Are you shopping for a graduation gift, but can’t afford to lay out huge sums of money? The economy may actually be working in your favor. Retailers have continued to slash prices, making good buys of formerly formidable products. See if you can find the perfect gift for your grad among the 20 graduation gifts below, all of which cost less than $200:
1. Noise Canceling Headphones
Estimated price: $80
Whether headed to a dorm room or a crowded shared apartment, your grad will sometimes wish for peace and quiet. Noise canceling headphones make this a real possibility. They work well in coffee shops, crowded libraries, planes, and other loud spaces. Besides removing noise, they are highly responsive to all levels and tones of music, creating a fantastic listening experience.
2. Bluetooth Headset
Estimated price: $32
Driving and dialing can be a risky prospect. A wireless Bluetooth headset will ensure that your grad has no excuse to avoid a hands-free hookup. You might want to pick one up for yourself, too.
Estimated price: $160
If your grad is heading off to a new city, help them find their way with a GPS. Garmin’s products fit a variety of gift budgets.
4. The Naked Roommate Book
Estimated price: $15
This smart, witty, informative book is an indispensable guide for parents and college-bound students alike. Bonus: It’s cheap! (If you don’t like this particular book, bookstores offer a variety of other guides in the genre.)
5. Digital Camera
Estimated price: $156
If your grad still snaps pictures with her cell phone, upgrade her to a real camera. A small camera like the Canon Powershot packs a digital punch without being heavy in weight or price.
6. Gym Membership
Estimated price: $25/month
College-related stress can lead grads to neglect their diets–and, more often than not, grow beer bellies while they’re at it. A gym membership will help college freshman keep off the pounds, or help recent grads stay focused, healthy and fit while searching the want ads. Cheaper memberships cost about $25/month.
7. Luggage Set
Estimated price: $100
A quality luggage set can accompany your grad through trips back home, weekend excursions with friends, and, hopefully, high-powered job interviews in the big city. A good set will last up to a decade.
8. Professional Clothes
Estimated price: $150
Take your student shopping with you, or buy them a gift card to purchase their own set of professional clothes. Men need a tie and some slacks, while most women could use a pants suit or blouse/skirt combo.
Estimated price: As low as $1
If you can’t afford a big stock investment, buy as little as one share of company stock, then have it framed. Not only does a framed stock certificate remind a young grad to invest, but it acts as artwork to replace all those old dorm room posters. Best yet, it could increase in value over the years.
10. College Survival Kit
Estimated price: $50
You can construct your own care package, but it won’t have all the cool graphics and packaging featured in ready-made packages like the one above.
11. Resume Writing Package
Estimated price: $75
Offer your grad the chance to polish their resume through a professional writing service. Many specialize in college grads.
12. A Cooler/Grill Combo
Estimated price: $153
If your graduating student likes sports, this is the perfect gift. Tailgaters will be floored when they see this all-in-one roll up before the big game. It’s also handy for camping or BBQ-ing out in the quad.
13. A Roadside Safety Kit
Estimated price: $45
Make sure your grad doesn’t get stranded on the open road with a kit that includes rain gear, a first-aid box, snow equipment, jumper cables, and other necessary items. The fun safety kit featured above works well for young women hitting the road.
14. Beach Gift Basket
Estimated price: $65
If your college bound student is attending a college close to the ocean or has recently graduated, consider a fun, practical beach gift set like the one above, which includes a towel, snacks, a tote bag, sunscreen, margarita glasses- and mix, tortilla chips, salsa, and a frisbee.
15. NASCAR Experience
Estimated price: $129
Your NASCAR-loving grad will never forget the experience of flying down the track at over 180mph. The 3-lap qualifying run above, which costs $129, will give them the rush of a lifetime.
16. Spice Rack
Estimated price: $90
For the recent graduate who will be moving into their own place soon, a spice rack (complete with spices) makes an excellent gift. Spices can be expensive–your grad will appreciate a complete starter set.
17. Graduation Photo Album
Estimated price: $55
The photo album idea may be tired, but some companies offer original designs that bring life back into the book. For example, Uncommon Goods‘ hand-finished copper and acid-free sleeves makes it memorable memory-keeper.
Estimated price: $75
Remind your grad that the world is at their fingertips by helping them renew their passport. Even those without immediate travel plans will remember that eye-opening experiences are just a plane flight away. Add a cheap plane ticket as a bonus, if you can afford it.
19. Solar Powered Backpack
Estimated price: $199
The hip Gen Yers graduating from high school or college this year don’t consider themselves green so much as they consider everyone else to be dull gray. Show them that you understand their eco-coolness by outfitting them with a solar-powered backpack that will charge iPhones, laptops, and other necessary devices.
20. The Perfect Alarm Clock
Estimated price: $115
Does your grad’s clock radio have FM, Wifi, MP3, USB, headphone plug, a line out for RCA speakers, internet search capabilities, and two alarm settings with several different tones? Advanced clocks, like the one featured above, will make sure your favorite scholar has no excuse to sleep in. The lithium ion backup battery shorts any power outage excuses, too.