Mississippi News

Harris: Graduation gifts that make $ense!

By Charlestien Harris

Graduation season has arrived, which means it’s time to think about that special gift you would like to give to that extra special graduate in your life! While this time of year can be full of excitement and splendor, it can also be stressful because the time has come to decide what gift to get and how much to spend on it for that special graduate. 

For many people, graduation marks the beginning of “official” responsibilities that come with becoming an adult. So, it’s only appropriate to help ease the transition with a gift that will last the graduate for a long time. Whether you’re buying something for your child, a family member, or a friend, these gift ideas are both practical and useful. Show them how proud you are by giving graduation gifts that they probably can’t afford just yet and that will leave a lasting impression long after the pomp and circumstance have become cherished memories.

Charlestien Harris
  1. A set of brand-new carry-on luggage. Luggage is the perfect gift for college graduates with plans to travel after graduation. It can also be a perfect gift because most graduates will be moving to a new city to start their first day at a new job! Luggage has become a necessity, and the more functional it is, the more it will be used and appreciated. Shop around for the best features at the best price. But be careful because the more tech features you add, the higher the cost will go up!
  2. A set of cookware or single furniture items. Now that your grad is going to be on their own, having a good set of cookware will be a must for all the things they will eventually cook that aren’t instant or pre-packaged. I remember when I first left home for my first job. My parents gave me some pots and pans from home, one chair, a table, and a bed. That move alone saved me so much money. I added a few stackable parson tables for organization, and I was set! It may not have been the most fashionable furnished apartment, but it was functional. Any items that you can furnish a grad will save tons of money and put them ahead of the game when it comes to saving money.
  3. A good and reliable portable charger. I have been known to say, “I am not a techie,” but I do realize that the world runs on technology, and when your device is out of power, it can be so frustrating. I would also suggest that it be multifunctional as well. The more amperage a charger has, the faster it charges your device. When looking for a phone charger, make sure it has a voltage rating of at least 2A. There are so many choices to choose from, so make sure you do your homework when it comes to efficiency and price.
  4. A memory photo book is unforgettable. Putting together a memory photo book is a fantastic way to help a grad cherish the memories of not only graduation day but also past events and milestones that occurred in their life span. This can be a very sentimental gift that a grad will come to appreciate in the times to come. You can save money by using photos that you already have and make requests from other family and friends who may be willing to part with those special photos to make your special gift complete. When the graduate has moved away from family and friends, it can serve as a gentle reminder of how loved they are and be reminded of the special moments in their life.
  5. A prepaid gift card. If all else fails, a great gift card is essential. Having a gift card that a grad can spend anywhere is probably the most appreciated gift they will receive. They will be able to purchase whatever they need whenever they need it and not have to spend a dime to purchase it! It is a great gift idea, but beware of the cost of gift cards to the purchaser. I found this out when I bought gift cards for family and friends during a recent holiday. Just make sure you have the cost of the gift card in your budgeted amount you plan to spend.
  6. A money tree is so practical. If we’re being honest, nothing beats cold hard cash. New graduates would love to receive cash as graduation gifts and spend it all as they please. This is an excellent choice for a graduation gift because you can control how much you spend on each gift tree. This helps you to stay within the budget you set and planned to spend on graduation gifts from the start. You can be the catalyst for the graduate to open a savings account. After all, one of the most given reasons for not having a savings account is that there is no extra money to set aside. You can help plant that seed and watch it grow into a savings habit!

Gift-giving can get quite expensive, but you can control how much you spend by setting a budget and doing some pre-planning. This can be used as a step-by-step guide on how to create a gift-buying budget. You can start by creating your categories first: family, friends, teachers, neighbors, service providers, etc. The next step is to set dollar amounts for each category and then divide by the number of people in each category. This step can help you set your budget for each person or gift.

For additional information on this and other financial topics, visit our blog at banksouthern.com/blog, email me at Charlestien.Harris@banksouthern.com, or call me at 662-624-5776.

Until next week – stay financially fit!

Charlestien Harris is our financial contributor. She is a financial expert with Southern Bancorp Community Partners whose articles are seen in a number of publications around the region.

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