Frugal Graduation Gifts

I discussed a few ways that we save money on gift-giving in my last blog entry and now I would like to share a few ideas that I use, in particular, for graduation gifts.

Here are just a few of my favorite gifts for the graduates in my life:

Food Kit:

My food kit is all put together inside of a dish tub.

Within the dish tub, I provide a set of four place settings (plastic forks, knifes, spoons, bowls, & plates) and a sponge & dish soap for doing their dishes.

I also put in Ramen Noodles, Cup of Noodles, and any other food that I can find that can easily be prepared in their room.

Just tie a bow on the outside and know that this is a gift that they will actually use.

Laundry Kit:

This is one of my favorite gifts for a graduate.

Just assemble everything in a laundry basket and tie a bow on the handles of the basket.

Inside stick a roll of quarters, a mesh laundry bag, detergent, fabric softener sheets, a Downy Ball and you can put together a tutorial for them on how to treat stains and easy directions on how to do their laundry.

Step-by-step instructions, for the newbie to doing laundry, (as many graduates are!) can be found here and ten tips for the perfect wash can also be given to them too.

If you are even more ambitious than that, you can put these things in a binder for the graduate and include your own tips and recipes for getting stains out.

Coupon Queen:

One of my favorite things to ever get in the mail, when I was in college, was a care package…from ANYONE!

Giving the graduate coupons for care packages can be a very frugal gift and one that they can enjoy throughout their first year in college.

Coupons can be assembled with a self-addressed stamped envelope.

I like to provide a menu of choices and let them write on the coupon what they would specifically like.

I include simple family favorites that can easily be packaged and enjoyed by them.

Cookies can be shipped to them in empty Pringles containers or in Christmas tins.

Bar cookies are very good choices for your menu options because they hold up well in the shipping process.


Other Ideas

Gifts for a graduate who is not planning on attending college or who will be attending a community college can be a challenge.

Many of the gifts, traditionally given to a graduate, are made for those who are going away to school.

For these graduates an organizer or a journal can be a wonderful and thoughtful gift option.

Address books, so that the graduate can record where all of their friends are going, are also nice for them.

The important thing, in my opinion, is to offer a gift that they can actually use.

I can’t tell you how many books I got for my graduation- the infamous Dr. Suess book, Chicken Soup for the Soul books, and coffee table books.

These are nice, but are usually read once and put away.

I rarely reread them and they ended up collecting dust on my shelf.

I am disappointed when gifts I give are not used because, to me, it is like money going down the drain.

Don’t be afraid to ask your graduate what they are in need of so that your gift is actually used!

If you are the mother of a graduate, I wish you congratulations on making it this far with your child.

You should be so proud of both of you!


Feel free to include ideas of your own for graduates and drop them in our comments box below!




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Published May 28, 2006 by:

Amy Allen Clark is the founder of You can read all about her here.

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