It’s that time of year when friends and family walk across the stage to receive that diploma they’ve worked so hard for. Not only is this accomplishment worth celebrating, but it also calls for a graduation gift that’ll make the transition to post-grad life a bit easier on the recipient — or that’ll at least make them smile when the student loans hit. See: These 17 graduation gifts under $100. (Because you probably still have student loans to pay too,
As someone who graduated from college only a few months ago, I can speak from experience that it’s a scary time that brings with it a lot of uncertainty about the future. How are we expected to do the adulting thing, anyway? And WTH is a 401k? But presents like durable home goods (for that first apartment off campus), professional-looking accessories (for all those job interviews), and stress-relieving goodies (like calming candles) can make all the difference.
Without further pomp and circumstance, see and shop 17 graduation gifts under $100. Sure, you could always opt for a card with cash (no complaints there, I’m sure) — but for something a little more personal, scroll below.
Bustle Shop is Bustle’s shoppable guide to editor-approved buys in fashion, beauty, wellness, and lifestyle. We may receive a portion of sales if you purchase a product through a link in this article.
A Meaningful Piece Of Jewelry
Mark the special occasion with jewelry that they can keep and wear for years to come. Fashioned in the shape of the North Star, this 18K gold vermeil necklace can serve as a reminder that you’ll be there for the new grad whenever they could use some guidance. Plus, its minimalist design (available in both gold and silver tones) makes it endlessly versatile.
A Calming Candle
Recent college grads will likely have some anxiety about what the future holds now that school is over — and that’s totally normal! This ‘Pretending Everything Is Fine’ candle is the perfect gift to make them smile and feel less alone during this weird transitional period where everything feels just the opposite of fine.
A Long Wallet
The time after college graduation is perfect for building up credit
. This long wallet has a tiny magnetic closure and room to store credit cards, identification cards, cash, business cards, and other everyday essentials. (Just make sure your giftee knows not to go overboard: Opening up new cards can impact your score.)
Candy-Colored Champagne Glasses
Cheers to the Class of 2022! Whether the recent graduate is toasting to a recent job offer or having a graduation party, these rainbow glass champagne glasses are a gorgeous way to kickstart any special celebration. Plus, they can be used in the future for any other milestone where bubbly is warranted.
Finding focus and moments of calm during post-grad life can be tough, but these adaptogen tonics can help. The ‘Focus’ blend will come in handy during that 3 pm slump, thanks to a formula that includes blueberry and schisandra. Meanwhile, the ‘Calm’ tonic can help to unwind with wild green oat and holy basil. Just add three dropper’s worth into a glass of water and stir.
A Pair Of Weighted Bangles
Though they won’t be walking all around campus anymore, the recent grad can stay active with these weighted bangles. Featured on an episode of
Shark Tank, they can be placed around the ankles or wrists for some extra resistance, whether during a workout or even while running errands.
A Daily Planner
It may sound simple, but there’s really no better graduation gift under $100 than a new planner. It’ll keep them organized when their to-do list seems like a mile long and help them stay on top of job interviews and other appointments. Complete with a gold-embossed and spiral-bound cover, this daily planner has space available to write down deadlines, tasks, reminders, and more. The best part? It’s only $10.
A Pair Of Headphones
After four or more years of headphone use (walking to class, study sessions, etc.), recent grads are probably in need of a new pair. Opt for these wireless bluetooth headphones designed to block out external noise and keep those tunes pumping for up to five hours on a single charge.
A Cool Cuff
Are their go-to Airpods still in good shape? You can still give them a tech upgrade with this cool ear cuff. Made from 14K gold-plated brass, it’s designed to accommodate headphones and hook onto the ear for a modern, trendy accessory made for commuting.
A Retro-Inspired Instant Camera
Traveling is a must for many recent grads, and you can help them remember every moment with this instant camera. Designed by Fujifilm, it’ll take and print photos on the spot, and it features a high-performance flash that automatically adjusts brightness and shutter speed.
Their New Favorite Work Shoes
The job search can be difficult for those just entering the workforce, but having a wardrobe with professional business attire can help. Gift these loafers that can be styled with a traditional suit, skirts, and pants (and even jeans on the weekends!) for an elevated, timeless look. Expect them to quickly become MVP of the recipient’s closet.
Stock their first apartment with this mug set that’ll come in handy when the coffee cravings strike. (They might even inspire the recipient to cut down on their daily Starbucks runs.) The four neutral tones are basic enough to not clash with other kitchenware, and they’re dishwasher-, microwave-, oven-, and freezer-safe.
An Inspiring Read
Perfect to sit atop their first coffee table in that new apartment, this inspired hardcover book features a foreword by Amanda Gorman, stunning paintings by Gayle Kabaker, and captivating first-person narratives from some of the world’s most influential women. With pieces from Justice Ruth Bader Ginsberg, Hillary Rodham Clinton, Malala Yousafzai, and more, it’s a special and empowering graduation gift under $100.
This “Smart Cookie” Puzzle
Let them know that they’re one “Smart Cookie” (and give them a fun stress-relieving activity, too) with this pretty puzzle. Featuring 1,000 pieces and made from recycled paper, it depicts a yummy spread of cookies, cakes, and other desserts.
A Handy Tote Bag
Allowing them to retire their trusty backpack, this minimalistic “Peace & Quiet” tote serves as a useful graduation gift under $100. Crafted from cotton canvas, it can hold all the grad’s odds and ends whenever they’re out and about — whether they’re headed to a flea market, the gym, grocery store, brunch with friends, or commuting with their laptop.
A Pair Of Blue Light Glasses
Many jobs require staring at a computer screen for hours on end. Help protect their eyes from that tired, uncomfortable feeling (you know the one…) with these square acetate glasses. The non-prescription lenses will block that problematic blue light, while the frames look cool and sleek.
What’s a celebration without something sweet? After the graduation party (or whenever those post-grad stress munchies strike), they can dig into this gift set of yummy cookies. Free of gluten, dairy, and eight common allergens, it includes crunchy chocolate chip, double chocolate, soft chocolate chip, and triple chocolate options.
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