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7 Gift Ideas for Graduates Under $15!

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face planter with tongue sticking out and glasses on

Schools out for summerquarantine!

We’re ready to celebrate seniors and the class of 2020, and even though the Coronavirus pandemic has put a halt to many things in life, it isn’t stopping us from celebrating them! Here are a few unique but super-useful (and cheap) graduation gift ideas that they’ll be sure to love and actually use.

The best part? All of these graduation gifts are under $15! 👏


1. Gift a cute ID lanyard wallet that they’ll actually want to wear around campus.

hot pink leather lanyard wallet on table with id and money

Leather Badge Holder | $6.95

An ID lanyard is a sure way for any future college kid to roam around campus and know exactly where their ID and wallet are, and since these ones are so cute, they’ll never look for an excuse not to wear it!

Looking for something a little more masculine? These retractable lanyards are made of linen and are extremely versatile.


2. Gift a rolling laundry basket on wheels to make laundry trips easier.

person pulling white laundry basket with wheels

Sterile Wheeled Basket | $12.59

While this gift idea isn’t super fun, it sure is practical for your student when they go off to college campuses or will be living in an apartment where they’ll have to lug their clothes around. Pair it with some of our favorite laundry detergent and you’ll still spend less than $15 for both!

“I loved the wheeled hamper my mom gave me when I went off to college! I lived on the 3rd floor and the laundry was in the basement so it was a life-saver!” – Chelsey

Hip Tip: If you don’t mind going over budget, you could also gift some personalized bath towels so your new college student won’t have to worry about people stealing their towels.


3. Make this easy money lei as a unique graduation gift idea!

money lai

DIY money Lei | Depends on the dollar amounts used

Since you might be running out of things to do during quarantine, we thought you might like this cute DIY money Lei graduation gift idea – perfect for any graduating senior, because who doesn’t love getting money?!


4. Write a note of encouragement with a Lovepop 3D card.

woman opening 3d butterfly lovepop card

Lovepop 3D cards | $10-$13 each

If you like to keep things old school and send meaningful, handwritten cards via snail mail, Lovepop offers incredibly designed 3D graduation cards. While a lot of the graduation cards are currently out of stock, almost all of their options are blank so depending on what your senior is into, there’s sure to be a card that will fit their personality perfectly!

Just keep in mind that the cards feel very thick due to the intricate designs so some cash or a check is encouraged so you don’t get a college kid’s hopes up when feeling the card’s weight. 🤣

Have a few people to buy for? When you buy 5 cards for $50, you’ll spend just $10 on each card (normally $13 EACH).


5. Use a Dollar Tree hamper to create a DIY college survival kit.

DIY college survival kit in hamper

College Survival Kit | Under $15!

Have an old shoebox? or hamper? You could decorate an old shoebox with some wrapping paper you have laying around or even pick up an affordable container/hamper from the Dollar Tree and fill it with some essentials that your senior will be likely to use when they go off to college.

Chances are you already have some stuff laying around the house to fill it with, but if you need some ideas, we’re adding some Command strips, Bandaids, an all-in-one tool, labels, stamps (to write home of course), super glue, and some baggie clips.

Here some additional fun ideas you can grab at Dollar Tree:

  • flip flops for shower shoes
  • ear plugs and sleeping masks
  • laundry detergent/dryer sheets
  • laundry basket/laundry bags
  • hangers
  • food items like Ramen noodles & microwave popcorn
  • shower gel and loofah
  • coffee mugs/cups and instant coffee
  • hand soap/hand sanitizer
  • personal care items like deodorant, toothpaste, etc.

College Survival Kit card and hamper filled with goodies

“My mom gifted me a box of essentials when I went off to college and it was such a cute and unexpected idea. It ended up being something that I actually used a lot!” – Amber R. 


6. Stock them up with protein bars by taking advantage of this Built Bars promo code.

man woman with built bars

Built Bars variety pack AND Boost Vitamin packets | $9.95 shipped (regularly $45!)

If there’s one thing any senior graduate loves, it’s free food and we’re huge fans of these Built Bars. In fact, Collin and her senior tried 18 different kinds and shared their favorites! These high protein power bars will be great snacks, dorm food, or something to take to class when they head off to their college campus.


7. Those with green thumbs will love this fun planter you can write on.

white planer box with face and glasses on it

Face planter | $14.99

Draw on it, express how you’re feeling, have a place to set your glasses, or just enjoy a unique way to display a plant – this little planter will be a cute addition to any studious graduates dorm room desk.

While you’ll have to spend some extra dough if you want to have an actual plant in it, we think it will make a great gift idea! Might I suggest going with a succulent? That way even those without green thumbs will have something to make them smile without the worry of keeping it alive.

Hip Tip: Did you know that college students can score a FREE Amazon Prime membership for 6 months?!


Here are some awesome discounts and freebies your senior heading to college can score.

Join The Discussion

Comments 11

  1. Lori

    Thanks for the fun suggestions!

    • Collin (Mrs. Hip)

      You’re so welcome, Lori!

  2. Scarlet B

    The planter would also make a good pencil holder, if the recipient didn’t want a plant.

    • Amber (Hip Sidekick)

      Great idea! Thanks for the suggestion!

    • smithjohnson16

      Is it big enough to put a box of Kleenex in it?

      • Amber (Hip Sidekick)

        Hi there! Here are the dimensions listed in the details – “4.5 x 4.5 x 6 inches” Hope this helps!

  3. Heather

    What ideas do you have for someone going into military after graduation?

    • Shoppingfan

      Last year, we gave our snack bags for them to take to boot camp. Frames for family pics as well as magnets so they can hang up things. We made some cute travel kits of toiletries, etc so they didn’t have to buy it! Snacks, gum were a hit

  4. TJ

    We got a LovePop card for my youngest son’s teacher, just as a pick me up. It’s gorgeous!! It’s a little smaller than I thought it would be but it’s so cool. Also, there’s a pull-out note card built into it so you don’t write where the 3d image is, if that makes sense. They can display it on a shelf and you won’t see any writing.

  5. laura-8

    Are these good for boys too? We have a few 2020 grads in the neighborhood I wanted to drop off a little something but don’t know any of them personally

    • Mom2boys

      I have boys and think the survival kit in a laundry basket would be great! How sweet if you to think of them all!!

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