College Graduation Gift Ideas on a Budget

College graduation gift ideas can be one of the most difficult things to be successful at while sticking to a household budget. Whether you are getting

something for a close friend, a child, or a relative, finding just the right item to commemorate the event can be tricky. College graduation is one of those life events that is a constant build up in our minds as we age.

As teens and young adults, we watch movies and read books depicting eloquent speeches, synchronized hat tosses, and gifted red convertibles, all the while building an image of our own college graduation in our heads. College graduation is an important time as these 20-somethings are leaving their college bubble (the one thing remaining of their "young" adulthood label) and entering the big bad professional world.

Of course, as the gift giver we can always just cut our new grad a check. Obviously, this would be much appreciated to some degree. But, if you want to give something that has a little more personal value to it and will not break the family budget, give these college graduation gift ideas a shot:

    "Real World" Care Package

    College care packages are common place for many parents and students everywhere. There are few things more exciting for a college student than getting that care package from home with all of their favorite comfort foods and hometown goodies. As a cheaper and more creative option, make a "real world" care package for their new grad. Fill a box or bag with items they will need now that they are out of college, with things such as a planner, calendar, "professional" pens, kitchen utensils, personal grooming items, and whatever else you can think of.

    This gift is relatively inexpensive to put together and is a really unique idea. Decorate the box that you give to them as if it were going in the mail, resembling a real care package.

    Family Recipe Book

    Graduating from college often means living on your own for the first time. Even if you lived in an apartment in college, there is something that sets living in an apartment a part from when you did so during the school years. This being the case, many newbie grads are entering the kitchen for the first time. Trust me, every newbie grad feels that cooking "real" meals in a "real" kitchen is the staple of adulthood.

    As a wonderful meaningful gift at a dime store price, make your grad a recipe book for their new kitchen. Buy an inexpensive scrapbook or recipe book at a craft store and put together some of your grad's favorite family recipes. Starting them out with a few good and simple dinner ideas, desserts, and a fun appetizer or two is perfect. This idea is really personalized and very inexpensive to put together.

    Professional Starter Kit

    Along the same lines as the previous two college graduation gift ideas, a "professional starter kit" is a great way to get your newbie graduate started in the "real world". Put together a few essentials for them now that they are entering the professional working world, such as a small gift certificate to a nice professional clothing store so that they can "update" their college attire could be essential.

    Include a weekly agenda for them to keep track of upcoming interviews, a folder for resumes, professional paper for resumes, "business" cards for professional networking, and anything else you can think of that might be essential for a newbie real world-er.

Graduation is an exciting—and terrifying—time for any college student. As a family member or loved one, coming up with a gift that signifies just how much you care about that person and just how proud you are of them can be really difficult.

Rather than taking the traditional route of gifted checks (though that will always be appreciated) or fancy watches, consider one of these three unique college graduation gift ideas. Starter kits can be a great way to say "you are starting something new and exciting; and now you are ready for it".

This guest article is by Angelita Williams, who writes on the topics of online courses. She welcomes your comments to: angelita.williams7 @ gmail.com.

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