May and June are coming and with them come graduations from both high school and college. If you know anyone in that stage of life, you are likely to be hit with lots of graduation announcements and party invitations. When you’re living on a tight budget, those things in the mail can bring different emotions. On one hand, you’re so excited for the new graduate! They have so much ahead of them and you’re happy to celebrate with them.
On the other hand, it can be stressful to find space in the budget for a graduation gift. You don’t want to just do cash or a check, especially since you can’t afford much. But you don’t want to give the graduate cheap things either. Affordable graduation gifts can be a lot easier than you think! Keep reading to find out how to give a great graduation gift on a budget.
Affordable Graduation Gifts- High School graduation
Whether the graduate is going on to college, tech school, taking a year off, or going right into the workforce, all these gift ideas will be great.
Create a gift basket
If the graduate is going on to college, get a shower caddy from the dollar store or even Walmart and fill it with sample sizes of face wipes, shampoo, etc. and wrap the whole thing in a towel. Or you could do a pop-up mesh hamper with a small bottle of laundry detergent, fabric sheets, and a small jar of quarters (quarters can be just ones you collect in your change jar, doesn’t’ have to be a whole roll).
If they aren’t going to college, you can still create a gift basket. Maybe put together one of their favorite snacks or a movie-themed basket or even travel themed if they are taking some time to travel. Base the basket on their tastes, plans, and personality.
One of the best gifts I got for my high school graduation was a desk lamp. Simple, under $20, but I still have it, many years later. If they are going off to college, they will need lots of different things for their dorm room or apartment. Even small things like a desk lamp or a towel and washcloth set can mean a lot.
If they are staying home, things for their room are still nice as they are transitioning from a kid style to an adult style. You may even have an old minifridge kicking around you don’t need. This is necessary for a dorm room but can be nice for the graduate staying at home for a while too. It allows them some independence.
Whether the graduate is going to college or not, they will need to learn some things, like how to manage money. Both The Total Money Makeover and Love Your Life, Not Theirs are under $20. If they are going to college, The Graduate Survival Guide: 5 Mistakes You Can’t Afford to Make in College would be a great choice and also under $20. That time of graduating high school can be overwhelming with all the “grown-up” things they have to learn and start doing. Giving them a way to learn how to manage money the right way can give them they guidelines they need to succeed.
Affordable Graduation Gifts- College graduation
Graduating from college can be both a relief and absolutely terrifying. Now you are entering the “real world,” starting a career, and some are even thinking about marriage. Gifts for them can be a little more challenging.
Many college graduates already have an apartment but now is the time to replace some of the “college chic” items that have had previously. Some new dish towels, a new trash can, even a few strings of LED decorative lights would be a great idea. Make sure that you know the graduate’s style before you purchase anything for their apartment. If you don’t know them well, ask around for suggestions.
Yup. Gift baskets again. DIY gift baskets are a great way to put together a nice but budget-friendly graduation gift. As many will be starting their career, a nice travel mug and a bag or box of decent coffee or tea would be nice. If they are still in the process of sending out resumes, don’t underestimate a box of envelopes, a book of stamps, and some quality printer paper. Those things can get expensive and will be appreciated.
A nice frame
The new graduate is going to need a place to put their degree (unless you’re like me then it’s tucked away in a fire-safe box). You can get a nice document frame for between $20-30, or for about $20 you can get a document frame/shadow box that has space for their tassel.
Spring can be an exciting time with friends and family graduating from college and high school. Use these ideas to find affordable graduation gifts. You can absolutely give a nice gift without having to spend money you don’t have. You don’t have to stick with these examples if they don’t fit the graduate’s personality or needs. Go ahead and use them to help kickstart your creativity and put a personal touch on your gift.