Cash is by far the most popular graduation gift. Among those who gave a grad gift, 56.7% gave cash and 32.1% offered gift cards, according to last year’s National Retail Federation survey. But what if you want to give something a little more creative, a little more personal, and something that will help your grad get the right financial start?
I asked college consultants, personal finance experts and some recent graduates for ideas that would be both welcomed by the recipient and not too hard on the wallet. People on average spent $49 on graduation gifts last year, which won’t exactly buy a round-the-world trip…or even a decent e-reader. But that amount can buy things like experiences (which contribute more to happiness than stuff), a cooking class, a pretty good carry-on bag (the better to avoid checked bag fees) and several other ideas. For more, read my Reuters column this week, “Financially smart gifts for the new grad.”