Gift Ideas for Frugal Graduates

To get the best financial start in life, many new graduates try to be as frugal as possible. If you know a graduate who is trying to pinch every penny, it’s nice to get them a graduation present that makes it easier to do so.

You don’t have to buy cheap gifts to make a frugal graduate happy. Instead, you should choose gifts that make it easier to live frugally. It’s an important distinction, and you may be at a loss when it comes to finding the right gifts. The following ideas are sure to help.

Entertainment Subscriptions

The graduate in your life may have canceled his cable subscription in order to save money. He probably won’t turn down a one-year subscription to Netflix or another entertainment service, though.

If the graduate you know likes to watch movies or listen to music, you might consider paying for a yearly subscription. It’s something that he wouldn’t buy for himself, but it’s sure to be greatly appreciated.

Dehydrators and Canning Kits

Graduates who have vegetable gardens are always looking for ways to make the most out of the veggies they grow. Canning things like tomatoes is a great way to save money, and it’s a lot of fun too. There are several canning kits out there, so you might want to get one for the graduate in your life.

A dehydrator is another great option. It can be used to dehydrate fruits, veggies and meats so that they can be enjoyed later. When great deals on meats and produce hit the store, those items can be purchased and dehydrated for enjoyment later. It’s a practical and frugal gift that the grad in your life is sure to love.

Compost Buckets

To live as frugally as possible, it’s important not to waste a thing. Many frugal people enjoy composting their food scraps and using the compost in their gardens. A compost bucket is a nice option because it can be used to store scraps until they can be taken out to the compost pile. It’s also something that a frugal person probably wouldn’t buy for himself, so he is sure to be thrilled when he is presented with one.

Gas Station Gift Cards

There are no two ways about it: Gas is expensive. Many frugal people try to commute by bicycle whenever possible, but most people need vehicles at least some of the time.

You can do your part to reduce the cost of filling up by giving the grad in your life a gas station gift card. Just make sure to get a card for a gas station that’s convenient for her.

Coupon Book

Keep your eyes peeled for those large coupon books that make the rounds every year. They are typically packed with coupons for local restaurants, stores and movie theaters. Frugal graduates usually try to avoid going out as much as possible because it’s so expensive, but everyone needs to have fun from time to time.

With a nice coupon book, the graduate in your life will feel less stressed about enjoying an occasional night out on the town.

Do-it-Yourself Machines

Treats like ice cream and cappuccinos can really add up over time, so frugal types tend to steer clear of ice cream shops and cafes. Why not give your graduate a do-it-yourself machine? There are machines out there that make ice cream, yogurt and other delicious treats.

Espresso machines are somewhat expensive, but making cappuccinos and espressos with them isn’t. A bread machine is another worthwhile option to consider. With the right machine, a frugal graduate will be able to make a wide range of tasty treats at home.

Warehouse Store Membership

Warehouse stores like Costco are a frugal person’s dream come true. However, penny-pinching types are often reluctant to splurge on the yearly membership fees. If there’s a warehouse membership store near where your graduate lives, buy her a membership. She is sure to get plenty of use out of it, and he’ll save a lot of money too.

As you can see, gifts for frugal graduates aren’t necessarily cheap. They are simply designed to help people live as frugally as possible. The frugal grad in your life is sure to be tickled by any one of the preceding gifts, so consider buying him one.


  1. Gas Station Gift Cards!! I would have loved them then and if anyone wants to get me one now too, I’ll gladly accept.
    Also, restaurant gift cards would be great so that they can go out without feeling like they’re wasting money. My wife and I specifically ask for them for Christmas/Birthdays/etc.
    Finally, a decent slow cooker or rice cooker would certainly fit under the do-it-yourself machines and would be pretty helpful to any frugal graduate (or anyone else for that matter).
    Thanks for the list!

  2. Instead of giving a Costco membership, give a costco gift card. You don’t need a membership in order to use the gift cards, so I save $50 bucks by just ordering another card from PlasticJungle or another site when I want to do a Costco trip.

  3. My daughter recently graduated from college, just about the time she could no longer be retained on our family health insurance plan. Although not cheap, our graduation gift to her was a comprehensive one year health insurance plan. A practical young women, she was thrilled that her health needs would be met during the time she was searching for a good job with decent health benefits in today’s uncertain job market.

  4. Great article! I loved the idea of DIY machines. It gives you something new to do while saving you money on things you really like… Great idea! Another idea is a useful gift basket with things you know they will need but might not want to spend money on. You might have to customize it depending on who you are giving this to.

  5. Great suggestions, except be careful when you think about the canning or dehydrator. I know plenty of young people who would leave that in its box forever. But the ice cream maker? Now that would get used.

  6. Great gift ideas. The 2012 Entertainment Coupon books are only $15 with free shipping right now. Or you can wait for the 2013 edition to be released, and you’ll be able to buy both the 2012 and the 2013 as a bundle, which is like getting the 2012 for free.

  7. Coupon books are a must for new grads (especially frugal grads), not to mention it might inspire them to explore their city more.

  8. Netflix is a great one! If you are feeling really liberal with your money, you can also get them a Roku or Apple TV to make their netflix subscription that much better. My little sister loved hers!