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Gift Ideas for Graduates

Frugal Crafts and Homemade Gifts (featured column)

Great Gift Ideas for Graduates

As we continue to add more of our favorite frugal gift ideas for our favorite GRADUATES we hope you will join us by sending us a gift that you have either made or received! If you have a great gift idea for Graduates that you'd like to share with us, please contact us!

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Readers' Favorite Frugal Gifts for Graduates:

Phone Cards

"Prepaid phone cards are a good gift to take to college!" - Gary K.

Address Books

"Graduates will appreciate a new address book filled with notes from friends and family, it's just too easy to lose track of everyone after you move away from home!" - Michelle

Leaving Campus and Going to Work 

"This isn't homemade, but it is a great idea for graduates. I recently received Leaving Campus and Going to Work as a graduation/new job gift. It gives great guidance on how I can move from college to my new job. The sections on finances, benefits, mentors and secret rules were things that I didn't know about before reading the book. I don't think it was terribly expensive, but it definitely caused me to re-think my ideas about what I could buy with my new paycheck." - Erin


"How about a gas card? Since gas is so expensive." - Cindy

Graduation Mug

"My husband and I just celebrated our daughter's college graduation.  Besides the welcome check we gave her in private we also came up with a fun little extra.  I found a large sized graduation mug, filled with approximately 2 dozen "coin" chocolates and 2 million dollar fake bills.  The colorful fill was thrown in free from the store, also matched her school colors. On the bottom I attached a new deck of money playing cards found at the dollar store.  Used poster putty to hold in place.  The plastic bag that store put items in were also daughter's school colors.  Finished decorating by using left over sticky stamps.  I've used this idea for many gifts using the appropriate theme.  Enjoy!" - J. Jackson

Basket of Encouragement

"I recently made up 2 baskets of little things like... thank you notes, picture frame, post it notes, book thong (beaded book marker), mug with 4 homemade coasters, mints, book pertaining to grads or Bible quotes, and lastly, a note encouraging the grad to Hang in There!" - Jessica L.

Bath Tote

"Most kids in college dorms share bathrooms and so a handy mesh tote with some shower shoes and assorted bath products is in inexpensive, practical and useful gift." - The Muhlenbeck

Message Boards

"White boards with a written message.  There are some with preprinted calendars, very handy." - Ray C.

File Totes

"My personal favorite is a plastic file tote (around $10) filled with a package of file folders and snacks.  This way they can use to either store info they need to get their hands on quickly or just keep the insects out of their food.  Tie with an appropriate ribbon and you are good to go." - Ray C.

Laundry Gift Basket

"Laundry basket, laundry detergent, fabric softener, bag for delicates, and a roll of quarters!" - Beth Shuman

Office Supplies, Kitchen and Bath Towels

My daughter got several frugal gifts, all very much appreciated: A laundry basket, towels and detergent, A Sun Tea jar stuffed with kitchen hand towels and individual packets of tea, a tin filled with quarters for laundry machines, and an 'office supply' themed gift - a wastebasket stuffed with highlighters, post-its, pencils, notebook paper, pens, labels, and a small desk organizer to keep the stuff in. Even five years post college, she is still using some of the gifts!" - Ann D.

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