10 Great Financial Gifts for the College Graduate

graduation celebration with balloons

While money gifts aren’t the best financial gift you can give your kids, that doesn’t mean that they aren’t a good choice at times. Sometimes it’s hard to figure out what gift to get for a new college graduate. Do you want to get them something they’ll cherish forever? Something fun and entertaining? Something that will help them as they embark on a new life? Regardless of what you choose, you can rest assured that most new college graduates will appreciate financial gifts. Why wouldn’t they, after all? Financial gifts can help pay down debt or pay for an interview, job, or apartment necessities.


If you can’t think of any unique gift options, you can always default to giving a gift of money. Whether you want to give $20 or $200, it’s something they’ll appreciate and gives them the greatest flexibility to use it in a way that is best for them. Of course, this is assuming that you feel the recipient has good financial sense and won’t go out and blow it on beer to celebrate.

Prepaid Card

A prepaid card might not be an original idea, but it’s just as appreciated as cash. It’s another great financial gift for any college grad. A prepaid Visa or American Express card is perfect for a variety of things such as apartment essentials or a new job interview outfit. You can find prepaid cards at online marketplaces such as amazon.com, in convenience stores, or through the credit card company’s website.

Starting a Roth IRA

Giving the gift of money for retirement savings might not be your ideal gift. You might think it’s tacky or worry that a new college grad won’t appreciate it. While they might not understand why they need a retirement savings before they enter the workforce, they’ll come to appreciate your donation. You can open a Roth IRA with any monetary amount you prefer. Best of all, you can let that college graduate know that while it’s probably best to let the money gain interest, they can withdraw money at any time without taxes or penalties.

Grocery Gift Card

If you know a college graduate that’s going to be moving into their own apartment, a gift card to a grocery store might be a perfect gift. You can pick one up online or in most local or chain supermarkets. College grads will soon learn how expensive groceries (or dining out) can be, so giving them food money will always be seen as a great gift.

Gift Certificates

On that note, almost any type of gift certificate is a great financial gift for a college graduate. You can buy a gift certificate for almost any item or service, from clothing stores to online shopping to everyday necessities. Gift certificates are a more personalized way to give a gift of money, and if you’re a close friend or family member, you’ll know exactly the type of gift certificate to buy.

Apartment Furnishings

College grads will soon learn that furnishing a new apartment is also very expensive. They have to buy furniture, cooking utensils, food, toiletries, and other apartment necessities. All those items add up quickly! If you’re looking to buy a useful gift, spend some money on kitchen or household appliances or furniture. It will be one less thing your college grad has to worry about buying.

Renter’s Insurance

Renter’s insurance is another great financial gift. Renter’s insurance isn’t something most twenty-year-olds think about, but it’s definitely something worth having. People renting an apartment for the first time usually don’t worry about what would happen to their belongings if they were stolen or damaged by a weather-related disaster. Depending on the company you buy the policy from, renter’s insurance can run between $150 and $300.

Interview or Job Essentials

Many new college grads are unprepared for the job search in many different ways. Try buying them an interview suit (or a gift card to a store that carries professional attire). A nice suit can be very expensive and most grads will appreciate having that bought for them. If they already have an interview outfit, try buying other interview or job essentials, such as a nice portfolio for them to carry to interviews.

Money Toward Student Loan Payments

So many college students are graduating with thousands of dollars of debt. Graduating students usually have a six-month grace period before they have to start paying back their loan, but if they don’t have a job, they’re in danger of defaulting. If you’re looking to give a grad a financial gift, think about contributing to their payment plan. Even if you can’t give a lot of money, they’ll definitely appreciate anything you’re willing to give. Any newly graduated student is grateful for assistance in paying back their loan.

Financial Consultation

Unfortunately, most high school and college students don’t learn about personal finances and investments. Something this means they end up making poor financial decisions right after they graduate from school. Consider giving your new grad the gift of a financial consultation. A consultant can help teach them about job benefits, how to save for retirement, and the best way to pay off debt once they find a job.

If none of these financial gifts seem like enough, you might also want to consider adding gifts that save money as well.

(Photo courtesy of kevin dooley)

This entry was posted in Education, Personal Finance, Relationships and tagged , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

One Response to 10 Great Financial Gifts for the College Graduate

  1. Gail says:

    I don’t even drink beer, but take exception to your comment that you can give cash only if you thin that the recipient has good fiscal responsibility and won’t blow it on beer. A gift is a gift. Once given it is no longer yours and none of your business how it is used or spent.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *