Budget Gifts for the College Grad

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Last week I shared with you gift suggestions for the high school graduate. This week I thought I’d address college graduates.

While both have accomplished great things, their situations are a tad different. The high school graduate is headed off for the military, a job, or further education. He or she is still pretty young and not really sure about the future.

Perhaps I’m broad brushing things here. But, I’m going to assume that your typical college graduate is still broke, but has his or her sights on changing that situation. They need to be practical. Hopefully, they won’t be living on Mom and Dad’s dime anymore, but will be able to approach life a little more independently. And, hopefully, they have an idea what they want to do once they move the tassel to the other side.

Gifts for this crowd can still be fun. A restaurant splurge is still enjoyable. But, gifts for college grads can be a little more serious and career-minded. And these kind of gifts may take some research.

For instance, my youngest brother just graduated from college. He’s headed for the National Guard in October. I need to do some research. What would truly bless a young military man? You can bet I’ll be quizzing AnnMarie, Toni, and Monica for their input. And then I’ll be looking for ways to get these items on sale.

Here are some budget ways that work for me:

  • Browsing Target Clearance – I love Target clearance. I have found so many great deals, often just a few dollars for clothing and household items.
  • Redeeming SwagBucks for Amazon Gift CardsSwagbucks has helped to pay for many a freepacino as well as lots of gifts that we order through Amazon.
  • Using Ebates and ShopAtHome coupons and store portals to get cash back – While you do have to reach payout before you get cash back, every little bit helps.
  • Shopping through Ebay. And if you do it through Ebates you can get 1-3% back, too and 2% back from ShopAtHome.

And lastly, probably the most important, is to fight the feeling that you have to do anything. A graduation gift is a wonderful gesture. But, there is no law that says you must give an expensive gift, or any gift for that matter.

Love your graduate, celebrate your graduate, bake a cake for him. But, don’t feel that you have to go beyond your means for graduation.

What do YOU do to save money?

Tell us in the comments section. Or, leave your permalink below. Can’t wait to hear how you are “acting your wage.”

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  1. I don’t have suggestions for this, except that my mother gave me a used hardback copy of my favorite book (Angle of Repose, at that time) from my favorite bookstore. I still have it.

    I was looking at your past Frugal posts — love the moving one. We are about to move AGAIN. My 3rd move in 3 years (with 2 kids).

    Thanks for hosting this awesome carnival.

  2. Thanks for hosting! I posted a recipe for rhubarb shortcake today. I realized when I was making it that it is definitely a frugal yet YUMMY recipe! The rhubarb was free from my cousin’s garden, and the other ingredients are bulk staples in my house as the shortcake part is from scratch.

  3. Small household items are nice for a college student moving out of a dorm room and into their first home.

  4. One thing that would always bless a graduate would be The Total Money Makeover! They might be broke, but maybe they won’t make the same mistakes some of us have. I know Ramsey has given the idea of giving money for someone to read a book and give a report. That would be a great idea for someone like your brother, where you have quite a bit more communication.

    Hope you come up with a great idea! Blessings.

  5. Thanks so much for the tips!! A restaurant slurge is always nice but once you have eaten, that’s it except for the weight gain (LOL)!

  6. My nephew graduated from college a couple of weeks ago. In our family it is tradition to give cash gifts, so that is what I did. But I also included a sheet of “Financial Advice for a College Graduate.” In it are tips about started ones financial journey wisely.

    –Put some of your money in a savings account each month
    –Don’t get the biggest/ most expensive apartment you can find
    –Start a retirement savings account

    It includes things like that. Don’t know if it will help, but at least I tried. 😉

  7. YES! I love Target Clearances. I had just written a post about it, and then I popped over to your site to link up for Frugal Friday. Target. Seriously. Rocks.

  8. I’m a big fan of those clearance shelves at Target too! Especially in the journal/stationery/office supplies section. Yay for writing supplies!

    Today at The Cheapskate Cook I wrote about a way to rescue leftover cooked rice from being wasted. Now I just need to learn to stop making so much extra in the first place….

  9. Im a big fan of buying books on clearance. I got the entire Jane Austin collections and tons of other classics for $20.00 bucks.