Gift Guides

12 Inexpensive Gift Ideas Perfect for Every Grad

These inexpensive graduation gifts work for any budget! So if you’re searching for the perfect graduation gift that isn’t cash or a gift card, all of these come in under $20!

This post may contain affiliate links. Read my full disclosure policy here.

I know six graduates tossing their cap this year. SIX! I really want to go to each of their parties but was completely stumped about how to afford giving each of them a graduation gift. This list could not have come at a better time!  All of these gifts come in under $20. Many are even less than $15, and I love the incredibly unique idea shared at the end of this post! #inexpensivegiftideas #gradgifts #graduationgifts #giftsforgrads #frugalgiftideas

It’s just about the time when high school (and college!) seniors get ready for the next phase in their life…graduation…and beyond! It also means if you plan to attend a party or two, you need graduation gift ideas these budding adults will actually use.

And if you know a lot of grads, coming up with that many graduation gifts for friends and family members can get pretty expensive…and quick!

While the highly popular option is to write a check or give cash, let’s face it — there’s a social stigma around making sure you give a “certain amount.”

These inexpensive graduation gifts work for any budget, are not cash-related, and all come in under $20 so you can save those crisp bills for another occasion.

Many are even less than $15, but if that’s still a bit too much because of all the grad parties you’ve RSVP’d to, don’t leave just yet! There’s an idea at the end of this post that will allow you to give a thoughtful, yet cute graduation gift without spending a dime!

1. Laundry Tote

Every college student needs a place to store his or her laundry. This practical tote comes with convenient handles so they can carry it to and from a laundry mat, or back home to mom! It also collapses for easy storage (hard to come by at the dorm!).

2. Budget Notebook

Give your graduate a head start in financial responsibility with this perfectly sized budget notebook. I show how I use this notebook in my post, How to Stop Going Over Budget Once and For All. There’s a spot to track savings and financial goals, as well as a Purchase Wish List — a must for a college student on a budget!

3. Wristlet

This wristlet will help organize all the gift cards and cash they will receive at their party. Why not tuck your own gift inside for a unique presentation? Comes in multiple colors!

4. One-Cup Coffee Maker

Not everyone can afford a Keurig, but this one-cup brewer has pretty decent reviews for the cost. Get one as a gift for a grad who needs morning fuel for early college classes, and if you have extra room in your budget, you could pair it with a cute mug and coffee bag!

5. Electronic Accessories Organizer

I don’t know about you, but I have cords, flash drives, and various tech odds and ends just about everywhere. I love how this compact organizer corrals up loose accessories into one convenient place. A great gift for grads who will be traveling to and from home, or just want to keep all their gadgets within easy reach.

orange electronics organizer pouch

6. Storage Water Bottle

College students are often on the go, and it’s easy to let hydration take a back seat. Gift your grad a water bottle with a secret storage compartment that can hold a credit card, some cash, and a key to their dorm or apartment. Great for heading to the gym too!

7. Compass Bracelet

Let your daughter, granddaughter, or a graduating gal know how much she’s cherished with a compass bracelet or this beautiful but simple cuff that encourages her to follow her dreams, no matter where they take her, and is darling!

8. Shower Caddy

Living in a dorm can have it’s perks, but sometimes it’s hard to keep track of all your stuff. This mesh shower caddy organizes personal care items in one convenient bag that you can take to and from the shower. The breathable fabric makes for easy cleaning!

blue mesh shower caddy

9. Portable Charger

The excuse to not call back home just isn’t an option anymore with this handy portable charger! It’s battery operated, and can be used on-the-go, in the car, or wherever your grad is away from an electrical outlet.


10. The Easy College Cookbook

Say no to ramen! Springboard the college student in your life to culinary greatness (or at least a halfway decent nutritional routine) with this easy cookbook. Now students can turn a budget-friendly meal into a gourmet treat!

Know your grad’s favorite recipes and want to customize a cookbook just for them? Download this easy-to-use Recipe Binder Kit.

11. Follow Your Arrow Print

Order an 8×10 print with an inspirational quote to frame and gift for your fellow grad’s dorm room or first apartment. I love how this one from Enchanted Prints encourages each of us to follow our dreams!

12. The Freshman Survival Guide

Help graduates navigate the stormy sea of adulthood with a practical, yet relatable resource. This handbook has all the answers for aspiring grownups facing the biggest change they’ve encountered in their lives: heading off to college.

Maybe you’re looking through this list of gifts, and squirm at the thought of buying for so many grads this year.

The KB community has been discussing alternative options on social media, and are all in agreement — a really nice card along with a few lines of advice for life (and even a special Bible verse) can be very thoughtful and sweet!

The point is not about how much money you spend, but the well wishes you send off with each new grad.

And who knows? They may pull out that card years down the road when they’re having a hard time, and your words could be just the encouragement they need.

What are your favorite inexpensive graduation gift ideas?

Disclosure: Some of the links in the post above are affiliate links. This means if you click on the link and purchase the item, I will receive an affiliate commission. Regardless, I only recommend products or services I use personally and believe will add value to my readers. Read my full disclosure policy here.

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  1. I love the one cup coffee maker AND the traveling water bottle! Ahh, these are both great gifts for my niece. Great ideas, thank you!

  2. Just bought the tumbler for my niece who’s graduating to go to high school…She’s gonna LOVE IT!…Awesome ideas!!

  3. I love ALL of these ideas! I was struggling with gifts for my husband’s second cousin but not anymore. Thanks so much.

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