Frugal Graduation Gift Ideas

Looking for a graduation gift that's perfect for both the recipient and your budget? Consider one of these inexpensive, but thoughtful graduation gift ideas.

For the high school senior

  • Heading to college is bound to leave the graduate feeling homesick from time to time. Help to combat this feeling by creating a homesick emergency kit. Place several reminders of home-pictures, a handwritten note, local foods, etc.-into a box. Then wrap it tightly and include a note that the package is only to be opened under extreme feelings of homesickness.
  • Do you have a Upromise account? If so, you might consider gifting the graduate with all or even a portion of the money that you have in the account. This could amount to a fairly generous gift, but it won't cost you anything out of pocket.

For the college senior

  • Save the new graduate some cash and worries by offering a week's worth of groceries. With a little planning, this seemingly extravagant gift can be obtained for free or very nearly free. Just start matching coupons to sale prices, and you'll find lots of food items that can be obtained for free. Rebates are another good avenue to food freebies, so be sure to consider them as well.
  • Putting together a spa-themed gift basket is the perfect way to pamper any female graduate. To keep this gift affordable, start by clipping coupons for any beauty products you can find, then head to your favorite drug or discount store and match your coupons to items in the trial-size section. This should net you quite a few beauty freebies. For even more beauty bargains, get in the habit of checking clearance end caps in stores, and be on the lookout for free product samples. Many companies offer free samples through their Web sites.

For either

  • Prepare the graduate for the road ahead by giving a fully stocked travel bag. Start by purchasing an inexpensive travel or makeup bag (maybe even from a yard sale). Then stock it with travel-size toiletries. Many of these items can be obtained for free by matching coupons to items available in the trial section of the store, or through free sample offers.
  • Make it easy for the graduate to stay in touch by giving the gift of a phone card. By keeping an eye on sales, you can often pick these up inexpensively during a buy-one-get=one sale.

Remember, the perfect graduation gift doesn't have to be expensive. Consider the graduate's needs, and you're sure to find the perfect gift.

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