College Grad Gift Ideas

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OnTrack2020
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College Grad Gift Ideas

Post by OnTrack2020 »

We have two sons graduating from college within 2 weeks. Looking for general gift ideas. I usually give cash to kids who graduate, but am thinking maybe something else that can be purchased rather quickly. Or is cash preferable? If so, how much? In talking to friends who have had kids graduate college, they never really gave them a gift/cash worth more than $100.
Jack FFR1846
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Re: College Grad Gift Ideas

Post by Jack FFR1846 »

I'm interested in this too. DW and I talked very briefly about this just today. We've agreed it won't be a car.
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mhalley
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Re: College Grad Gift Ideas

Post by mhalley »

Wow, there’s a big difference between a car and a Benjamin.
Do they need a new phone? A sub to a new service like Netflix, amazon prime, Hulu? Some covid masks? An Uber gift card?
Normchad
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Re: College Grad Gift Ideas

Post by Normchad »

Congratulations to all the new grads. It is a great achievement.

Cash and cars are certainly useful, and great gift ideas.

I'm also throwing in a copy of Jack Bogles little book on investing.
mak1277
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Re: College Grad Gift Ideas

Post by mak1277 »

I would give $100 to a family friend or second cousin. I gave my little brother three times that when he graduated high school 15 years ago. A benjamin for your own kids seems...barely better than nothing. If you can only spend $100 I'd definitely try and get something more personal.
fwellimort
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Re: College Grad Gift Ideas

Post by fwellimort »

An informative book like Boglehead's Guide to Investing or Little Book of Common Sense Investing.

I guess realistically, cash is the best answer (at least 'realistically' cause it lets the receiver be able to purchase what he/she really needs).
And a hand written letter (no matter the gift).
And support and encouragement.

I terribly dislike (personally) gift cards. It's a very limited form of cash. Might as well just give straight cash. Benjamins are quite something to look at. I didn't even know how today's $100 bill looked like until fairly recently.

Maybe a good looking practical mug and some chocolates on top of all this?
And something they can put on their desks/office in the near future like a nanoblock (it's a mini lego) [e.g.: https://www.amazon.com/Nanoblock-Mini-P ... 446&sr=8-5 ].
Or some other kind of puzzle or brain teaser puzzle (that he/she can carry around and play with when bored).
Or some kind of small stuffed animal that they can put on their beds [ e.g.: https://www.amazon.com/Wild-Republic-St ... r=8-5&th=1 ]. The more stupider looking the better (especially if there's more surface area to cuddle with).
Or a good short book that your kid might enjoy reading: e.g. The Last Lecture by Randy Pausch

Or (this is going to be great!) a Kalimba. I mean look at this: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=L2M2GGntB9I
Even better if it is an 'electric' Kalimba and lets you put an earphone/headphone on it (if your kids don't have an earphone/headphone, you can get those on top).

Or... (personal preference as audiophile) a good set of earphones or headphones. I personally recommend the Etymotic ER series like Etymotic ER3SE ($119) for 'sound for the buck' today. Studio quality sound with high quality build. Considering how many hours your kids will spend on their laptops at work, investing for the ears is always a great investment.

I guess something like:
A handwritten letter with some fresh benjamins inside + Electric Kalimba + Boglehead's Guide to Investing + a nice mug (with a nice message or just looks nice)
with maybe a good chocolate bar
(Francois Pralus Madagascar chocolate bar if you want to be real fancy [
"Representing only 5% of all cocoa beans grown as of 2008, criollo is the rarest and most expensive cocoa on the market" -wiki
].)
would be nice.
Honestly, a Kalimba and a letter with a book like Boglehead's Guide to Investing seems to be a great present. Practical. And utilitarian while looking 'nice'.
Last edited by fwellimort on Fri May 01, 2020 3:26 pm, edited 4 times in total.
Topic Author
OnTrack2020
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Re: College Grad Gift Ideas

Post by OnTrack2020 »

mak1277 wrote: Fri May 01, 2020 2:56 pm I would give $100 to a family friend or second cousin. I gave my little brother three times that when he graduated high school 15 years ago. A benjamin for your own kids seems...barely better than nothing. If you can only spend $100 I'd definitely try and get something more personal.
Yes, I certainly understand this, however........we did just spend over $75,000 on his education.
bloom2708
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Re: College Grad Gift Ideas

Post by bloom2708 »

No way to know. Very family specific.

From a hug to a car to a down payment on their future house. Anything in between.

Are they getting off the family cell phone plans or now going to be paying their own car insurance? Maybe more cash than $100?
"We are here to provoke thoughtfulness, not agree with you." Unknown Boglehead
Topic Author
OnTrack2020
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Re: College Grad Gift Ideas

Post by OnTrack2020 »

fwellimort wrote: Fri May 01, 2020 3:14 pm

Or (this is going to be great!) a Kalimba. I mean look at this: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=L2M2GGntB9I
Even better if it is an 'electric' Kalimba and lets you put an earphone/headphone on it (if your kids don't have an earphone/headphone, you can get those on top).

I guess something like:
A handwritten letter with some fresh benjamins inside + Electric Kalimba + Boglehead's Guide to Investing + a nice mug (with a nice message or just looks nice)
with maybe a good chocolate bar
(Francois Pralus Madagascar chocolate bar if you want to be real fancy [
"Representing only 5% of all cocoa beans grown as of 2008, criollo is the rarest and most expensive cocoa on the market" -wiki
].)
would be nice.
Honestly, a Kalimba and a letter with a book like Boglehead's Guide to Investing seems to be a great present. Practical. And utilitarian while looking 'nice'.
I really like the Kalimba idea--he played in the college band, so he might like this.
Topic Author
OnTrack2020
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Re: College Grad Gift Ideas

Post by OnTrack2020 »

bloom2708 wrote: Fri May 01, 2020 3:28 pm No way to know. Very family specific.

