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Frugal Graduation Gift Ideas

Category Graduation
An inexpensive present can be both useful and meaningful. This guide contains frugal graduation gift ideas.
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June 6, 2007

It's graduation time, and I found out in the last minute that my niece was graduating and wanted us to come. A gift was in order but the budget was not!

So I put together a metallic gift bag, on hand from my collection (gotten at a yard sale!). I filled it with tissue paper (99 Cent store) I had stashed and put in a book on colleges I had meant to give her and a book on English usage I had gotten a while ago for gift purposes. I added a ring I had, in a little decorative box, and an Armenian necklace I picked up at a folk faire! (And I put in a card from my card collection and wrote Happy Graduation in calligraphy).

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Total outlay $20 for necklace, everything else was on hand, and I made a gift tag out of a promotional tag for Star Wars that came in with the newspaper (I covered the side with ads with white sticky labels and wrote her name on it). And it was all color coordinated, white and red! Hoorah! The penny pincher pulls it off again!

By Pamphyila from Los Angeles

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April 21, 20080 found this helpful

If your niece is a "nice," gracious, etc. young lady, she will appreciate ANYTHING that you got her, or even nothing at all if you cannot afford to give her anything. Your presence at the graduation and after party is all the presents she should want. There is something VERY WRONG when anyone EXPECTS someone else to GIVE them anything, ever!

I could tell from your gift that you did put a lot of thought into the gift for her. $20.00 is a lot for me to spend.

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0 found this helpful
May 7, 2009

What "thrifty" graduation gift (under $25 or so) would your teenage son or daughter be most happy with? We have lots of friends graduating this year and want to give something, but something useful!

I'm fine with writing a check. Would most kids be okay with that? Any more creative tips? What did your son receive that he was really happy with? I can always hit Bath and Body for the girls. Thanks!

By cjirby from Longview, TX

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May 23, 20070 found this helpful
Best Answer

If the gift recipient will be away from home for college make them several "I Need Cookies" postcards. These postcards should be addressed to you, the gift giver, and pre-stamped. There should also be a space for the recipient to write in their address, so you know where to send the cookies. When you receive these postcards the following semester, be prepared to bake the cookies and mail them off at the post office. For a sample postcard, google in "i need cookies postcard".

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May 15, 20090 found this helpful
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My daughter graduated from high school a year ago and went away to college in the fall. She received lots of graduation gifts, mostly cash or checks. She liked the money best as she could use it for living expenses and gas money while at college. It was great for us to as she didn't need as much money from us that first semester. We too had several relatives and friends with kids graduating, we sent $25 checks to each of them.

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May 15, 20090 found this helpful
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I have gotten to giving tool sets. I make sure it has a hammer, screwdrivers, pliers, and if possible hangers. Anyone (boy or girl) could use this in a dorm room or apartment. My daughter uses hers all the time and loves it. You can usually get them for about $20. Hope that helps.

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May 15, 20090 found this helpful
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When my four sons graduated from high school, they liked the cash most of all. But one gift that each of them received that they each put to good use was a laundry bag, filled with a roll of quarters, laundry detergent, fabric softener, dryer sheets, and a couple of packs of hangers. This gift was one more thing we did not have to worry about getting when sending them off to college.

Another area to think about is a gift card to Barnes & Nobles or find out where the recipient is going to college and get a gift card to their bookstore. We did this for a couple of times and the kids truly appreciated it.

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May 15, 20090 found this helpful

I gave a $25 gift card to Wal-Mart in a card to my friend's son when he graduated. He seemed to like that just fine and bought some work boots he was going to need for a summer job.

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May 15, 20090 found this helpful

Cash, cash and more cash. Teens like money, teens need money. My daughter hates gift cards, she doesn't like being limited to a particular store. Cash or a visa gift card is the way to go.

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January 5, 20010 found this helpful

I know it is only January, but it's time to start thinking of graduation gifts for high school seniors. Does anyone have any nice, but thrifty ideas on gifts besides money? Thanks.

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January 7, 20010 found this helpful
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When my grandaughter graduated from high school, I made her a grandmother remembers book, starting with her grandfather and I in high school, pictures of her Mom and Dad when they were young, going up through the years, and then going on to her baby pictures, when she started school, etc. It was a big hit, she loved it, and makes a nice keep sake. Her two sisters can hardly wait to get theirs. - Lizzie

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January 16, 20010 found this helpful
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Most college students that will be living in a dorm will need a "shower bucket" to carry items to and from the community bathroom.

I bought myself a mini rectangular crate, and I put all my shower stuff in this. It should be large enough to handle a shampoo and creme rinse bottle, but still be small enough to fit on a narrow bench or even hang on a hook.

Be creative and see how you can organize what your favorite college student might need to grab on the way to the shower.

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January 7, 20010 found this helpful

For the ladies, I buy inexpensive picture frames at garage sales and second hand shop to make decorative pin (broaches) display. I first saw these at a home show sitting on a dresser.

Take out any glass and make a posterboard template for an insert. Cover the posterboard with batting and a piece of velvet type material. (I used burgundy velvet.) Use a hot glue gun to glue the batting to the cardboard and also the velvet where it overlaps on the back. Tuft in several places with thread and/or tiny glass beads. Slip back into the frame along with the backing of the original picture and decorate with your favorite jewelry.

