“One of my hardest jobs as a father, one of my greatest duties, was to realize that my own dreams, my own goals and wishes, are secondary to my children’s.” – Rick Riordan
Grills will be firing up all over the country this coming Sunday as families come together to honor and celebrate the dads in our lives. With the official start to summer fast-approaching, Father’s Day is a great reason to hang out in the backyard, eat delicious food and hang out with Dad.
With this wonderful holiday, of course, comes gift buying. It can be tempting to overspend on someone you love and appreciate, so it’s no wonder many Americans are still paying off their Mother’s Day purchases. And, for that matter, how the heck has it already been a month since we celebrated our moms?! I digress.
Comparing yourself to others (especially if you are trying to keep up with the Joneses) has a tendency to incite negative emotions like jealousy, feelings of inadequacy, etc., but in the right setting, it can also be interesting and maybe even insightful.
Read on to see how your Father’s Day spending compares to that of your fellow Americans.
“My father gave me the greatest gift anyone could give another person; he believed in me.” – Jim Valvano
2018 Father’s Day Spending
According to the National Retail Federation’s annual Father’s Day survey, spending is expected to total a near-record $15.3 billion this year, down slightly from 2017. Approximately 77 percent of Americans will celebrate Father’s Day and spend an average of $133 per person.
That number is a bit shy of the $143.56 Americans spent on Valentine’s Day in 2018 and the average of $180 per person spent on celebrating Mother’s Day this year. Furthermore, roughly 86 percent of Americans celebrated Mother’s Day last month. What does that say about us dads? Fewer people celebrate us and when they do, they spend less money on us! A true testament to just how amazing mothers are.
Also interesting to note, individuals between 25 and 34 years old will be the biggest spenders this year at an average $188 per person. Because we millennials are rollin’ in dough, not student loans. Duh!
“Anyone can be a father, but it takes someone special to be a dad, and that’s why I call you dad, because you are so special to me. You taught me the game and you taught me how to play it right.” – Wade Boggs
The survey found 47 percent of consumers plan to give a “special outing” gift, such as a concert, sporting event or dinner. This category represents the largest share of spending at $3.2 billion.
Those of a more materialistic mind plan to spend:
- $2.2 billion on clothing
- $2.1 billion on gift cards
- $1.8 billion on consumer electronics
- $878 million on home improvement supplies
- $862 million on personal care products
- $844 million on greeting cards
- $830 million on tools or appliances
- $798 million on sporting goods or leisure items
- $686 million on automotive accessories
- $628 million on books or music
Surprised to see clothing for dads as the top category? Maybe, just maybe, it’s all those fancy neckties you keep giving Dad, year after year.
Of those buying gifts as opposed to meals and/or experiences, 39.4% of consumers will shop at a department store, with 33.8% shopping online. Pretty interesting that department store shopping will top online shopping, even in the era of Amazon’s quest for total world domination.
Don’t Break the Bank on Dad
The amount of money you spend on your dad does not indicate how much you love him. I repeat, the amount of money you spend on your dad does not indicate how much you love him.
If you are petal to the metal on paying down debt or saving up an emergency fund or some other worthwhile financial goal, it is okay to dial back your spending a bit this year. In fact, it could actually make for a cool conversation about your financial goals and what dad wouldn’t love to know his son or daughter is really getting after it financially?
This is one of the times that it is actually okay to be below average. Just because the average spending is expected to be $133 per person, doesn’t mean you too need to spend that much (or more).
As much as society and advertisers try to make the day about gifts, it is really about just hanging out with Dad (or Skyping or calling him if there is a distance between you) and letting him know you appreciate him, are thankful for him and love him. No gift or amount of money spent will ever trump that.
For the sake of brevity, we will skip the list of frugal gifts for Dad. You are but a few Google clicks away from a plethora of gift ideas for any budget. Here are a few lists to get you started.
“A father is neither an anchor to hold us back nor a sail to take us there, but a guiding light whose love shows us the way.” – Unknown
Bring the Punch(line) to Your Father’s Day Celebration
What better way to end this than by equipping you to bring the funny with some classic dad jokes?
- Last night I had a dream I was a muffler, and I woke up exhausted!
- Why couldn’t the bicycle stand up by itself? It was two-tired.
- Why did the scarecrow win an award? Because he was outstanding in his field.
- What did the grape say when it got stepped on? It just let out a little wine.
- What do you call a pony with a sore throat? A little horse.
- What do you call somebody with no body and no nose? Nobody knows.
- What do you get when you cross a snowman and a vampire? Frostbite.
- What’s the best time to go to the dentist? Tooth hurt-y.
- Why do crabs never give to charity? Because they’re shellfish.
- What do you call a sketchy Italian neighborhood? The spaghetto.
And perhaps the most classic of all:
- How do you make a Kleenex dance? Put a little boogie in it!
If you time your delivery of these just right, you might even get Dad to spit out his beer.
Happy Father’s Day to all the amazing dads out there! Keep doin’ your thing!
How does your Father’s Day spending compare? What will you be doing to celebrate?