FREE Things for Graduates in 2023 (These Make Awesome Graduation Gift Ideas, Too!)

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Celebrate scholarly accomplishments with hot deals and freebies. Check out this list of deals and FREE things for graduates in 2023! Some of these offers can also be used as graduation gift ideas!

graduates throwing hats in the air

Congrats, grads! 🎉

We’re so proud of your accomplishments and how far you’ve come! We’re not the only ones either! Tons of your favorite restaurants are too and they want to help you celebrate. To commemorate the joyous occasion, these restaurants are offering special deals and freebies to graduates and those buying gifts for graduates. If you want to kick off the festivities by taking advantage of these offers and graduation gift ideas, we’ve compiled you a handy list to reference and we expect this list to grow as June approaches!

Cheers, graduates! 🎊 🎓

Special deals & free things for graduates in 2023: 

dozen krispy kreme donuts1. On May 24, Krispy Kreme is giving graduates a FREE Original Glazed Dozen.

Graduates who swing by a participating Krispy Kreme on May 24th can score a FREE Original Glazed Dozen. To get the deal, the graduate must be present and provide proof of status. There are a few ways to provide proof:

  • Bring in a photo ID and a graduation certification with your name.
  • Show your student photo ID card that shows you are a senior.
  • Show up in a cap and gown with a 2023 tassel.
  • Wear a 2023 class ring, 2023 letterman’s jacket for seniors, 2023 senior apparel, or any other 2023 swag.

This is a one-day only deal, so mark your calendars!

hand holding a cupcake outside of magnolia bakery

2. Graduates can snag a FREE cupcake at Magnolia Bakery.

From now until June 30th, 2023 graduates can score a free classic cupcake from Magnolia Bakery. To get this delicious freebie, just wear your cap and gown to the bakery or bring in your diploma to provide proof of your status.

This person is drawing on Microsoft Surface tablet which is offered at a discount for graduates and is one of the coolest graduation gift ideas

3. Recent grads can enjoy special deals from Microsoft.

Microsoft is extending some of their student discounts to recent grads. Head on over to Microsoft’s website to check out their special offers. You can score FREE Microsoft office, get 10% off the Microsoft store, and even save $300 off a Microsoft Surface!

A growler and pint glasses from Looking Glass Brewery in Dewitt, Michigan

4. Michigan graduates can score a free meal in May thanks to the Looking Glass Brewing Co.

The Looking Glass Brewing Co. in Dewitt, Michigan (just outside Lansing) is offering a great deal for new graduates. Bring proof of a graduation certification over to the brewery and you’ll be rewarded one free meal. You’ll also be entered in a raffle to win one of four $50 gift certificates. The raffle drawing for the gift cards takes place June 1st, 2023.

There are a handful of colleges near the Lansing, Michigan area, including Michigan State University. If you know a recent grad living in the area, let them know about this great offer! Also, if you know an educator who lives nearby, let them know they can receive 25% off from 3 PM – 6 PM every Friday!

student wearing graduation cap

5. Hosting a graduation party and need a decoration? Score a free graphic from Craft House SVG.

The website Craft House SVG is offering a few free graphics for graduates for personal use only. These graphics are perfect for making graduation decorations or announcements.You can get the graphic for free and print it at home or your local print shop.

Plus, you can score a deal on other graphics too! Use code 10FOR10 to get 10 graphics for just $1 each.

Man looking at blueprints

6. Get a FREE or discounted membership to several professional organizations.

Many professional organizations are willing to provide free or discounted memberships to recent graduates. Here are just a few of those organizations:

6 cookies in a box

7. Graduates can get a FREE 6-Pack of Insomnia Cookies with any $5 purchase.

Graduates who swing by Insomnia Cookies in their cap and gown can score a FREE 6-pack of cookies with any $5 in-store purchase. If you don’t have possession of your cap and gown, that’s okay, just bring in alternative proof of graduation to score the deal. The offer is good until June 18th, 2023, but availability may vary by location.

applebee's store front

8. Applebee’s is giving an extra gift card when you purchase a $50 one!

Now through June 25th, you’ll get a bonus $10 gift card when you purchase a $50 Applebee’s gift card. Since the restaurant often has hours with half price appetizers and drink deals, youe gift card can go a long way!

If you aren’t the one graduating, use this deal as a possible graduation gift idea!

a chilis gift card ilke this is one graduation gift idea

9. Get an extra $10 gift card with a gift card purchase at Chili’s!

Now through June 25th, order a $50 gift card at Chili’s (physical or digital) for your grad and you’ll snag an additional $10 e-bonus card!

millers ale house wings bought with a gift card that was one of the free things for graduates

10. Miller’s Ale House is giving bonus cards for a grad gift card purchases!

Now through June 30th, grab a $50 Miller’s Ale House gift card for your grad and receive a $10 bonus gift card to use from July 1st – August 31st, 2023. Whether you’re the grad or a loved one in need of a graduation gift idea, this isn’t a bad offer!

man holding plate of shrimp and showing the camera how a red lobster gift card is one of the popular graduation gift ideas

11. Grab bonus coupons from Red Lobster.

Buy a $50 gift card from Red Lobster and you’ll receive two $10 bonus coupons to use towards any order of $40 or more during the months of July & August. To snag the offer, you must buy your gift card between now and July 2nd.


