How Much To Give For A High School Graduation Gift?

Graduating high school is a monumental moment in everyone’s life. When people graduate high school, they are essentially saying goodbye to their childhood. 

Up to that point, the only thing children are responsible for is their education. However, once they complete high school, other options open up to them. They can continue their education in university, or they can enter the workforce.

Since it is such an important moment in a young person’s life, it is natural for close family and friends to give graduation gifts. Unfortunately, it can be challenging to figure out what to give someone for their achievement. It should not be the same as a birthday or Christmas present, so what do you give them?

Monetary gifts are always great options for people who graduate high school. That way, they can decide what to purchase and feel appreciated. Here we will help you figure out how much money you should give to the person graduating based on your relationship with them.

How Much Money Should You Give As a High School Graduation Gift?

When you give someone a high school graduation gift, you do not need to worry about breaking the bank. Only give them the amount of money you are comfortable with. 

We will be providing ranges of money in the sections below, but you can always give less depending on your financial situation. Remember, a gift is never something someone should feel entitled to, so anything you give should be appreciated.

How Much Should You Give an Acquaintance?

You might want to give an acquaintance a graduation gift depending on the situation. Maybe a coworker’s child is graduating, or your boss’s child, and you want to give a present as a sign of respect. If you decide to give a gift, it does not need to be big. Get them a card with $10 to $20 in it, and they will appreciate it.

$10 to $20 is enough for the person to appreciate the gesture, but it should not affect you in any way, even if you are on a tight budget.

However, most of the time, you do not need to worry about getting a gift or card for acquaintances graduating high school. You do not need to get a gift for everyone you know who graduates high school. Doing so would be unreasonable.

Instead, you can congratulate them when you see them, but you do not need to go out of your way to give them a monetary gift.

How Much Money Should You Give to a Friend?

Typically, you do not need to give as much money to friends as to family. You do not even need to give gifts to all of your friends. However, you should give a gift to your close friends.

If your child is graduating high school, you might also consider giving a small monetary gift to their best friend. If they are family friends, they can be worthy of a present.

Before we give a number, distant relatives like cousins can also fall into this category. However, you are never obligated to give every friend or distant relative a gift. Who you give gifts to comes down to your judgment.

A friend should get more money than you would give your acquaintance, but not as much as your close relatives. Of course, there might be some friends that you give more than your relatives, but generally speaking, you will give family members more money.

A gift to a friend should be between $20 and $50. That is enough that they can get something decent and feel appreciated, but it is not over the top.

How Big Should Your Gift be for Nieces and Nephews?

You and your siblings will probably start having kids when you get older. When those children grow up, they will graduate high school, and you will need to get them gifts. 

You probably have a closer bond with your nieces and nephews than with most other relatives. Outside of your parents and siblings, you probably have few more important familial relationships than the ones you have with your nieces and nephews.

As a result, you should give larger gifts to your sibling’s kids. Since you will be in your 40s or 50s by the time they graduate high school, you should be at a point in your life when you can afford to give more money. As a result, you can give a gift of $50 to $100.

$50 to $100 is enough for them to make a bigger purchase. They might have had their eyes on something for a while, and with your gift, they can finally afford it. Alternatively, they can use that money to contribute to a larger celebration in the future.

How Big Should Your Gift be for Your Grandchildren?

Grandparents usually love to spoil their grandchildren. Parents need to teach life lessons to their children. That sometimes means not giving them everything they want. However, Grandparents already did that with their kids, and as a result, they usually end up spoiling their grandchildren.

Additionally, by the time their grandchildren graduate high school, they might have long retired. So, they should have the money to give a more expensive monetary gift without a problem if they saved appropriately.

Furthermore, grandparents usually give small cash gifts for birthdays and Christmas. So, giving a bigger present for a big event like high graduation is understandable. You should give your grandchildren a present of $100 to $200 for graduating high school if you can afford it.

How Big Should Your Gift be for Your Children?

We are onto the big one. You should not give anyone a larger graduation gift than your children, and no one should give them a more expensive graduation gift than you.

The only exception would be if you have an extremely rich friend or family member that went over the top. Under normal circumstances, the parents should give the biggest graduation gift to their children.

How much you give to your children depends on your disposable income. Since they have lived with you their whole lives, they should be understanding if you do not have a lot of extra money to throw around.

However, if you do not have financial issues, you should try to give your children at least $200 for their graduation gift. 

You can give larger gifts if you want. Many parents like to give their kids gifts of $300, $500, or even $1000. How much you give depends on your financial situation and how much you feel is appropriate. After all, you raised them, so you should be able to determine how much you want to give them.

Etiquette When Giving High School Graduation Gifts

While giving cash as a gift is great, you should still follow etiquette. You cannot crumple up a few bills and give them to someone. There is etiquette to follow when giving monetary gifts.

The best thing to do with a monetary gift is to put it in an envelope with a card. Additionally, you should give monetary presents by hand.

Sending money through the mail is not a good idea because it could get lost. There is no way to prove how much money was in the lost envelope, so you could be out of luck if it gets lost.

Finally, you should decide whether to give cash or a cheque. Both are decent options, but we prefer cash. If they want, the person you are giving the gift to can deposit the money to their bank, or they can spend it directly.

Conversely, cheques need to be deposited at their bank. As a result, giving money can save them a trip to the bank.

Other Gifts You Can Give

If you think cash is not personal enough, there are other options. Here are a few options available to you.

Gift Cards

If you want personalized gifts, gift cards are not the best option. However, they are still solid options. They are a little more personal than cash because it shows you know what they are interested in. However, we still think giving cash or a specific item rather than a gift card is better.

Symbolic Items

One of the best options available to you is to give the person graduating a symbolic gift. For example, you could give them an old childhood book to remind them of what it was like to be a kid.

Another option is to give them an old family heirloom like a ring or necklace. Maybe you got a ring from your parents when you graduated high school or college.

You could pass it on to them when they graduate high school. Gifts like these will last much longer than a couple of hundred dollars spent on a dinner or new video game.

Handmade Presents

If you want to make something personal, the best thing you can do is make something handmade. Since high school graduation is a transitional point in a young person’s life, heartfelt gifts are appreciated.

With that in mind, we think handmade photo albums are great gifts for your children. You can include photos from when they were very young, and add pictures from their childhood, all the way to graduation.

The pictures should not just be of them. It should have images of friends, family, and memories they have made in their young lives.

17 and 18-year-olds might not love a photo album as a present immediately, but they will appreciate it in a few months.

When they go off to university and are away from home for the first time, they will turn to your photo album when they are lonely. At that moment, they will be happy you gave it to them for a graduation present.

Final Thoughts

Certain moments in your life stand out. When you have your first kiss, get your first job, get married, and have kids. Another crucial moment is when you graduate high school. It marks the end of your childhood, and as a result, it is one of the most impactful moments in your life.

If your child, relative, or friend is graduating high school, you should consider giving them a present. Cash gifts are always good options, but you should figure out how much to give.

The sections above have all the information you need to figure out how much to give depending on your relationship with the person graduating.

Further Reading: What To Wear To A Graduation Party