Here are some ideas that I've collected over the last few years that have saved my bacon without breaking the bank.

Congratulations! You've been invited to graduation parties and it takes more than fingers and toes to count them.

The challenge?  You're on a budget but you really want to give each of these deserving high school seniors a nice parting gift as they head off into the real world.





  • 1

    Gift Cards

    There are so many types of gift cards you can get.  You can consider throwing $25 bucks at McDonalds or any fast food of their choice.  Clothing is always well received.  $30 will go a long way at Old Navy or TJ Max.   And I've never seen a kid turn up thier nose at an iTunes card.  Amongst all the essentials, it's a nice treat.

    401(k) 2013 via flickr
  • 2

    Pots and Pans

    Depending on thier living situation, they're going to need a set of pots and pans.  Those can be really expensive but they don't have to be.  You can usually find a decent starter set for $20 or less, like this one from Walmart

    Robert Couse-Baker flickr
  • 3

    Laundry Kit

    This might not be the most exciting option but they'll appreciate it when it comes time to do the wash and they're not living with mom anymore.  You can grab a cheap laundry basket and fill it with things like soap and hangers and you're set.  If you're feeling nice, you can spend an extra $20 on an inexpensive iron and a portable ironing board.  (Not that they'll use it.)

  • 4

    The Basics

    Any kind of a care package goes a long way.  Just think of all the things you took for granted until you moved out of the house and make a bundle.  Toothpaste, toilet paper, soap, socks and underpants.  Those last two might make for an awkward moment but if you know the kid and the parents tell you what they wear, they'll be appreicated.

    cote flickr
  • 5

    Oil Change

    All of this is pretty simple stuff.  Just think of all the things you hate to pay for but you know it's stuff that's gotta be done.  If they drive a car, throw them a gift certificate for an oil change or two.  It'll be one less thing they have to worry about.

    DBduio Photography flickr