One of the free things for graudates is Smash Cash that can be used towards a Double Classic Smashburger

12. Smashburger is giving extra Smash Cash!

Grab $5 Smash Cash for every $25 virtual gift card you purchase for your grads now through June 19th. Smash Cash is redeemable from June 19th to July 31st, 2023.

moe's southwest grill is giving out gift cards which is one of the easiest graduation gift ideas

13. Moe’s Southwest Grill is offering $5 in Moe’s Rewards to those buying $25 gift cards for graduates.

Does your favorite graduate love a tasty burrito? If so, consider gifting them a gift card from Moe’s Southwest Grill. For every $25 gift card you purchase, you’ll receive $5 in Moe’s Rewards. This offer is valid from now until June 18, 2023.

An Edible Arrangements Graduation 2023 package is one of the great graduation gift ideas

14. For a limited time, Edible Arrangements is offering up to 25% off select graduation bundles.

Need to buy something for a graduate or their graduation party? Edible Arrangements has several cute graduation gift ideas and food products. Select packages are either 15% or 25% off. Use code SWEETDEAL15 or SWEETDEAL25 on applicable items.

Two girls wearing a Whataburger Class of 2023 Tshirt which is one of our graduation gift ideas

15. Buy a $25 graduation t-shirt from Whataburger and score a FREE table tent.

The popular burger chain has an offer for graduates. If you visit the Whataburger store and purchase their funny 2023 graduation tee, you’ll receive a FREE table tent. The offer is valid until May 21st or until supplies are gone (as of May 22nd there were still a few shirts left).

A gift card to Red Robin to get one of these juicy burgers is one of the easiest graduation gift ideas

16. Red Robin is giving away $5 in Bonus Bucks to those who spend $25 on a gift card for a graduate.

Does your grad love endless fries? Head on over to Red Robin and scoop them up a $25 gift card. In return, you’ll earn $5 in Bonus Bucks. If you don’t live near your graduate, that’s okay! The offer is available for digital gift cards too!

A stack of pancakes topped with a butter ball with syrup being drizzled on

17. Score a $5 bonus card when you buy a $25 gift card to IHOP.

From now until July 17th, anyone who purchases a $25 gift card for a graduate will receive a $5 bonus card too! Plus, the bonus card doesn’t expire until August 21st! Head over to IHOPs website where you can buy a physical gift card or a digital gift card for those who are far away. You can even buy gift cards in bulk!

a womans hand holding a Potbelly cubano sandwich which you can get as part of a graduation catering discount from the sandwich shop

18. Hosting a graduation party? Get 10% off catering at Potbelly Sandwich Shop.

Use code GRAD23 to score 10% off a catering order from Potbelly. It’s a quick and easy meal idea for a graduation party!

a Combo Meal from On The Border

19. Buying for someone far away? Score $10 reward when you buy a $50 e-card from On the Border.

For every $50 e-card you buy to On the Border, you’ll receive a $10 dine-in reward. If that sounds like a deal to you, don’t forget to sign up for On the Border Rewards to score $2 off queso every visit!

These McAlister's Deli sandwiches can be bought with the graduation gift card you buy

20. Get more free money at McAlister’s Deli! Get a $5 reward voucher with a $25 gift card purchase.

Buy a digital gift card, physical gift card, or bulk gift cards from McAlister’s Deli. For every $25 gift card purchase, you’ll score a $5 reward voucher. The voucher is sent via email and is valid to use from June 19th – July 31st.

outback steak and ribs with fries on wooden cutting board

21. Outback Steakhouse is offering $10 bonus card to anyone purchasing a $50 gift card.

Outback is offering physical gift cards, digital gift cards, and bulk gift cards for graduates. If you spend $50 on a gift card for them, you’ll get a $10 bonus card to spend on yourself (this does not include gratuity, taxes, or alcohol). You can snag this deal through June 18, 2023, and your bonus card is valid from June 19th to August 20th.

22. Many car dealerships offer grads a great deal on a set of new wheels.

Car companies want the business of new graduates. If you need a new car to get you to and from your new job, check out the offers below:

  • Nissan – Get $500 cash back on top of other offers through the Nissan College Grad Program.
  • Toyota – New grads can get a $500 rebate plus financing from Toyota.
  • BMW – Grads can snag a good rate plus $1,000 towards the purchase of a new BMW.
  • Ford – Recent graduates and undergrads within 2 years of graduating can receive a special cash back reward from many Ford dealerships, often between $500 – $750.
  • General Motors – Graduates can receive $500 on select models plus financing.
  • Audi – Audi has a College Grad Program where recent graduates can get competitive rates and financing.
  • Acura – Many Acura locations offer a cash back or bonus offer for grads – usually around $500.
  • Hyundai – Recent college graduates can receive $400 towards a new purchase or lease.
  • Lexus – There is a college grad offer available at Lexus too but the discount may vary by location.
  • Subaru – Get competitive rates and financing through their special College Grad Program.
  • Volkswagen – Grads can score a $500 bonus on select vehicles.
  • Volvo – Thanks to Volvo’s Graduate Program, recent grads can score competitive rates and financing.

grad announcement card class of 2023

23. Don’t forget to send a card! You can get 15% off graduation cards and select gifts at Minted!

Good news! Minted has extended their graduation promo. Now you can use code CLASSOF2023 to score 15% off graduation cards and announcements through May 22, 2023. If you need graduation gift ideas, this offer also applies to select gifts like tote bags!

If you happen to belong to the Minted More membership program (costs $38 annually), you can save 30% with code GRADMM30.

Future and current college students can snag over 100 student discounts!

About the writer:

Kara is a writer and photographer from the Midwest. Her creative work has appeared in various publications over the past decade. With a background in finance, she loves to be money-savvy.

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