I made several of these for Christmas and they were lovely, especially with silver or gold picture frames. - Janice

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February 16, 20010 found this helpful

A key chain with their name, year the graduated and school they graduate from.

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August 24, 20050 found this helpful

i think mix tapes are a big hit. Just take songs you know they like or songs you like and want to share and put them on tapes. they work in cars that don't have cd players and boom boxes. its personal and not to expensive .

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August 25, 20050 found this helpful

The one staple gift I always use for Seniors or other hard to buy for teens is the movie gift basket. I place a $5 gift card (enough for at least 2 movies at our local chain video store), a couple bags of popcorn and a couple of baggies of bulk candy in a cute dollar store container. It's kind of a universal gift but very easy to do and its something just about everyone can use and I spend less than $10 per basket!

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May 6, 20050 found this helpful

My sister and I are both graduating this year. I need ideas for presents to get her without spending a lot of money?

Kystal

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May 7, 20050 found this helpful

You could assemble a photo album with all her school pictures from kindergarten to senior year. If you're more creatively inclined you could make a lovely scrapbook. Your sister will love it!

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May 16, 20050 found this helpful

It might sound boring, but a small toolkit (Sears, Home Depot, etc.--approx. $40) is something that will definately be used at some point in time.

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June 4, 20050 found this helpful

I'm looking for my own sister who is graduating high school and going on to university - I found some great home appliances she doesn't have which she'll need... like a mini-fridge for $100USD. Home appliances are the best suggestion i got for a google search of "graduation presents" :)

bobx11 at gmail.com

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June 10, 20050 found this helpful

If you and your sister are going to be living in college dorm rooms- a great gift idea is a cute robe and shower flips- community bathrooms can be a real pain and it would be more comfortable getting out of the shower and running back to your room in a robe instead of a towel (think how embarassing if it fell off!)

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November 5, 20050 found this helpful

My sister is graduating this year also and I've been having a hard time thinking of gift ideas as well. One idea I thought of was to make a gift basket with things to make her dorm room more like home. I will include a comforter, rug, and maybe you could even include some framed pictures of family and friends. Good luck!

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May 20, 20080 found this helpful

Condoms(!) and a realistic discussion on pregnancy prevention by an older sister. If she is anything like my sister she will be starting to experiment with her sexuality, her new found freedom and not having a parent or someone older to guide her, she will need protection. Plus a gift certificate to her favorite clothing store so she can buy some fly summer stuff.

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May 18, 2009

I have four graduates on my list this year. Can anyone help me with homemade gift ideas? I'm on a tight budget but would like to reward them with something useful and nice.

By suzieq71 from Horton, AL

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May 18, 20090 found this helpful

Though not fully homemade, and I don't know how "inexpensive" it is; I think a tool kit is always a good gift for college bound kids. You could start with a plastic shoebox, and include a hammer, some screwdrivers, and a wrench. You might also include some of the "Command" adhesive hooks, some duct tape, and some white glue. The tools need not be "good" ones (as in: dollar store is OK). During move-in week, when someone is trying to assemble furniture or other dorm goods, your gift recipient will be the "hero" (or heroine) for having the tools needed.

If your budget is a little bigger; stores like Walmart have preassembled tool kits (in colors) for less than 20 dollars.

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May 18, 20090 found this helpful

i would give a college graduate cash or a gift card even a gift card for gas would be nice.

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May 23, 20090 found this helpful

I posted a similar question a few days ago and received an idea I'm going to use. I'm giving "Need Cookie" postcards. I'm making postcards that the graduate can mail to me when they want some homemade cookies. Do a quick search and you should be able to find the reply someone posted. This way your graduates can drop a postcard in the mail to you at some point through the next year letting you know they're ready to receive some homemade cookies. The postcard has a place for them to check a box to tell you what kind they want, or you can let them choose, or not. Have your address pre-printed on the card, but leave their's blank - you never know where they'll be in the next few months! Go ahead and put the postage on for them. I'm planning on adding a $10 bill with 3 of the postcards for each student - the cash will be called "milk money." Let me know if you don't find the original post with the graphic and I'll e-mail to you. CJirby at sbcglobal dot net. The cost to make homemade cookies is low (especially if you use the cake mix cookie recipe, which also travels well, and the postage cost won't be too bad with it being spread throughout the year.

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May 26, 20090 found this helpful

What about making a no-sew blanket in their high school or college colors?

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0 found this helpful
April 30, 2013

I need high school graduation gift ideas for both boys and girls who will not be living in a dorm, but will continue to live at home after graduation.

By Lee Ann S.

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May 3, 20130 found this helpful

Give them a hope chest or hope chest item. They will sigh now, but when they try to move out they will be grateful.

Otherwise, Generic electronics accessories are always useful: chargers, non-skid pads, screen cleaning kit, etc.

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0 found this helpful
March 31, 2012

Can someone help me choose a college graduation gift for my 21 year old son? I don't have a lot of money, so maybe up to $100.00 and that's pushing it.

By Kathie

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April 2, 20120 found this helpful

We have just saved money until they head off to school and then when we figure out what they need. We will go to walmart or where ever, and we buy what they need.

We have graduated 2 girls and our son this year and this is what has worked best for us!

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