Cheap and Meaningful Graduation Gifts for Your Grad!

May 4, 2021 | Gift Ideas

Graduation is such a special time in a person's life! We've rounded up our favorite graduation gifts to help you celebrate with them. Cheap, meaningful, practical, we've got 'em all!

Woman hugging father after graduating, from Fun Cheap or Free

It's that time of year again! Everywhere you look, people are graduating and getting ready to conquer the next phase of life. Whether it's kindergarten, high school, college, nursing school, you name it. Celebrate all the hard work as your loved one ends this chapter. Show your graduate how proud you are by getting them something special!

*Note: When you click the links in this post, we may receive a commission at no extra cost to you.

It doesn't have to be pricey and you don't have to agonize over what to gift. We've got some super special graduation gift ideas they'll love! Choose from one of these ideas and you'll be on your way to the graduation party in no time. Let's go!


Hip2Save graduation gift with Tide, from Fun Cheap or Free
Photo Cred: Hip2Save

You don't have to put a lot of time, effort, or money into these fun graduation gift ideas! Most of these are super cheap and can even be free if you already have everything you need to put them together at home.

  • Cookies – Make a batch of your favorite cookies and attach a note that says “You're One Smart Cookie!”
  • Their Favorite Beverage – Get their favorite bottled beverage and attach a note that says “Sip Sip Hooray!”
  • Laundry Essentials – Grab a bottle of detergent, some dryer sheets, and attach a note from Hip2Save that says “Have LOADS of Fun in College!”
  • Picture Collage – Turn to your graduate's social media! Print off a lot of their pictures and make a collage they can take when they go off to college or join the real world. It makes for a cheap and memorable decoration they'll always cherish!
  • “Open When” Letters – We all know that life can be tough! Help your graduate ease into it by writing a bunch of different letters to be opened at different times in their upcoming year or life. Some ideas could include: their first day on their own, when they're homesick, when they need a laugh, when they're having a hard day, etc. They'll be so grateful at how thoughtful your gift is!
  • College Survival Gift Basket – Go to the dollar store, grab a basket, and fill it up! Make it fun while also adding some essentials in as well. Some flip flops for the shower, shaving cream, hair ties, toothbrush and paste, soap, toilet paper, kitchen utensils, dish soap, you name it! You can easily make this as extravagant or close to the budget as you need to.

Don't you love how easy those are?! You really don't have to push the budget to come up with good graduation gifts for the grads in your life. Think outside of the box a little bit and you'll come up with some great ideas! Pinterest is always a great place to look if you want even more DIY graduation gift ideas.


Sugar and Charm's money in a confetti balloon, from Fun Cheap or Free
Photo Cred: Sugar and Charm

What grad wouldn't want money?! Figure out what your budget is for your graduation gifts before you head to the bank to get cash. Then you'll know exactly how much you need and if you'll need quarters, $1s, $5s, $10s, or anything else.

  • Confetti Balloon with Dollar Bills – This money graduation gift idea from Sugar and Charm is one of our favorites! Get a clear balloon, add some confetti to it, insert a bunch of rolled up dollar bills, and blow it up!
  • Water Bottle Full of Quarters – It's always handy to have a water bottle so the graduate can take it with them into their new life. Go a step further and fill it up with quarters. That'll give them a good supply for those coin-operated washer and dryers!
  • Graduation Cap Mason Jars – Grab a mason jar and put a bunch of rolled up dollar bills in it. Spray paint the lid black, tape a black square of paper to the top, and attach a small tassel. Bonus points if you attach a chalk label and write “Congrats Grad!” on it.
  • Lightbulb Money Gift – Get a fake lightbulb, throw some money in it, and attach a note that says “Here's to a Future That's as Bright as You Are!”
  • “In Case of Emergency, Break Glass” – This is such a fun graduation gift idea! Get a cheap picture frame (you know you probably have an old one lying around the house somewhere). Tape the cash to a piece of paper that says “In Case of Emergency, Break Glass” and display it in the picture frame. So funny and so usable!
  • A Variety of Gift Cards – Grab some of your grad's favorite gift cards and get them in $5-10 amounts. We're talking their favorite food places, Amazon, Target, Walmart, or whatever they'll use!

