Holidays are hard for students. With minimal income, hectic class and study schedules, and part-time jobs, it can be tough to even remember when the days are coming up. Unfortunately, Mother’s Day and Father’s Day are two of the trickiest holidays for busy college students to remember.
I say unfortunately because I am a recent college grad and current graduate student, and I am in this position with a lot of help from my parents. These holidays are my chance to show how much I appreciate what they’ve done for me. But this year, amidst a sea of papers to write, papers to grade, and presentations to give, I was completely unprepared for Mother’s Day.
It’s not that I forgot. The fact that Mother’s Day was approaching stayed in the back of my mind all week, but my work kept it there for too long. After paying for gas, my phone bill, and car insurance, I was left without enough money for an acceptable gift for my mother. So, I did what any grateful but cash-strapped grad student would do – improvised a free gift. My mom had been dying for her outdoor sun room to be painted for about a year, so I took the whole day and painted the room for her. It turned out to be better than any gift I could have bought.
Father’s Day is right around the corner, and this year, instead of stressing about my student budget, I’m going to embrace it.
So, to all of the students out there who want to show their gratitude to dad on June 17th but can’t spend a fortune, here are some ideas:
- Help him with some work – If your dad is like mine, weekends are all about work. After sitting in the office all week, my dad likes to get out in the backyard or the workshop and mow, trim, sweep, and build. I’m sure he would love some company out there…and it’s free!
- Join him in a hobby that you don’t normally do – My dad is a runner, and I am not. He is constantly trying to get me to go out on his weekend runs, and I usually turn him down because of work, school, or some other excuse. This year, I’ll join him on a morning run around the neighborhood and try to see what I’ve been missing.
- Throw a cookout – In my family, my dad runs the grill. Not because no one else knows how, he just likes to do it his way when it comes to cooking out. This year, try telling your dad to go relax while you take care of the food. Even if you don’t grill, you can still make a meal or throw a party. It’s an inexpensive and fun way to show your appreciation.
- Do his household chores – So far, I’ve listed some things you can do with your dad, but you can also do some things for him. I’m sure there are plenty of things that he does on a daily basis – cleaning, taking out the trash, etc. – that are a pain. Find out what they are and do them before he gets to it. It will be a nice surprise, and once again, it’s free.
There are plenty more ways that you can give your dad a great day without spending money. Just think of what he likes to do – or has to do – and do it with him or for him.
So if you are a student on a tight budget, don’t worry about Father’s day this year. Do something personal and fun with your dad. He’ll appreciate it more than any gift you could buy.