From a hug to a car to a down payment on their future house. Anything in between.

Are they getting off the family cell phone plans or now going to be paying their own car insurance? Maybe more cash than $100?
We're going to be making some of these transitions this summer. Our older son will be starting a job the beginning of June.
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SmileyFace
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Re: College Grad Gift Ideas

Post by SmileyFace »

I would have said tickets for a cruise but ...
Valuethinker
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Re: College Grad Gift Ideas

Post by Valuethinker »

OnTrack2020 wrote: Fri May 01, 2020 2:33 pm We have two sons graduating from college within 2 weeks. Looking for general gift ideas. I usually give cash to kids who graduate, but am thinking maybe something else that can be purchased rather quickly. Or is cash preferable? If so, how much? In talking to friends who have had kids graduate college, they never really gave them a gift/cash worth more than $100.
Covid-19 notwithstanding young people tend to want to live in cities. So they won't need a car.

And if they do your help and advice buying a modest used car will be most valuable. My Dad helped my brother with his Volvo 146. It was a good learning experience. The time and patience my Dad showed was a good lesson.

Me? I went to Europe for the summer. Again that was a great learning experience. Coping on my own w trains and youth hostels etc.

Covid 19 makes things complex. Restricts choices. A future promise of something might be good.

Other thought would be a Rolex or other fine watch. But they get stolen. Also young people now tend to use their phones rather than watches, or their Garmin etc.

Latest iPhone might be nice if they are in to phones.
Valuethinker
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Re: College Grad Gift Ideas

Post by Valuethinker »

OnTrack2020 wrote: Fri May 01, 2020 3:19 pm
mak1277 wrote: Fri May 01, 2020 2:56 pm I would give $100 to a family friend or second cousin. I gave my little brother three times that when he graduated high school 15 years ago. A benjamin for your own kids seems...barely better than nothing. If you can only spend $100 I'd definitely try and get something more personal.
Yes, I certainly understand this, however........we did just spend over $75,000 on his education.
Mentally that goes into a different bucket. Unfortunately that is a price of modern parenting. It's not the same thing as a gift.

(When they stand by your graveside, or when they face the same situation re their kids education they will thank you. Accept the folly of youth that we often do not see what our parents gave us until they are no longer with us, or until we face the same choices and challenges. We should not seek gratitude as parents but hope rather to see our children spread their wings and go out into the world, and not look backwards. That they be as brave and self reliant as we could make them).

"Your children are not your children. For they are children of life's longing for itself". Kalil Gibran
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dratkinson
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Re: College Grad Gift Ideas

Post by dratkinson »

These books are my go-to graduation gifts:
--The Only Investment Guide You’ll Every Need, Tobias. General personal finance topics.
--The Bogleheads’ Guide to Investing. A structured overview of wise retirement investing.
--Date… or Soul Mate, Warren. Priceless if it helps avoid bad relationship/marriage/divorce.
d.r.a., not dr.a. | I'm a novice investor, you are forewarned.
oldfort
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Re: College Grad Gift Ideas

Post by oldfort »

In the sub $1000 range, any of the below,

alcohol - nice bottle of Scotch, bourbon, or wine
new phone
headphones
laptop
professional wardrobe - If in a more conservative industry, a suit, dress shirt, tie, dress shoes or equivalent professional dress attire for women.
Netflix/Amazon Prime/HBO
books
If not for COVID-19, tickets to see their favorite sports team
BrownEyedGirl_27
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Re: College Grad Gift Ideas

Post by BrownEyedGirl_27 »

My parents paid for my education and let me keep the old family car. I think that was more than generous. I would have felt weird if they had given me cash or a new car...
"Your mind has a mind of its own. At the very moment when you are most convinced of your own rationality, you may be feeling rather than thinking your way toward a decision.” | Jason Zweig
stoptothink
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Re: College Grad Gift Ideas

Post by stoptothink »

OnTrack2020 wrote: Fri May 01, 2020 3:19 pm
mak1277 wrote: Fri May 01, 2020 2:56 pm I would give $100 to a family friend or second cousin. I gave my little brother three times that when he graduated high school 15 years ago. A benjamin for your own kids seems...barely better than nothing. If you can only spend $100 I'd definitely try and get something more personal.
Yes, I certainly understand this, however........we did just spend over $75,000 on his education.
Sounds like they were already provided a very substantial gift. Asking honestly, is this a thing? Do kids expect gifts for completing education that their parent's funded (it isn't a thing in my family/circle of peers).
Jack FFR1846
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Re: College Grad Gift Ideas

Post by Jack FFR1846 »

I'm keeping a running track here and have asked my son.

So far: Skate board deck (he broke his recently)

Shop Vac. Mine is old and doesn't work very well.

The phone is a good idea. He's using an iPhone that his entitled ex girlfriend gave him after she dropped it in water and demanded her mother buy her a new one, which she did. The phone mostly works but a bunch of things on it don't work. I think is a 6.
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Watty
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Re: College Grad Gift Ideas

Post by Watty »

One thing probably not to give them is a traditional wristwatch.

I asked my son if he wanted a nice one as a gift a few years ago and lets just say I felt very old and out of touch. He was nice about it but it was clear that to him wearing a traditional wristwatch is about as dated as a bow tie. If he wanted to see the time he would just look at his phone. There are people his age who do wear them but they are rare.

Something like an Apple watch or a Fitbit watch might be an idea though.
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