15 Great Graduation Gifts That Are Friendly to Your Budget

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It’s almost that time of year — gowns donned and diplomas handed out. Yes, the little boys and girls you once knew are now young men and women graduating from high school and college.

Now that they are adults, get your graduates something useful that will give them a head start on life. Here are some practical graduation gifts suitable for high school or college grads.

1. Amazon Prime

Amazon Prime

Amazon Prime
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Amazon is the go-to shopping portal for everything from gadgets to groceries. With Amazon Prime, your graduate gets free two-day shipping as well as free streaming for Prime Video and Prime Music. Graduates can also get e-books, e-magazines and more for free through Prime Reading.

A three-month Amazon Prime membership is $38.97, or you can buy a whole year for $119.

2. Netflix, Hulu or YouTube TV

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Cable television is expensive. Fortunately, there are many good streaming options nowadays. Netflix is great for movies, TV shows and original programming. Hulu and Philo also provide the option to stream live TV.

You can buy Netflix gift cards in a variety of denominations on Amazon. The options include e-gift cards that you can have sent to the recipient’s inbox immediately or at another time of your choosing.

3. Box of kitchen supplies

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If your graduate is moving away from home after getting a diploma or degree, he or she will need to stock their new digs. Help out by giving them a collection of kitchen supplies.

The contents will vary depending on whether they are moving to an apartment, house or dorm. Include inexpensive small appliances, such as a toaster or hot plate. Also throw in pots and pans, measuring spoons and dishes.

4. Towels or linens

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Help your new grad stock up on high-quality items that won’t go threadbare in a month.

While it can be tempting to buy a sheet set, these can be tricky to gift unless you know the recipient’s bed size and fabric preference. For example, while some folks love flannel sheets, others want nothing but cotton. For that reason, bath towels and kitchen linens may be a safer bet.

5. Tool kit

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Even those who aren’t handy can benefit from having a tool kit. You can buy a toolbox with the contents already assembled or put together your own. Essentials for any box include:

  • Hammer
  • Wall hangers
  • Flat-head screwdriver
  • Phillips screwdriver
  • Pliers
  • Measuring tape

6. Luggage

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Even if your graduate doesn’t have wanderlust, he or she could probably still benefit from having a good piece of luggage standing by. Look for one that can be used as a carry-on for flights.

Luggage can be expensive, but you don’t have to break the bank to get your graduate a nice carry-on bag. Many quality brands are available for less than $100 — or just a bit more, like this highly rated Delsey carry-on.

7. Noise-canceling headphones

Teen listening to music on headphones

Teen listening to music on headphones
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Noise-canceling headphones make it easier to concentrate in loud environments.

While top-of-the-line noise-canceling headphones will set you back a couple hundred dollars, there are cheaper versions available. One best-selling model from TaoTronics is for sale for a relative pittance at Amazon.

8. Portable charger

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These handy devices ensure your graduate won’t get stuck with a dead cellphone or other wireless device. Although there are high-end portable chargers available, many highly rated models can be purchased for less than $50. Look for one that offers fast-charging, and wireless charging is a nice perk as well.

9. Cloud storage

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Cloud storage offers a simple way to sync up files and save them for online retrieval should something go wrong with a computer or other device. Many cloud storage services offer a free version with limited features, but you could give your graduate a paid service for more bells and whistles.

For instance, for $69.99, Microsoft OneDrive will give your favorite student a year of cloud service through Office 365 Personal. He or she gets not only 1TB of storage space on OneDrive, but access to Word, Excel, PowerPoint and other applications as well.

10. Roadside assistance

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Shocking as it may seem, fixing flat tires is not a life skill taught in most schools. Make sure your graduate has a Plan B available when he or she can’t decipher the cryptic description in the owner’s manual about how to release the spare tire.

AAA is the granddaddy of auto clubs offering roadside assistance services. Costs vary depending on where you live, but services typically include things such as four 100-mile tows, emergency starting, flat tire replacement and more. An alternative is the Allstate Motor Club.