Show dad you care without overspending

(MoneyWatch) With Father's Day fast approaching, time is running out to look for great gifts (and bargains!) for dad.

For the father who enjoys shooting videos, snapping pictures, and watching television, appliance and electronic retailer PCRichard & Son is offering a sale on electronics such as plasma-screen TVs and digital cameras. Great deals include a Nikon Coolpix L26 16.1 MP Point & Shoot Digital Camera, which is on sale for $100, and a Coby Electronics 23" television, available for $200 instead of the regular price of $249.97.

If you are looking for other gifts that won't hurt your wallet, Trae Bodge of shopping site recently conducted an online survey of the kind of presents dads say they want the most.

Perhaps surprisingly in an age when even men in office jobs tend to dress more casually, ties remain popular. But in an update on that old standby, lets dads rent brand name ties at an affordable price. They are conveniently delivered to their doorstep. Like the movie rental service Netflix, you just send the tie back when you want a new one. Tietry costs $11.99 a month and offers unlimited exchanges and free shipping.

If you want to splurge, by contrast, Bloomingdale's has a sale on their Armani Collezioni solid silk ties, originally priced at $150 and marked down to $120.

If your dad is the sweater type, Bloomingdale's also has deals on stylish sweaters by high-end designers Burberry and Polo Ralph Lauren. The Burberry Brit pima cotton half zip sweater is on sale for $122.50, down from $175, while Polo Ralph Lauren long-sleeved cotton-cashmere V-neck sweaters are priced at $87, compared to $145. Perhaps it's not the perfect gift for summer, but dad will enjoy these come fall.

For the father who already has a closet full of ties and sweaters, an adrenaline rush might be just the thing. Deals website Groupon, which has a section dedicated to Father's Day, in New Jersey is offering fathers a once-in-a-lifetime driving experience. For $59, down from the usual rate of $177, they can take the wheel of a supercar for a three-lap ride around a racetrack. The cars available include a Bentley Continental GT, Ferrari F430, Lamborghini Gallardo, Maserati GranTurismo, and Aston Martin Vantage.

Other local Groupon deals include:

  • $49 for a morning or night fishing trip for two (a $130 value) in Westchester County.
  • $13 for a sports-fan package with a one-year magazine subscription and ESPN T-shirt ($26 Value).
  • $29 for men's haircut package at Blondi's Hair Salon in Manhattan (up to a $100 total value).

But you better hurry if any of these gifts grab your fancy -- you have to buy the deal through Groupon by June 12.

Bodge also found that 35 percent of fathers would prefer gift cards for their favorite retailer.

Along with clothing, high-tech gadgets, and special outings, chocolate is another way to express your appreciation for dad this year: For bargain-hunters, Godiva has a sale on several of their decadent Father's Day gift chocolates. Their Signature Chocolate Truffle Assortment (36 pieces) is on sale for $55, versus the usual price of $75. They also cut prices for their Biscuit Gift Tin (50 pieces) to $30, compared to the regular retail price of $40.

While many fathers surveyed expected gifts for Father's Day, 40 percent said they would prefer spending quality time with the family, whether that involved going out to dinner, grilling, or an outing.

For the father who wants to grill, Kraft Singles is hosting grill giveaways until August 14 and will be giving away some 3,000 Weber grills, which usually retail for at least $700, and 1,600 sets of Weber grill tools.

If you really want to splurge on dad this year, the American Airpower Museum in Farmingdale, N.Y., is offering the opportunity for you and your father to fly in a vintage military aircraft. For $300, dad will get outfitted in a World War II airborne uniform and take a ride in a C-47 transport plane. Although flights take place later this summer, paying now gets you a "flight order" to present in time for Father's Day.

Despite a tough economy, retailers are expecting a bump in Father's Day spending. While the average U.S. consumer spent $106.49 on gifts in 2011, folks are expected to shell out $117.14 this year, according to a recent survey conducted by the National Retail Federation. The total spending for Father's Day in 2012 is expected to be $12.7 billion.

And if ties, plane rides, and sweaters are not the right gift for your dad, fear not. The National Retail Federation says there are some great deals on many items out there. "Retailers will have specials on everything from patio sets and grills to ties and gardening tools in the weeks leading up to the holiday," said Matthew Shay of the retail federation.

And if you don't want to go the retail route, consider something else: How about cooking dad a memorable, delicious meal? Check out this Father's Day recipe from our "What's Cooking" blog and the video below on how to pull it all together!