May and June marks a milestone for many young people – graduation time! The end of years high school or college. It also brings with it the inevitable graduation announcement – which means gift buying time.
Now there’s no denying what the number one item is on a graduate’s wish list…..Money! There’s not a young person alive (well, maybe a few rich ones who aren’t related to me) who can’t use more of the green stuff. Whether they’re graduating from college or are headed off to college, money is always the most needed and wanted gift on any graduate’s list.
And it’s not because the recent graduate is greedy that the long for money. The graduate who is headed off to college is looking at huge expenses even if he/she has been the recipient of generous scholarship and grant awards. These graduates will soon be responsible for all kinds of daily items that they used to take for granted like toiletries and groceries. It’s been a real eye-opener for all of my children to learn how much things like toothpaste, shampoo, and feminine products actually cost when they’re not grabbing them freely from the supply closet that I’ve kept stocked at our house.
Even with most college campuses having longer hours that students can access the food services and restaurants, most college students are still looking at stocking a mini-fridge in their dorm rooms. They’ll be surprised at the cost of breakfast items (for those like my daughter who are rolling out of bed at the last minute before class) and snacks. Trust me, those cash gifts you give them will be very much appreciated!
However, if you’d prefer not to simply hand over an envelope with cash or a check, there are other options that grads will love to receive.
- Gift cards to restaurants – Whether it’s to a Starbucks, a restaurant chain, or a fast-food franchise, college kids will always use these because their whole college experience doesn’t take place on the campus. And these days, lots of college campuses have food chains located right in the dorms or other student service buildings. If you know where your gift recipient is going to college, a little online investigating to determine which particular franchises are available will make you #1 on the thank you list.
- Gift cards to stores where they’ll be living – Most colleges are reasonably close to a mall and kids are always going to shop there. If you prefer, there is always the option of a Visa gift card that they can use anywhere.
- I-tunes gift cards – I’ll admit that this one was harder for me to wrap my head around. I tend to be a bit “old school” but my kids have managed to convince me that the younger generation loves to receive these. They’re so hooked in to their electronic devices that they literally can’t imagine life without them. They’ll be thrilled to find a card with any dollar amount inside on these cards.
- Gift certificate or card to Bed Bath & Beyond – Anyone headed off to college or setting up a new apartment can use items from this store. BB&B even has a registry for kids headed off to college where they can select their items and then pick them up once they arrive at college. Trust me – this is MUCH easier than having to pack up and move these things from home to school. We barely had room for our college-age child in the car and this was a life saver for us.
- Gift cards to Container Store, Walmart, or Target – Most college towns are going to have at least some of these stores nearby and since they carry such a variety of items, your gift card won’t go to waste at any of these locations.
I realize I’ve aimed most of this post at graduates headed off to college, but the same ideas apply whether your recent graduate is headed off to the world of work as well. Some gift ideas are so universal that they’ll be a hit with anyone regardless of where their road is headed.