NEW YORK - We all know that Dad probably doesn't want a tie for Father's Day. So how do you make an impression without breaking the bank?
"Fathers are looking for something exciting," said Michael Londrigan, dean of academic affairs at LIM College, a fashion college in Manhattan. "Find something unique that is going to create a lasting impression." That means staying away from impersonal items like mugs.
Of course, dads usually get shortchanged compared with moms. According to the National Retail Federation's spending survey conducted by Prosper Insights & Analytics, the average person said they would spend $113.80 on neckties, tools, electronics and other special gifts for their dad. That's slightly down from $119.84 last year.
That compares with $162.94 expected to be spent for moms for their holiday, according to the trade group's survey.
Here are some ideas for gifts that Dad will actually remember that might save you some money, too:
GO TECHIE: Stores are offering plenty of deals on the latest tech gifts, particularly on mobile devices that are topping dads' wish lists.
Target Corp. has Apple Inc.'s iPad Mini on sale for $199, a $100 savings, as well as the iPhone 5S on sale for $119.99, down from the original price of $199.99. You can also pick up Apple's iPhone 5c for $29.99, down from $99.99. (All these deals require a new phone contract.)
Wal-Mart Stores Inc. is also offering discounted Apple products and is also pushing a $100 gift card if you buy the $399 iPad. Of course, you can also take advantage of retailers' expanded trade-in electronics programs. Wal-Mart allows you to trade up to a new iPhone and get up to $300 in-store credit. For a working iPhone 4s with 16 gigabytes, you can get around $110 at Wal-Mart.
THE EXPERIENTIAL GIFT: Check out Groupon.com, which offers a diverse list of fun experiences. In New York, you can spend $129, down from $165, for a helicopter tour over Manhattan, for example.
C. Britt Beemer, chairman of America's Research Group, says fathers often just want to spend time with their children. He says that three out of five fathers he interviewed said they didn't want their children to buy them anything but would rather they cook Dad's favorite dinner, based on a survey that included more than 600 fathers.
GIFTS UNDER $25: If you're on a tight budget, don't despair. Many stores like Macy's and Sears list gifts by price on their websites.
J.C. Penney is holding a "Love Dad Sale" Thursday through Sunday. The sale includes deals Friday and Saturday such as 60 percent off all men's suit separates and sports coats, 50 to 60 percent off men's golf apparel, St. John's Bay polos for $8.99 and Stafford Oxford dress shirts for $11.99.
Macy's is offering special saving on men's shirts and other fashions. For example, Polo Ralph Lauren crewneck T-shirts are on sale for $17.99, reduced from $24, and Tommy Hilfiger men's underwear with golf ball motifs, for $12.99, reduced from $18.
Sears is holding "doorbuster events" 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. Friday and Saturday, pushing deals like polo shirts for men for $8.99. Other deals being offered now include sales on a variety of Craftsman hand tools under $25. That includes a 17-piece screwdriver set for $19.99, down from $24.99.
TYING THE CLICHE IN KNOTS: If ties really are your father's thing, you don't have to just grab one from the store. Take advantage of subscription clubs like Tie Bar and Root Bizzle that make it easy for your dad to add to his tie collection every month.
Stylists choose one tie per month based on style and color preference. Tie Bar designs colorful ties and has a monthly online subscription service that starts at $199 and sends your dad 12 ties for the year.
As for Root Bizzle, shoppers can try one month for $25, or can pay $72 for three months or $120 for six months.