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Frugal Gifts for Graduates

frugal gifts for graduates

Graduation season is just around the corner! Between college graduations in May and High School graduations in June, changes are you know someone who is about to don a cap and gown and throw a graduation party. If you are getting inundated with graduation announcements and are at a loss for what to get for the grads in your life, we’ve gathered some frugal gifts for graduates that will allow you to celebrate their special moment and won’t break the bank.

Frugal Gifts for Graduates

High School Graduate Gift Ideas

For many young adults graduating high school, they are about to embark on an exciting new journey. Chances are they have never lived away from home before, and many are headed off to either college. Some may be starting a job and preparing to live completely on their own. Either way, their graduation is a huge milestone deserving of a celebration. Here are some gift ideas that they will surely appreciate!

  • Create your own gift basket filled with basic groceries or dorm necessities. These can be very inexpensive if you stick to the small stuff. Dollar stores have some great essentials that will allow you to stock up for a low price.
  • If the grad is close to you, a sentimental gift of a journal filled with special memories you have shared or a scrapbook filled with photos is always a meaningful gift. You can create photo books online inexpensively at sites like Snapfish or Shutterfly
  • Consider a few non-traditional items such as a portable phone charger, headphones, gas cards, a roll of quarters and some laundry soap etc.
  • Towels can be inexpensive and will always be used as they head off to college or an apartment. Find a fun print or a color that matches the personality of your grad, or consider a monogram for that “extra” touch.
  • Even if you aren’t crafty, this one is a cinch. Grab a canvas bag and an iron-on patch with their future school logo/mascot and make them a custom tote bag.
  • Help them ready for the college with notebooks, pens, highlighters, etc. This can be an inexpensive way to give a useful gift and save your grad some money come August.

College Graduates

The college grad is about to embark on a different journey. They are preparing to say goodbye to school and hello to adulthood. This time of life can be exciting, sad, happy, scary, and bittersweet. For many, they are starting their first job in their chosen career, and they may be moving away from home for the first time. You can celebrate their accomplisment and help them adjust to the real world with a thoughtful or useful gift.

  • Buy a new or used (or give your own copy) of your favorite book about “life” that you feel is inspirational during this transition. Include a personal inscription in the cover for a meaningful gift that they will cherish for years.
  • Check out your local craft store for an inexpensive diploma frame for your grad to display their hard-earned degree. Many of these stores have sales throughout the year (and coupons) so you can snag a great frame at a reduced price.
  • Household items like drinkware, plates and bowls, dish towels or small kitchen appliances are all things they will need as they launch into their new life. Consider a small gift basket of useful but inexpensive items to get them started.
  • A business card holder can be a thoughtful way to encourage your grad as they embark on their new career.
  • If you are looking for a small gift, try finding a graduation ornament online. You can use craft paint to put the year of their graduation on the ornament or write the year and the school on the back.

If you really want to give your college graduate a thoughtful gift, avoid such potentially discouraging statements as “What can you do with that degree?,” “Do you have a job lined up?,” or “Now the fun is over and the real world starts.” -- that’s a gift no graduate wants to receive!

Consumer Education Services, Inc. (CESI) is a non-profit committed to empowering and inspiring consumers nationwide to make wise financial decisions and live debt free. Speak with a certified counselor for a free debt analysis today

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1 Response to Frugal Gifts for Graduates

  1. Patricia Adlawan says:

    Enjoy the reading, Some good ideas, helpful.

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