How Much Should Be Spent on a College Graduation Gift?


Cash is Always Appreciated

  • According to Woman's Day, $10 to $25 cash is the going rate a graduate receives. The range has to do with both the gift-giver's association with the graduate, and the giver's age. A peer is not very likely to give a cash gift and if he does its more likely to be at the lower ranger range. A parent's friend is more likely to give a congratulatory check or cash in a card.

Cash Is Not Always the Way to Go

  • A gift can be a personal touch, and shows you put effort into thinking about what the graduate might like, or need. According to the National Federation of Retailers, consumers spent about $45 per graduation gift this season. However, what is spent has to do with the gift-giver's age, and their relationship to the graduate. If you are a peer, something small that says congratulations is perfectly appropriate.

Bottom Line

  • You will spend more buying a gift than giving cash. For graduates you have a relationship with, going the extra mile to buy a gift is nice. For graduates that are associates, the extra effort might be for naught. You are less likely to know what the graduate wants, you will spend more time, and you will lay down more cash buying a present, so cash is the obvious win-win situation.

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  • Photo Credit gift image by Horticulture from money image by Horticulture from
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