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Gifts for dads lag 40 percent behind moms' Mother's Day haul

A new National Retail Federation report on expected Father's Day spending says Americans are going to spend a bit more this year on dads — $119.84, up a couple of bucks from 2012.

Plans call for gifts of grilling and sports equipment, electronic gadgets, outings, clothing, personal care items and automotive accessories.

But compared to the NRF's projected $168 spending for moms on their big day, it's a little light, according to Forbes contributor Pam Goodfellow, who has some ideas on why moms always seem to win when it comes to presents. The 40 percent gap might be a case of traditional roles influencing spending, she posits.

"Under the most traditional of circumstances, moms tend to be the nurturers of the family — the ones who bandage the scraped knees, cut the crusts off the PB&Js, and lend a sympathetic ear to the first broken heart. Moms can also be multitasking powerhouses: managing the household and its upkeep, shuttling kids to and from activities, and putting her needs and wants behind those of her family. And with a rising number of females becoming breadwinners in their households, more moms are bringing home the bacon as well. Taking all of this into consideration, it’s a wonder why we celebrate Mother’s Day only once a year," Goodfellow writes.

Then again, she notes, moms get brunch and dads like to grill. Guess which is cheaper.

The U.S. Census Bureau said about 70 million American men are fathers and nearly 25 million have kids 18 and under.

Dad's in-home value is up this year, too, according to, which each year does an assessment of the monetary value of the various jobs dads perform around the house. Its assessment is Dad's value has risen from $20,348 last year to $23,344. And that doesn't count any work he does outside the home or money he brings in.

"The increase is largely due to higher mean hourly wages for drivers, teachers, coaches and plumbers, according to Bureau of Labor Statistics data. The index is a look at annual salaries for the traditional kinds of things dads have done for generations, from squashing spiders to grilling burgers. It does not include any salary dad might earn from a job outside the house," the site says.

Each year, Credit Donkey conducts a survey, which found this year that nearly a fourth of dads feel sentimental when it comes to Father's Day. Many dads want something homemade, though only 15 percent of those surveyed said they'll make something for Dad. A quarter of the fathers also hope their families will take them out to dinner.

Among other findings from Credit Donkey: Dads want gift cards (31.2 percent), electronics (29 percent) and dinner (24.7 percent). And about half of the shopping for Father's Day will take place online.

Americans are mostly buying for their fathers and stepfathers, but they're also shopping for other important men in the lives, including husbands, sons, grandfathers and even brothers, the retailer group said. The most popular spot to shop is still the department store, followed by discount stores, specialty stores, electronics stores and clothing stores, online or in person.

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