Grad Gifts that Don’t Empty Your Wallet

It’s that time of year again; the sun is shining, the birds are chirping and the senior class is getting anxious for graduation.  And with graduation, comes the many elaborate and somewhat crazy parties, however, if you have a lot of senior friends, or you, yourself are a senior, the money you spend on gifts can get a little pricey.  Here are some tips and ideas for gifts that are meaningful, useful and most importantly: inexpensive.

If this is a distant friend, or you were accidentally invited over Facebook and it’s too awkward to remove yourself from the list:

A good idea always involves straight up cash.  Since you may not know the person that well, you don’t need to feel obligated to get something personalized.  I mean it doesn’t get much cheaper than just giving them a fatty Hamilton.  However, if you are trying to be a smudge more creative try making a graduation folding card, a pun, a simple mason jar filled with money topped with a graduation hat or message, or if you’re feeling really creative try some origami!

If you know the person but still have the same budget:

A good graduation book always gets the tears flowing and picture books such as Oh, the Places You’ll Go by Dr. Seuss and The Giving Tree by Shel Silverstein will most likely get the job done. Another idea is to get apparel or accessories from the college the person is attending- even JCC has a pretty good bookstore.

If you KNOW know the person and you still don’t have the cash flow to go all out:

One idea is to make a personalized gift basket.  Sure you can always go with the simple college essentials, but you can also infuse their personal tastes through their favorite color or foods.  You can also go with a photo collage that your friend can hang up in their dorm and remember you by as time between visits gets longer.  If the distance itself is painfully long you can also make them gifts displaying your friendship like a cute coffee mug or check out Etsy for some cheap and intimate jewelry.  Finally, a simple long, handwritten letter truly lets your friend know how you feel and if they were your true friend, they’d understand that you are just about broke.

If you want to be the friend that outdoes the rest:

Maybe you aren’t going to an extremely expensive college, or you have saved up multiple paychecks for this one gift, whatever the reason, you’re willing to go the extra mile.  Some websites worth checking out include Uncommon Goods and for unique and beautiful gifts. You could also combine many elements from other categories, and if you really want to impact someone, you can always go with a brand new car.

Personally, if someone bought me a Hawaiian pizza I’d be crying tears of joy and hugging the giver like crazy.  So just remember, it doesn’t matter what your financial situation may be, remember there’s always something you can do for a grad that they can appreciate.