Frugal Graduation Gift Ideas

by Tamara Wilhite

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Another round of graduations, another load of questions of what to get them (aside from a new car and apartment, as they've quietly said they wanted). Here are a few more frugal graduation gift ideas for the new grads in your life:

  • Your starving student may have been living off of pizza and Ramen noodles. When moving into their own place, cooking for themselves becomes more of an option. Gifts for new graduates starting off include canned fruit and vegetables, canned chow mein, and boxes of stuffing and broth. To make all-in-one dinners for those that can cook, give them spice baskets (single basket loaded with a dollar per container spices from the dollar store).

  • Starting adult life can mean starting a new job. Skip giving ties and scarves; those are an individual's means for expression in their wardrobe. Give white undershirts or polo shirts to a young man and panty hose or basic make up to a young woman.

  • ET went to great lengths to phone home. Don't let it be that great a challenge for the new graduate. Help your new graduate do the same with a pre-paid phone card or TRAC phone.

  • Good flash memories cost around $10 to $20, but they are easily lost and more often needed in today's business world. Pick up one as a gift for your grad.

  • Help them write out a resume or even business cards. The investment in their future job hunt will more than pay off in the future.

  • The greatest gift will be any financial advice you imparted throughout their lives. Minimizing debt in school can't be changed at graduation, but advice on how to pay off any school debt as fast as possible or avoiding the rush of grown up purchases will be priceless as they grow up. Give them copies of financial advice books from Suze Orman and Dave Ramsey.

Tamara Wilhite is the author of Humanity's Edge and Sirat: Through the Fires of Hell , which are available on

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  • Check out for Great Graduation Party Supplies at Low Prices.
  • Have a graduation celebration to attend this spring? Try one of these great frugal graduation gift ideas for the new grad in your life.
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