How Much to Give for High School Graduation (Updated 2024)

How Much to Give for High School Graduation

Graduating from high school is a major milestone in a young person’s life. As a friend or family member, you’ll likely want to congratulate the grad by giving them a gift. But how much should you spend?

With high school graduation gift ideas ranging from cash to cars, it can be tricky to settle on an appropriate amount. Consider factors like your relationship to the grad, their interests, and your budget.

Follow this guide on how much to give for high school graduation in 2024 to help you decide on a thoughtful, meaningful gift.

Cash Gifts

Simple cash gifts are always appreciated by grads. Money allows them the freedom to spend on whatever they choose – clothes, technology, college expenses, or saving for the future.

How much cash you give depends on your relationship:

  • Close family – $50 to $500+
  • Extended family – $20 to $100
  • Friends – $20 to $50
  • Teachers – Up to $25

How much cash you give depends on your relationship

Adjust amounts based on the giver’s financial situation. Don’t strain your own budget just to give a large cash gift. Even smaller denominations in a greeting card are welcome.

For close family, $100 to $200 is a common high school graduation gift amount. If gifting money from multiple people, like grandparents, aunts/uncles, the total can be $500 or more.

Gift Cards

Similar to cash, gift cards allow graduates to pick their own gift. Consider cards for gas, restaurants, Amazon, Visa or their favorite stores. Suggested amounts:

  • Close family – $25 to $100
  • Extended family – $15 to $50
  • Friends – $10 to $25
  • Teachers – Up to $25
Gift Card Amount
Gas station $25 to $50
Restaurant $25 to $100
Amazon $25 to $100
Visa $50 to $200
Department store $25 to $100

Gift cards up to $100 provide grads with spending money or savings on necessities. For close family, gift cards up to $200 give more purchasing power.

Technology Gifts

Technology Gifts

Grads love new technology like laptops, tablets, smartphones, headphones and more. Consider chipping in with others to gift a big-ticket item.

Gift Average Cost
Laptop $300 to $1,000
Tablet $200 to $500
Smartphone $300 to $1,000
Wireless headphones $100 to $250
Smart watch $100 to $400

Factor in the grad’s existing devices, preferences and intended college major when choosing a tech gift. Know the return policy in case they want to exchange it.

Dorm Room Essentials

For grads heading to college, dorm room gifts like bedding, organizers, decor and cleaning supplies make great presents. Useful options:

  • Sheet sets – $50 to $100
  • Mattress pad – $25 to $50
  • Storage bins – $5 to $20 each
  • Desktop organization – $20 to $50
  • Bath caddy – $20 to $40
  • Duffle bag – $30 to $100

Gift cards for bedding and home stores like Bed Bath & Beyond, Target and Walmart allow them to pick dorm items too. Give $50 to $100.

High School Memorabilia

Sentimental gifts like customized picture frames, memory books and high school apparel can memorialize graduation forever.

  • Custom picture frame – $20 to $75
  • Photo album – $25 to $60
  • Scrapbook – $30 to $100
  • Graduation throw blanket – $50 to $100
  • School sweatshirt – $20 to $60

Monogrammed items, nano-sized graduation caps, and picture collages also make great mementos.

Experiential Gifts

Create memories with experience gifts like concert tickets, trip contributions or recreational adventures.

  • Event tickets – $50 to $500+
  • Road trip fund – $100 to $500
  • Skydiving/indoor skydiving – $50 to $300

Base the amount on your budget and the type of experience. Even small gifts like movie passes or mini golf are fun treats.

Big Ticket Gifts

For very close family, a car, laptop, trip or other big-ticket item can make an incredible graduation present. But don’t feel obligated to break the bank. Give what you can reasonably afford or contribute to a larger family gift. Big options:

  • Used car – $5,000 to $15,000
  • Europe trip – $1,000 to $5,000
  • MacBook laptop – $900 to $2,000
  • iPad Pro – $800 to $1,100

Gift Ideas Under $50

Don’t have a lot to spend? You can still give thoughtful graduation gifts for $50 and under:

  • Picture frame – $15 to $40
  • Coffee gift card – $10 to $25
  • Keychain – $10 to $25
  • Water bottle – $10 to $25
  • Mini college care package – Up to $50
  • Nice pen – $10 to $25
  • Car emergency kit – Up to $50
  • Desk accessories – Up to $25
  • Decorative high school tassel – Up to $25

Look for personalized and practical gifts to make your dollars go further. The grad will appreciate it!

Gift Giving Tips

  • Give what fits your budget, not what you feel expected to spend. Don’t go into debt over graduation gifts.
  • Group gifts from multiple people can create a bigger gift fund. Coordinate with family to combine cash and gift cards.
  • Ask the grad for gift ideas if you’re unsure. Some may give you a wish list.
  • Consider the grad’s college plans – will they live on campus? What will they study?
  • Give gifts before graduation to help prep for college. Offer to take grad shopping for dorm needs.
  • Add a handwritten note to any gift expressing pride and congratulations. This adds sentimental value.
  • Help grads save money gifts for college by opening a savings account or buying U.S. savings bonds.

However you celebrate their milestone, the class of 2024 will remember your gift and kind wishes. Follow the suggested amounts based on your relationship, then personalize your present to the grad.

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