11 Graduation gifts for under $20


It’s hard to believe that the school year is over and the Senior Class of 2013 is graduating all across the nation. Graduation Party invitations are hitting your inbox on a daily basis, while you’re still trying to plan your family vacation.

Coupon Books/Newspaper Subscription

Many information centers and grocery stores offer coupon books to help save on various services and products in the graduates area. A newspaper subscription will deliver the Sunday coupons, with no effort or expense on their part. You’ll be giving your graduate tools they need to save on everyday items.

Coffee Maker

Starbucks is good, but it gets expensive! Treat your graduate to a nice coffee maker and some specialty coffee so they won’t be tempted to spend all their money at the local coffee shop, since they can enjoy it for a fraction of the cost, right in their own dorm. You could even create a coffee lovers gift basket by throwing in a travel coffee mug, their favorite coffee and creamer, and don’t forget the coffee filters!
Collection of their Favorite Recipes

Help ward off homesickness by sending them away with a collection of their favorite recipes. Pick a recipe or two and include the ingredients needed to create it. If your budget allows, you could even purchase a utensil or dish to aid them in cooking it.

Small Tool Kit

Whether you’re living in a dorm or off campus housing, tools are a much needed but often forgotten commodity. The Dollar Tree sells many different tools, like hammers, screwdrivers and a measuring tape—or you can purchase complete sets for under $20.

Dave Ramsey Books

The Graduates Survival Guide is right under $20 and is perfect for any high school graduate! It will help prepare them for many of the dangers and unanswered questions they have about college and covers topics like balancing a checkbook, saving, credit cards, debt and so much more!

Laundry Supplies

Use a laundry basket or even a laundry bag in the graduates school colors or embroidered with their name and create a laundry supplies gift basket. Toss in some laundry detergent (homemade is great, or use your coupons to get a great price), dryer sheets, and a roll of quarters to get them started.

Shower Basket

Along the same lines as the laundry supply basket, you can create a shower basket using a shower caddy. Fill the shower caddy up with various toiletries, that you’ve scored with coupons, of course, a pair of flip flops.


Have a friend or local business embroider a towel for your graduate so it never gets mistaken for someone else’s. This personalized gift will be treasured for many years, and costs less than $20!

Office Supplies

Fill a cloth organizing basket with a stapler, tape, highlighters, pencils and pens, and post it notes. All of these items will go on sale, making this gift budget friendly—but well needed!

Gas Cards

Traveling back home, or even around town, can add up! Purchase gas gift cards so your graduate won’t have the added worry of gas expenses.


Who doesn’t love receiving just plain ol’ cash to use as they please?

Phoebe Hendricks, author of the book Frugal Gardening 101 and the frugal lifestyle blog GettingFreedom.net, is the mother of 4 children living in rural Missouri. Resources are slim, so creativity and unconventional thinking are a must in order to make it on their one income.

(Source: Savings.com)

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