7 Cheap Graduation Gift Ideas


Whether your graduate has completed high school or college, he or she should be equipped with certain tools for the next chapter in their lives. We've compiled a list of cheap graduation gift ideas that will help your soon-to-be college student survive the dorms and help your new adult survive the real world.

1. Toolbox.

Because grown-ups are responsible for fixing things in their apartment or dorm room, the first item on the life-kit list is a toolbox. A hammer will come in handy for hanging artwork, a screwdriver is perfect for assembling furniture, and a wrench will stop that leaky sink. A 53-piece tool set from Apollo Precision Tools includes all the essentials for home repairs and costs less than $30.

2. Shower caddy kit.

For a high school graduate heading off to a college dorm room in the fall, a shower caddy is a must. Make the pre-college shopping a bit easier by stocking the caddy with personal care products. This cheap graduation gift might include shampoo, conditioner, shaving cream, body scrub, luffa, manicure kit, and a pair of cheap flip-flops (for shower shoes).

3. Kitchen starter kit.

For any graduate moving out on his or her own, a kitchen starter kit is most welcome. This cheap graduation gift can be as generous as your budget allows: an oven mitt stuffed with small kitchen gadgets (whisk, spatula, salad tongs, etc) from the dollar store at one extreme, or a large mixing bowl or kitchen trash can brimming with items such as cups, can opener, cutting board, dish drain, and skillet at the other.

4. Laundry bag.

Grads on their way to a dorm or apartment likely dread the idea of schlepping dirty clothes to the laundry. Make this chore a little easier by filling a budget laundry basket or hamper with detergent, dryer sheets or fabric softener, and stain remover. You can even include a roll of quarters and a laundry cheat sheet with tips from your own experience.

5. A membership or subscription.

If your grad is eager to keep off the dreaded "Freshman 15" or shed the effects of all those late-night pizza runs, a gym membership is in order. Browse through sites like Living Social and Groupon for deals on fitness classes and gym facilities. Alternatively, help the grad stay current with a subscription to The New York Times or a favorite magazine. A subscription to Netflix is perfect for the TV junkie/movie maven while music fanatics will appreciate a subscription to Pandora Radio One ($4 a month) or Spotify Premium ($5 a month).

6. Artwork and Posters.

It's hard being on your own for the first time. Posters and artwork that display inspirational sayings, images of favorite musicians, and pictures of get-away spots can help ease lingering anxiety. For this cheap graduation gift check out chain retailers like Walmart, Target, Bed Bath & Beyond, as well as local merchants.

7. Games.

No matter the age, card and board games never go out of style. Grads will appreciate a simple, fun game such as Apples to Apples, which comes in party box size and sells for about $18.