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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.

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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.

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.


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