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10 college graduation gifts that are better than cash

10 college graduation gifts that are better than cash
Posted at 10:15 AM, Apr 20, 2023

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Celebrate the soon-to-be new college graduate in your life by giving them something special, which, yes, we know can be a little tricky because, everyone is unique, people’s gifting styles vary and so do their budgets. While some students might adore a thoughtful, emotionally-charged present, others might not be so sentimental.

That’s why we’ve curated 10 of the best college graduation gifts that we believe one of the new grads in your life is sure to love. Best of all, each one goes beyond handing over an envelope of cash.

Madewell The Zip-Top Transport Tote ($198)

The Zip-Top Transport Tote from Madewell

Help your new grad look like she’s at the top of her game even though she’s just starting out in the professional world. There’s nothing like a sensible tote to pull a look together. This $198 tote from Madewell is one of the company’s best sellers and comes in three shades: True Black, English Saddle and True Black Brown.

Constructed of semi-vegetable-tanned leather, it’s large enough to hold a laptop and accessories. It also zips shut. The chic tote has an average rating of 4.4 out of 5 stars with 145 reviews.

Skyzoo WiFi 10.1-Inch Digital Picture Frame ($69.99) 

Skyzoo Digital Picture Frame

For the sentimental grad, let us introduce the WiFi 10.1-inch Digital Picture Frame by Skyzoo. It’s simple to use. Just download the app and select the photos you’d like displayed. Of the almost 750 global ratings, about 680 are five-star reviews. Several reviewers mentioned how high-quality the 1280-by-800-pixel resolution image display was. It’s currently on sale for $69.99 on Amazon.

Hungryroot Gift Card ($75-$125)

HungryRoot Box

Available in $75, $100 and $125 denominations, the gift of a Hungryroot gift card can help keep your new grad well-fed while they’re trying to jumpstart a new career. Show them you care about their well-being and they’ll feel grateful each time they open the fridge.

Food & Wine gave this gift a 4.5 out of 5-star rating. Hungryroot lets you choose from premade meals, snacks or treats and delivers them directly to your door. They even cater to various diets, like vegan, vegetarian, dairy-free or nut-free.

Belkin BoostCharge Pro 3-in-1 Wireless Charging Pad ($149.99)

Belkin 3-in-1 Charging Pad

Help your grad’s devices stay charged for the real world with this effortless charging pad. It includes MagSafe technology that’s compatible with several Apple devices including AirPods, iPhones, Apple Watches and more. It even charges devices up to 33% faster than using a cord.

More than 200 customers at give the device 4.3 out of 5 stars. Find it at Target for $149.99.

Aozita 24-Piece Cocktail Shaker Bartender Kit ($44.99)

24-piece bar set

Gift those of legal drinking age this 24-piece cocktail shaker bartender kit. Crafted with stainless steel and wood, this set includes everything you need to whip up a quick cocktail at home for yourself or a group of friends. It’s perfect for martini or margarita lovers and it’s currently on sale for 10% off at $44.99 on Amazon.

This great graduation gift gets a high rating of 4.8 out of five stars from more than 1,400 users. Reviewers said it contained everything they could want and they found it to be a great starter kit.

Apple AirPods Pro ($249)

Apple AirPods Pro

AirPods can help you focus by tuning out the world or they can help you relax by letting you rock out to your favorite song. For $249, you can pick up the second generation of AirPods, which delivers up to six hours of sound on a charge. Custom-engrave the case for your giftee to give it a personalized touch.

Travel Duffel Bag ($25.49)

Travel tote bag

We think one of the best college graduation gifts is something that you need but don’t necessarily want to buy. Sometimes that’s luggage. Gift this travel bag that’s rated as Amazon’s #1 Best Seller in Gym Tote Bags to the new grad in your life and they’ll be thankful each time they travel — or whenever they head off to the gym.

This bag features several interior and exterior pockets and offers a separate compartment to stow wet clothes. With a rating of 4.8 out of 5 stars and more than 25,500 global ratings, it comes highly rated and it’s on sale now for $25.49.

Reviewer Sarah Olea said, “I’ve had this for a year now and have taken it on several trips. I gotta say, I am very pleased with this bag! It has held up very well it looks brand new and I love the different pockets. The waterproof pocket has come in handy and one of my favorite features.”

Bentgo Classic Stackable Lunch Container ($16.99)

Bentgo bento box

Eating out every day costs a fortune. Help your new grad save by bringing their lunch to work in this stylish and functional lunch box system. The Bentgo Stackable Lunch Box is available for $16.99 at Walmart and includes two stackable containers with lids, utensils and a nylon sealing strap for easy transport.

The item gets a 4.6 out of 5-star rating from more than 100 reviewers on who say it is sturdy and compact. There are several colors to choose from.

GPED 10-Inch LED Selfie Ring Light ($17.99)


Help graduates look their best, whether that’s on a Zoom call or simply taking a selfie. This $17.99 10-inch LED RGB Selfie Ring Light comes with a tripod stand, phone holder and remote control. It also features 29 light and color modes and 12 different brightness levels.

The right light has an average rating of 4.7 out of 5 stars on from more than 500 reviews. People found it to be well-made and easy to use.

The Goddess & Grocer’s Rainbow Cake from Goldbelly ($99.95)

The Goddess and Grocery Rainbow Cake
Gold Belly

If you can’t be there in spirit to celebrate, why not wow them with a festive mail-order cake? Shipping via dry ice is free when you order The Goddess and Grocer’s Rainbow Cake on Goldbelly, which serves 12-15 people. Popular baker Debbie Sharpe is known for whipping up sweet treats for the stars and this particular cake from her is the most Instagrammed cake in Chicago, according to Goldbelly’s site.

It costs $99.95 and can be kept refrigerated for up to one week or frozen for up to six weeks. The Goddess and Grocer gets pretty much all positive reviews on Goldbelly for its different products.

Graduating college is a monumental experience. Celebrate your grad with a gift that shows them you care.

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