How Much Cash Is Appropriate To Give for A High School Graduation Gift in 2023?

One of the most popular questions on SavingAdvice this time of year is how much cash should one give a high school student for graduation.

There are a lot of variables that need to be taken into account, but there seems to be a basic consensus that the appropriate amount of cash to give depends on how close the person is to you. The general rule is the closer the person is to your family, the more the cash gift should be.

How Much Do You Give A High School Graduate Who’s An Acquaintance?

When you receive an announcement in the mail that someone is graduating from high school, it’s important to remember an announcement is not the same as an invitation. There is no obligation to send the graduate cash or a gift unless you want to (a congratulations card or small gift from Amazon will suffice). If you do decide to give something in this situation, cash or similar in the $20 – $30 range is appropriate.

Here is example of a nice small gift.  Its a neat little Amazon card in a appropriately cute themed box



How Much Cash Do You Give When Invited To the Ceremony?

Unlike a graduation announcement, it’s considered good manners to give a gift to the person graduating when receiving an invitation to a high school graduation whether you attend or not. Again, it depends on how close you are to the person, but a cash gift in the $20 – $50 range is usually appropriate.

How Much Do You Give A High School Graduate Who’s A Distant Relative?

If you have received an invitation from a distant relative to attend a graduation ceremony, a cash gift in the $50 range is appropriate.

How Much Do You Give A Graduate Who’s A Close Friend or Relative?

For those who are close to you and graduating from high school, a cash gift in the range of $50 – $100 is most often appropriate. If the person is part of your immediate family, the gift should be appropriate to what your family does in gift-giving situations.

Should I Give A High School Graduate Cash?

What is the best gift to give a high school student graduating?

In generalif you dont know the person wellyou can stick with cash, a check or a gift cardYou should also have in mind that fact, what you want to give money for. If the personyou want to make a money gift for, is intended to save money and use it for further studying in future , you better send money on his or her bank account; other way, if the person wants to go on a party then or to buy some clothes, it is better to give money in cash.

Fun Ways To Give Your Grad Cash

Lastly, you don’t aways have to give your grad an envelope with cash or a check, there are lots of fun ways creatively give them a gift. 

Here are some ideas: 

  • Tuck cash into a photo album filled with pictures leading up to the graduation
  • Fold the cash into a flower
  • Blow up balloons with money inside
  • Give them a calendar with money taped to each month
  • Give away a piggy bank with bills stuffed inside
  • Roll dollar bills and arrange them like a cake. Tie it up with a ribbon
  • Hide the cash in a jar filled with candy
  • Get a box of chocolates and replace the chocolates with cash, like this: 

Hat Tip: Life as a mom.

What Should Graduates Who Receive Money Do?

For those on the receiving side of cash or gifts for graduation, it’s appropriate to send a hand-written thank you card for each gift you receive. Even in this day and age of computers, it’s still better to send a hand written card than a thank you by email or text message.

For more great Savingadvice articles, read these:

Ten Great Financial Gifts For The College Graduate

Great Hand Written Thank You Cards

What Should You Give As A Graduation Gift

(Photo courtesy of m00by)

James Hendrickson is an internet entrepreneur, blogging junky, hunter and personal finance geek. When he’s not lurking in coffee shops in Portland, Oregon, you’ll find him in the Pacific Northwest’s great outdoors. James has a masters degree in Sociology from the University of Maryland at College Park and a Bachelors degree on Sociology from Earlham College. He loves individual stocks, bonds and precious metals.

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