Graduation Gifts on a BudgetJune 9, 2014
By Judy Razo
Sometimes the end of the school year can mean more than just the start of summer; it can also be the peak of graduation party season. Often, adults are expected to bring money or a gift that will help the graduate when starting school or a new job. This can be a problem when you’re on a budget or have your own child to send off to college. On the one hand you want to give an impressive gift that truly makes an impact on the recipient, and on the other, you don’t want that gift to eat up your bank account.
So how can you strike a happy medium? I suggest you set your budget for each gift at no more than $25 dollars and use some of these ideas.
If you want your gift to have an impact on the recipient, make a sentimental connection to the gift or give something the graduate will find useful in his or her new life.
- Start by asking if the graduate is registered anywhere to remove the guesswork. If he or she is not registered, you can always give something practical such as a backpack, dorm bedding, or even a shower caddy with flip-flops for the dorms.
- To make it more personal, give a journal or guidebook and write a dedication on the inside cover. Great guidebooks include The Freshman Survival Guide by Nora Bradbury-Haehl for college students and Effective Immediately by Emily Bennington and Skip Lineberg for someone starting his or her first job.
- Check Groupon in the city where the graduate will be living. Buy him or her a nice meal or fun experience that is out of the ordinary. You’ll end up getting a bigger bang for your buck.
- Shop online. You can sort the items by price, which will help you stay within your budget. Order your gift with plenty of time to have it delivered to you, or browse online before going to the store to buy the gift in person.
- If you’d like the gift to be bigger but can’t stretch your pennies, you can also pool your money together with other parents for a large item like a one-cup coffee maker or dorm refrigerator.
The end goal is that you are thoughtful in giving your gift but don’t break the bank along the way. And remember, extra points always go to the creative.