Chances are you’ll be invited to at least one high school graduation party this year. You could go with the easy (and always welcome) gift of cold hard cash, or you could get creative with these gift ideas:
A stockpile of stuff. Gather up snacks, toiletries, OTC medications, and household items that you got for free or nearly free with coupons. Add in free samples you’ve received, and you’ve got the makings of a great stockpile that should help them survive at least the first semester at college, if not the entire freshman year.
A cookbook. There are loads of great cookbooks on the market, but the best one you could give would be one that you create yourself. Include photos and favorite family recipes. If you’re set on buying a cookbook, check out my list of favorite frugal cookbooks books. These cookbooks are filled with lots of inexpensive, simple recipes, along with tips and tricks to help you save time and money in the kitchen.
A few quality cooking items. If the graduate won’t be living in the dorms (or doesn’t have a full meal plan), buying a few quality cooking utensils, a deep skillet or a nice saucepan would all make fine gifts.
Quarters. Instead of giving your gift of cash in bills, give it in the form of quarters. Your graduate will think of you each time he or she does a load (or seven) of laundry or grabs a snack from a vending machine.
A few good books. Many graduates leave home without a lot of personal finance knowledge under their belts, let alone, any ideas on how to save money. I highly recommend Street Smarts by Jim Randel, Your Money: The Missing Manual by J.D. Roth, and 10,001 Ways to Live Large on a Small Budget by the writers of Wise Bread.
Professional clothing. If you’re close to the graduate and have a bit of money to spend, take them shopping for a nice, professional outfit that they can wear to a job interview. Encourage them to pick something classic, conservative, and yet, something that reflects their own personal style. Buy quality pieces that can be mixed and matched with other things in their wardrobe. When they get called for an interview for a fabulous internship, they can focus on the interview instead of fretting about what to wear.
Remember, it’s the thought you put into the gift that matters, not how much money you spend. Be creative and give a gift that will be useful for years to come, and it will be appreciated.
Now it’s your turn: What gifts do you give high school graduates?