If you’re shopping for a graduation gift for a minimalist, think of non-cluttering, hardworking, or use-it-up type gifts. (But first of all, CONGRATULATIONS to the graduate in your life!) Here’s a list of 14 suggestions from thrifty to extravagant:
Super Frugal (from free to 5 dollars):
- A hand-written letter of congratulations and advice. I received one of these letters from an older widow neighbor when I got married. I still remember and treasure her sage advice all these years later.
- An Amazon print-at-home gift card, and you don’t need a fancy color printer. You can enter in any amount starting at 1 dollar.
- A Walmart e-gift card. They start at 5 dollars.
- Baked goods (just be mindful of dietary restrictions). No really, this is a great gift because what new graduate moving into his or her first apartment has all the accouterments for baking fabulous cookies from scratch? Depending on what you have in your pantry, about 5 dollars.
- Your well-used, well-loved hand-me-down cookie sheet, a roll of unbleached parchment paper, and your mocha chocolate cookie recipe so your grad can bake his or her own cookies from scratch! About 5 dollars. Make it fun by including a note saying how many cookies you’ve baked on that cookie sheet. 5000 cookies? 10,000? A few batches each year add up!
Frugal (from 10 to 55 dollars):
- Erin Boyle’s Simple Matters e-book, just under 10 dollars at Amazon.com. Her wise words will encourage the recent grad to furnish his or her new home slowly and thoughtfully.
- The same book (Simple Matters) in hardcover format if tangible books are your grad’s thing, currently on Amazon for 13.56. As a bonus, you can tuck in a handmade bookmark. For bookmark inspiration, check here: https://minimalistgranny.com/gift-a-book-with-a-homemade-bookmark/.
- Crocheted or knitted dishcloths. These would be free if you are a crafter with some cotton yarn in your stash. If not, look in knitting or craft stores for organic cotton which will run you about 12-15 dollars per 4 dishcloths. There are OODLES of free dishcloth patterns on the Internet for whatever yarn weight you have or can find, including simple designs for the beginner. Since dishcloths are small, these would not take long to make if you’re short on time.
- A package of environmentally-friendly Skoy cleaning cloths, about 6 dollars from Walmart, and a 12 quart Behrens galvanized bucket, about 12 dollars at Home Depot. Include a list of your time-tested cleaning tips.
- A donation to a charity in the grad’s name. I hesitate to name a particular charity because there are so many worthwhile organizations. A visit to https://www.charitynavigator.org/ can help you find a responsibly managed charity in your grad’s region or perhaps in the field of your grad’s study–for example, suggested donations to Society for Science & the Public start at 25 dollars.
- For the eco-conscious grad who will be commuting, a lightweight titanium spork to tote around town, lessening the chance he or she will be forced to use fast food plasticware. Pair it with a durable, double-walled titanium mug with smart, folding handles. I like Snow Peak’s Titanium Spork, super mod-looking, 9.95, and their Ti-Double 300 Mug, 44.95, both at REI. I also found Snow Peak items at our local mom-n-pop camping store, so check around if you don’t have an REI in your town.
More Dough (70 to 180 dollars):
- A sewing machine. Even a marginally good sewer can use a machine to repair and extend the life of clothing. How about a quality refurbished machine? Check the fabric store in town to see if any sewing aficionados have a machine for sale. Craigslist or thrift stores might be good options, too. I found two secondhand machines for sale in my area between 70 and 100 dollars.
- The TIGr mini-plus titanium bicycle lock if your grad will be commuting on two wheels or taking weekend cycling trips. It’s a lightweight lock and pretty darn secure, 135 dollars at Amazon and well-stocked local cycling stores.
- A Matt & Nat brand commuter backpack from their canvas collection, made with recycled materials, 180 dollars from Nordstrom, Urban Outfitters, and the Matt & Nat website.
Make this day even better. Consider:
• Pray for all of the young graduates going out into the world. Their decisions and actions will affect the future for all of us.