Father's Day means Netflix weekends and leaner lifestyles for more dads
Inflation is taking a toll on family budget, so dads opt for smaller celebrations closer to home.
A weekend of family barbecues, picnics, and Sunday brunches are signatures of a Father's Day celebration. In past years, that also may have included a Major League Baseball game, a night out at the movies, an afternoon on the golf course, or a fishing or boating trip.Skip to next paragraph
Subscribe Today to the Monitor
But with gasoline prices hovering at $4 per gallon and food and beverage costs up 5 percent from a year ago, this year's Father's Day celebrations are more likely to depart from past traditions.
Pat and Ken Carlson, parents of two boys ages 4 and 6, have already planned to downsize their Father's Day celebration. The St. Paul, Minn., couple has canceled a traditional family reunion with Ms. Carlson's ex-husband and his family, as neither family can afford the gas for the round-trip drive.
In addition, the Carlsons have implemented other fuel-saving strategies, cutting back their usual multiple 150-mile round-trip drives to a lake community north of St. Paul to just one trip this summer. Their budget consciousness now pervades every spending decision.
"We now walk one-third mile for our weekly visit to Dairy Queen – we can't justify the gas," Pat comments. "Grocery shopping is now a disciplined exercise. It's a Catch-22 for me. I don't want to fix my kids garbage, but buying more nutritious food is expensive. I am careful to avoid buying unnecessary snacks."
Tom Vachuska, also of St. Paul, has directed a no-gift policy to his two older children. "Don't spend my money on me, please!" he exclaims.
Mr. Vachuska plans to call his dad to wish him a happy Father's Day rather than visit him in person, figuring a recent family graduation reunion was sufficient.
"My dad will be sympathetic, with gas at $4 a gallon," he says.
Vachuska proudly discusses shopping with coupons – and at Wal-Mart to capture lower prices, citing the $25 he saved on food last week, about 15 percent of his grocery bill.
The Vachuskas also have been cost conscious in planning their daughter's high school graduation, rejecting costly preprinted invitations. Instead, the family designed and printed their own at FedEx Kinko's at a 75 percent savings.
"It was a great experience. The family spent time together identifying pictures, designing the layout, and selecting the paper," he says.