You can never go wrong giving a card with money inside, too. That'll still be just as appreciated!


Woman wrapped up in a graduation gift blanket, from Fun Cheap or Free

Here are some graduation gift ideas she's sure to love! You really can't go wrong giving her any of these gift ideas.

  • Minky Couture Blanket – Keep your grad warm and cozy with one of our favorite blankets, ever!!! Use the code PAGE45 to get 45% off at checkout.
  • Beauty Gift Pack – Make her a traveling gift pack! Grab a small travel bag and include some lip gloss, nail polish, nail file, hair accessories (use the code JORDAN15 for 15% off), hairbrush (use code JORDAN to get 10% off), and anything else she may love.
  • Weekender Bag – Help her come visit you at home! Get her a new weekender bag she's sure to love. Bonus points when it makes her think of you every time she uses it!
  • Planner – Help her keep her assignments and life straight! A basic planner is perfect for keeping up with everything that's due soon so they don't sneak up on her. The Productivity Planner is perfect for keeping her new life in order! Help her be more organized in her life and less stressed.
  • Turn Off Your Straightener Doormat – Really, need we say more?? Help her to remember to turn that straightener off so she doesn't burn the place down! There are also other fun doormats that have reminders to grab their keys, wallets, and more.
  • Mini Wireless Photo Printer – For the girl who loves to take pictures, get her a wireless printer that she can carry with her wherever she goes!
  • Make-Up – This is the perfect practical gift for any girl who loves to get dolled up! Help her stock up on her favorites.

Did any of those graduation gifts jump out at you, screaming your special someone's name?! Regardless of what you get her, she'll love it and be so grateful.


Man using earbuds while working, from Fun Cheap or Free

Let us not forget about the special guy in our life! He's sure to love these graduation gifts and will love the thought behind them, too.

  • Noise-Cancelling Headphones – Help him study, work, or tune out his noisy roommates with a nice pair of noise-cancelling headphones.
  • Backpack – Don't let him take a ratty backpack into his new life! Get him a new backpack or messenger bag so he can carry his stuff around in style.
  • Shaving Kit – Get him a nice toiletry bag with all the shaving essentials he could need. Walmart has all the Harry's shavings goodies without having to buy a subscription.
  • Toolbox – Has he been using Dad's tools at home? Get him his own to take with him in his new journey!
  • Wallet – A wallet can be a man's pride and joy. Get him a nice one that will last a long time! Don't forget to add some cash; it's bad luck to give a new wallet that's empty. 😉
  • New Set of Towels – You can never go wrong getting him a new set of towels. It's likely that he'll have these for years to come (probably until he gets married), so get him the good kind!

You know that your grad will love all of those! The hardest part will be deciding on which one to get him.


We are suckers for sentimental, which is why books always seem to strike our fancy! Here are a handful of good book ideas. Gifting a book is affordable and personal. We like the idea of inscribing the inside with a sweet message of encouragement for the adventures that lie ahead!

PSSST…if you're hosting a graduation party this year, then we can help there too! We have a few posts you may really want to keep in your back pocket as you start to plan your partaaaay. Get some outside of the box graduation party ideas, along with some cheap party food ideas!

Do you have go-to graduation gifts that you always do for the grads in your life? Let us know in the comments!

Image with text that reads "cheap gift ideas for graduation" from Fun Cheap or Free

Love giving gifts but always going over budget when you buy them? Then you need to check out Budget Boot Camp! It's a super fun online video program that helps you to get your finances in order in a way that's easy to understand.

Whip your wallet into shape and get financially fit. It'll make gift-giving much less stressful on you and your budget! Use the code FCFBLOG for 10% off at checkout.

Don't miss out on these posts!

  • Love giving gifts? Then start using these gift-giving hacks any time you need to give a gift to someone!
  • Throwing an outdoor party soon? Then you need to make sure you get all the deets on making it budget-friendly, easy to throw together, and most of all, fun!
  • You've got to do this money saving challenge right now!

Happy graduation day to your grad!


Submit a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *