Before you start writing checks for all those “Congratulations, Graduate” cards this year, consider taking a little time and coming up with something more creative. Incorporate coupons and you may be able to save a few bucks and impress your favorite graduates with these gift ideas:
- A one-year membership to a warehouse club with a gift card for their first trip. This will be a fun way to help them stock up on toiletries, snacks and beverages or buy a “must-have” for their dorm room. Try adding the graduate to your existing membership for a possible discount.
- A themed survival kit. Use a shower caddy and fill it with soap, razors, shower gel and other toiletries – save money on the kit with these offers. Or fill a laundry basket with detergent, bath towels, dryer sheets and rolls of quarters. Or maybe a popcorn bowl full of movie-type snacks – save now – plus a membership to Netflix or an iTunes gift card. Pick a theme and be creative.
- A money tree—sort of. Fold dollar bills accordion style, wrap green floral wire around the center (you can get this at a craft supply store), fan out the ends of the cash, and then attach the bills to the branches of a real or fake potted plant.
- Team apparel for their new college/university or a gift card to the university bookstore where they can stock up on team swag (and maybe even a few school supplies).
- Gift cards for fast food restaurants or coffee shops near. Dorm food is typically decent, but most college students appreciate a meal off campus once in a while without feeling bad about paying for it. For an extra bonus, throw in some tickets to a nearby movie theater – redeem this special 2 for 1 offer.
Here’s a tip: If you plan to gift the graduate with a prepaid debit card from American Express or Visa, be sure to read the fine print – there may be fees for things like activation, calling customer service, inactivity and/or monthly charges.