cost money, they are, by comparison, skin-deep matched against the love and appreciation we have for our fathers, well, most of us.

1. Quality Time

Traditionally, spending one-on-one time with our fathers is something that holds special worth, and as we grow older and further into our adult years, those sweet moments wane. Consider taking your dad out for coffee or a meal, maybe see a movie or go to a ball game. Offer to set aside time where the two of you can spend quality time together.

2. Kind Service

Many people respond well to receiving a kind service from another. Most Americans suffer from hard-pressed schedules, stress, and exhaustion, yet the to-do list keeps growing. Another gift idea is to offer your services to your dad in whatever way he needs as an act of giving back time and/or sacrifice.

3. Encouraging Words

There are times when words can be meaningless; there are other times when encouraging words are worth more than gold. Commonly, encouraging words are never spoken. Families operate without them, and it can be a painful way to experience relationships. Think about things you can say to your dad that would build him up and inspire him. Make it be about him, who he is, and what he means to people. Type it up and frame it so it can be a constant reminder to him.

4. Material Gifts with Sentimental Value

Sometimes the smallest, most awkward, and seemingly meaningless items can represent special memories, people, emotions, or fond moments to your dad. They can also exemplify hobbies or particular interests your dad has. Scouring a thrift or antique store is your best bet for finding a sentimental treasure.

5. A Phone Call

I realize that being away at college may mean being hundreds of miles away. In which case, a phone call on Father’s Day could be just as valued as any material gift.


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