Great grad gifts for $10

Grad gift ideas for $10


In a few weeks, the class of 2015 will officially graduate and grad party season will be in full swing! There have been summers where we haven’t had one single graduation party to attend. This year, our oldest niece is graduating high school. It’s so hard to believe. She was the one my hubby and I “practiced” our parenting skills on before we had kids of our own. I can’t wait to celebrate with her!

Speaking of celebrations, one of my dear readers recently challenged me to come up with an idea for a graduation gift that wouldn’t break the budget. She has a lot of graduation parties to attend, and messaged me this:

“What kind of gifts can we give that won’t break the bank? If we cash out every party we go to it’s a huge amount of money!” -Kim G.

I get it. Let’s say you spend $20 per graduate and have 10-15 parties to attend. That’s $200-$300! Her goal? To spend $10 on each graduate.

Hmm. At first, I was stumped. What kind of grad gifts can you get for $10? Most soon-to-be college kids like money, right? But what else do they need? School supplies, dorm living necessities…and food.

So, here’s my best idea: Create a college life/survival basket.

Go to the dollar store and find a plastic bin, bucket or container and fill it with everyday needs. Our local Dollar Store has tons of products: snacks, school supplies, hardware, kitchen gadgets. And with everything priced at $1, it’s easy to keep track of how much you want to spend.

I took a trip to the Dollar Store and had a blast finding items that a potential college student might use. Take a look!

inexpensive grad gifts A

1) I found this bright blue container and filled it with a laundry bag, detergent, hangers, a mini sewing kit, microfiber washcloths, body wash, a fun water bottle, highlighters and index cards. Ten items for $10!

laundry basket grad gift

2) This laundry basket is perfect for a male graduate: a 3-pack of noodle cups, macaroni and cheese, a screwdriver set, tape measure, tissues, highlighters, detergent, hangers and body wash for men. You could also swap out the necessities and just include school supplies and snacks! Again, 10 items = $10.

college study break survival kit

3) Study break bowl. I found a big blue bowl and included various snacks, such as microwave popcorn, Pringles, a 5-pack of ramen noodles, drink packets, a four-pack of plastic cups, playing cards, a book, fun dry-erase board and a photo album. I have also found cheap $4 movies at Target and such, so you could swap out a few items and put a DVD in their place.

For these gifts, you can buy generic brands, find sample sizes, or, if you have several parties like my reader does, get bulk quantities at Costco or Sam’s Club and divvy the products up for several gifts.

Some potential ideas include:
  • batteries
  • washcloths
  • boxes of macaroni and cheese
  • ramen noodles
  • microwave popcorn
  • plastic cups
  • pens/pencils
  • toothpaste
  • toothbrush
  • shampoo/conditioner
  • lotion
  • Tums
  • disposable razors
  • stamps
  • paperclips
  • notebooks
  • highlighters
  • index cards
  • band-aids
  • nail clippers/file
  • tissues
  • hard candy


You could put together a specialized basket, such as study materials or shower supplies. I think these gifts not only look substantial, but give the graduate some useful and fun supplies — plus stays within the budget! A fun finishing touch would be to personalize their container by writing their name with a paint marker.

As a bonus, include a mini photo album or frame. If you are close to the graduate and have access to photos of them, your family could write their favorite memories of the grad with some photos to go along with it.

While it’s easiest to slip money into a card, coming up with a creative gift like this may just be a little more memorable for the grad and a lot easier on your wallet!

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4 Comments on Great grad gifts for $10

  1. kammi
    May 24, 2015 at 7:34 am (3 years ago)

    I still remember the graduation gift you got me. Shower themed.

    • Julee
      May 25, 2015 at 2:29 pm (3 years ago)

      Funny! I’m afraid I don’t remember it, but you must have liked it because you do! (Or maybe you thought it was weird?) Ha Ha.

  2. Kim
    May 13, 2015 at 3:44 pm (3 years ago)

    Thanks for the great ideas, Julee! I will be shopping very soon and will snap a picture of what I come up with!

    • Julee
      May 13, 2015 at 4:40 pm (3 years ago)

      So glad you liked it! It was super fun! Thanks for the sending me the question!


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