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 Cindy Irby from Longview, TX
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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".
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.
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.
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.
Well, remember that not all girls like feminine things, first -- especially since more and more people have allergies to scented stuff. On the other hand, I know several (straight) guys that do like it! :)
Anyway, I graduated back in the mid-90s, but the older teenagers I know aren't particularly different! The things that I appreciated the most tended to be useful:
-- decent headphones (oldschool puffy type) or earbuds to block out the world while working or gaming on the computer
-- gift certificates to stores that carry books/CDs/movies that are new & used (like Amazon.com) or multi-purpose stores like Target
-- pay-as-you-go cellphone or top-up card
-- gas card
What meant the most to me (or the teens I know now) was if the person asked my family members what I enjoyed spending my time doing, and if I could use anything related to it. I think that's the case for pretty much anybody over the age of 14, though! :)
Gift certificates to their favorite stores cannot be beat. God bless you.
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.
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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Any ideas for thrifty graduation gifts?
For an inexpensive graduation present, I like to buy a paper thesaurus or something that the grad likes and wrap it in $1 bills. If they are taking a class trip to someplace like Hawaii, it is fun to wrap a bottle of sun blocker with them, too!
Alouette - Wasilla, AK (12/01/2000)
Some ideas for thrifty graduation gifts? If the student is going away to college and will be dorming or living in an apartment, these would be appropriate: bathroom and dish towels, a place setting or two, a sheet set, a comforter, and pre-paid phone cards. The linens and sheets can be found at discount stores or even dollar stores. The pre-paid phone cards can be bought online (shop around) and are much cheaper than the ones you buy at some stores.
How about a nice stationery set, with a colorful gel pen or two (they cost about $1 each) and some colorful stationery? Don't forget postage stamps, too. The post office has lots of pretty ones.
If the graduate has a car, how about making up an emergency first aid kit for the car? It could fit in the glove box, and could have a few band-aids, a small tube of antibiotic cream, a package of aspirin, a few cotton balls, a small gauze roll, some cough drops, etc. Pack it all in a heavy-duty ziploc bag, then make a pretty page insert using your computer to slip inside the bag. The page insert could have something like "First Aid Kit" printed on it, and have some colorful graphics, or list the contents of the bag, or list some useful first aid instructions (which you could probably find on the net, and then copy).
You might also make a car emergency kit -- road flares, emergency "send assistance" sign, a can of fix-a-flat, windshield washer fluid, lock de-icer, a quart of oil, etc. Put it all in a plastic storage box with a lid.
Movie passes to the local cinema might be a good idea, too. In our area, if you buy $25 of movie "bucks" at General Cinema (redeemable as cash to buy tickets or concessions), you also get a free movie pass. Or how about an Entertainment booklet? There are lots of coupons the new graduate could use.
If you are very close to the graduate, how about a "coupon" for an outing with you? You can do this frugally, see a matinee movie together, then go for an ice cream sundae, or coffee and dessert afterward. Arrange to pick up the graduate at his or her convenience. Or plan to do an activity together that the graduate likes, like hiking, biking, miniature golf, etc.
There's lots more ideas, but I don't think the gift has to be expensive or something fancy -- perhaps the gift of "your" time spent with him or her would be most appreciated by the graduate.
Ness - Lakeview, NY (12/01/2000)
If it is your boyfriend, you could make a box that had all the things that represent you and him individually and as a couple. You can put movie tickets, letters, cards, pictures, videos, etc. You could decorate it on the outside with pictures of y'all and pictures of what represents him.
I did this for my boyfriend for his 18th birthday and he absolutely loved it. It turned out so cute! It was kinda pricey for me because I put 18 of his favorite things in it, but you could always make it cheap. Things you make are always better than things you buy! I hope I helped! (05/16/2005)
Last year I took giant laundry bags, filled them with a bunch of airfilled water balloons, and then in one giant balloon stuffed a bunch of items and wrote on the balloon in Sharpi what each meant.
I also found books or movies at the thrift store that had to do with growing up or moving and edited them a little. For instance, one book was called "Rooster Goes To School", and I crossed out rooster on every page and wrote a friends name and crossed off school on every page and put the name of the college my friend was going to, and then on every picture pasted his head on the rooster's.
It was kind of corny, but cute, and a little something extra to put in the bottom of the laundry basket. I think the sight of me carrying around ten of these things in my car (we all know everyone schedules their parties in the same damn weekend) was the funniest thing though. Anyway, hope I can outdo myself this year when the rest of my friends graduate. (05/14/2007)
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". (05/23/2007)
Stationery with their name and university colors. (12/07/2007)