Grad gift ideas from broke folks

Graduation presents generally aren’t obligatory among fellow grads, but they can be a nice gesture between friends celebrating their success. And yes, they are possible if you’re lacking in funds (as many of us students are). If you think outside of the box, you’ll find plenty of gift possibilities that are both kind to your wallet and appreciated by your fellow grads.

What are they doing next?

Give them something practical for their next step. Are they moving away? Stationery. Continuing schooling? Fun school supplies (who doesn’t need gel pens?). Starting a new job? How about something for their desk? You can also give a baking mix in a jar to help them fill their new home with sweet smells. They’ll be more likely to really cherish the gift if it’s something that will do more than just gather dust.

Get crafty

Homemade gifts I’ve received have often been my most treasured, and they’re great to give because they’re cheap. Use a talent you already have like knitting, or find an online tutorial to try. Get sentimental and make a scrapbook of your time in school together, decorate a pot for a succulentwhatever you think they might like. Use what you already have. Chances are you can find something to make with supplies you already have lying around, and you can visit Scrap PDX to get inspired.


Let’s face it, Oh, the Places You’ll Go is overdone, but other books can make a meaningful gift. Share one that has made an impact on you or helped you gain a new perspective. Or get them a pretty edition of one of their favorites. Plus, the inside cover is a lovely place to write a note that can double as a card.

Homemade treats

Food gifts always seem to be appreciated. Make one of your friend’s favorite treats, or go with a crowd-pleaser like cookies. Taking the time to bake something shows your friends that you care. Try a recipe that isn’t too exotic but has basic ingredients. You might have everything you’ll need in your kitchen already.

When in doubt, make a card

Not everyone is a master card-maker (if you are, then go at it!), but with all the online tutorials available there’s something out there you can successfully make. Try calligraphy, collaging, drawing, or even a pop-up card. This lets you make something nice that they can hold onto, and also gives you space to write how much your friend means to you. They can be as heartfelt as you like, or you can let the time you spent crafting it do the talking. Either way, you’re giving a card that’s a gift in itself.