Previous   Next

What is an appropriate amount to spend on a graduation gift?

Asked at Massachusetts Street on May 13, 2008

Browse the archives

Photo of Sherry Siegel

“An appropriate amount would be $50, but being a broke college student myself, I would go with $20 plus drinks for the night.”

Photo of Peter Bollig

“Well, since I’m graduating, as much as they can afford.”

Photo of Robbie Sislow

“I think if it’s your parents, it should be around $500. If it’s a good friend or sibling, then it should be about $100.”

Photo of Lauren Snowden

“I’d say $50. It’s not too much but not too little. They can buy something nice without putting a dent in your bank account.”


sgtwolverine 10 years, 1 month ago

The same amount one would spend on a tank of gas.Wait ... that may be too generous. Never mind.

sunflower_sue 10 years, 1 month ago

Many factors affect the size of the gift. My nephew, who wasn't gung-ho on going to college, got $50 from me when he graduated high school and a promise to pay him $1000 more when he graduates college. I know it's shameless bribery, but it seems to have far. I'm looking forward to the day that I have to pay up.

jonas 10 years, 1 month ago

Well, that depends on a lot of things.If it's for somebody else I'd say around $20-50 dependent on circumstances.If it's for me then the skies the limit.But it's okay. I don't graduate till next year.

Haiku_Cuckoo 10 years, 1 month ago

$500??? That's a bit much, especially considering how much money your parents spent on tuition and board. When I graduated, I got a handshake and a cake and I was very happy with that. The smiles on my parents faces was worth much more than any dollar amount.

canyon_wren 10 years, 1 month ago

No one has said whether the recipient has graduated from high school or college, though it is obvious in some of the posts. I would think that would make a difference. My means are so limited that a gift of $20 for a high school graduate is about tops, and that is only for kids that I know really well. No family members are young enough for that now! Power to those who can afford more. I should think, though, that you might motivate the graduate with a lower g.p.a. with a little more generous gift--depending upon the reason he/she didn't do better in school!

thomgreen 10 years, 1 month ago

Multi:I think I'd vote for that kid!"They told the suspicious working girls they were people of restricted growth working with a traveling circus, and as State law does not allow those with disabilities to be discriminated against they had no right to refuse them. "That's the funniest stuff I've heard in awhile, especially from a 13 year old.

mom_of_three 10 years, 1 month ago

My dad gave me $100 bucks and a dictionary, and my mom doesn't remember what she gave me, and neither do I. (wonoder if it is too late to collect now?) My eldest is graduating, along with my cousin's son, whom my kid used to play with as kids, and also a nephew in Colorado. The going rate in our house for relatives' graduations is $50, in cash or gift card, and my graduate is getting a laptop for graduation. The grandparents asked to chip in, so we wil be able to upgrade some things on it.

chemegirlie 10 years, 1 month ago

$500 from the parents? I told my parents that my graduation present was the degree! 5 years of financial support was more than enough of a present.

dminear60 10 years, 1 month ago

Marion:Were your clothes packed in the luggage and was it sitting on the door step?

EasilyAmused 10 years, 1 month ago

I got more than $500 from my parents for graduation, but I think I would have preferred the 4 years of financial support!

coolmom 10 years, 1 month ago

my neice graduates from high school on the 25th and my hubby and i built her a computer and bought her a new 21 inch monitor. hopefully it is used in part for college lol.

Flap Doodle 10 years, 1 month ago

The fruitcakes from Corsicana are still less than $25.00.

mom_of_three 10 years, 1 month ago

My graduate and relatives are graduating from high school. I haven't given a gift for a college graduation. Ask me in 4 or 5 years

alm77 10 years, 1 month ago

When my brother graduated high school, I bought him a college starter basket. I took a laundry basket threw in some towels, laundry soap, toiletries, snacks and other odds and ends he would use and use up. It was a useful, fun and wasn't too expensive.

stuckinthemiddle 10 years, 1 month ago

I reward individualism and independence...can't get to excited about cookie-cutter kids...

canyon_wren 10 years, 1 month ago

Good idea, alm77! I gave a young friend a good quality hatchet--it seemed like something he could use, eventually. He says he still considers it one of his favorite gifts.

alm77 10 years, 1 month ago

Canyon, well for Christmas I bought him some cologne, duct tape and WD-40. No, I'm not joking, that's what he got. And for his 16th birthday I bought him a gas station gift card. I think my "useful" gift giving (especially things to be used up) comes from my mom always having a load of crap sitting around her house, knick-knacks, As-Seen-On-TV items, too much furniture, mismatched art, I don't want to burden someone with the "What the hell am I gonna do with that?" item. I'd rather they use it up and not worry about it. I bought my mom candles once with that same logic and she put them on her shelf where she has to dust them and they just cause clutter. sigh

trinity 10 years, 1 month ago

one poster questioned whether high school or college graduation. what gets me, is that PRE-SCHOOL and KINDERGARTEN, yes pre-school and kindergarten(i'm having to attend one of each for grands)are making a fuss about "graduating"! sheeez louise. i bought the pre school graduate a cutesie fake flower with a smilie face for a dollar...that oughta do it. ;)

classclown 10 years, 1 month ago

Luggage. If they already have luggage, then help them furnish their first apartment. Get some lawn chairs. Oh, and a milk crate to hold the tv.

ontheotherhand 10 years, 1 month ago

Marion, my folks gave all of us kids luggage, too! It was to make sure we all left for college at summer's end, I think. And we did!Robbie must have been born with quite a silver spoon to think that his friends and family are going to give him $100 for graduation. (And $500 from the folks. Wow!) I guess my family was too poor to give out that much and I did not expect them to.

canyon_wren 10 years, 1 month ago

alm77--good choices! Just the sorts of gifts I like to give and receive. I'm not much for clutter or too much stuff, either. In fact, I like the period of time when I have taken the winter clothes out of my closet and not put the summer ones in yet! Less is more, as far as I'm concerned.

Confrontation 10 years, 1 month ago

I'd ask to see the overall GPA and award accordingly. Anything under a 3.0 doesn't deserve a gift. At 3.0-3.5, $25. Over a 3.5, $100. A 4.0 and no unwanted pregnancies? Priceless.

canyon_wren 10 years, 1 month ago

trinity--I'm with you on the earlier graduations. It's silly enough to even HOLD them--I can't imagine folks being expected to give graduation presents. Is that actually happening? When they start things so early (kindergarten graduations, "junior" cheerleaders, etc.), what is there left to aspire to? No wonder so many young people are bored with life already.

alm77 10 years, 1 month ago

"I like the period of time when I have taken the winter clothes out of my closet and not put the summer ones in yet!" I'm doing it backwards then cause I have all the clothes out right now. You just never know what April/May is going to bring...

Commenting has been disabled for this item.