Are you wondering how much money to give for a high school graduation gift?
Graduating high school is a big milestone for students. It’s a significant achievement that marks the transition to adulthood.
For many students, it’s a stepping stone to starting college.
Almost every high school graduate will be extremely appreciative to receive money as a graduation gift (I know I was!)
Giving money as a gift for high school graduates is commonplace, but you might be wondering exactly how much you should give, and what the etiquette is for giving money as a high school graduation gift.
Here’s everything you need to know about how much money to give for a high school graduation gift!
How Much Money to Give for a High School Graduation Gift
The standard amount of money to give as a high school graduation gift is $20 to $300.
It’s a big range, but a variety of factors can impact how much you give to the new graduate. Here are some factors to consider when figuring out the amount of money to give as a graduation gift:
1. Your Budget
The first and most important thing to consider is your budget.
Don’t feel pressured to give an extravagant gift if you can’t afford it or if you are on a fixed income. This is especially true if you have to get gifts for multiple graduates (which is a common occurrence during graduation season.)
The recipient of your gift will be appreciative whether the amount is $20 or $200.
2. Your Relationship to the Graduate
Another thing to consider is your relationship with the graduate.
Parents, grandparents, older siblings, and other close relatives typically give more money as a gift than cousins, friends, neighbors, or acquaintances.
The former may give a gift of $100 to $300, while the latter may give a gift of $20 to $50.
3. Other Gifts
If you are giving the graduate other gifts in addition to money, then it’s appropriate to give less in cash (if anything at all.)
For example, if you bought the graduate a brand-new iPad as a graduation gift, then it would be appropriate to give no additional money, or if you do, just $25 in a card.
If you don’t have any other gifts and are just giving the graduate cash, then it’s appropriate to give more money.
How Much to Give Based on Relationship
One of the most common ways to figure out how much money to give for a high school graduation gift is based on your relationship with the graduate.
Here are some rough guidelines you can follow, but again, these amounts can be tailored to your personal situation including budget and income:
Parents typically give their child graduating from high school a monetary gift. But if you’ve already given your graduate other gifts or paid for a graduation party for them, then a lesser amount is acceptable.
A typical high school graduation gift of $100 to $300 is a good range, but of course you can give more or less depending on other factors.
If you’re the grandparent of a recent high school graduate, you’re probably extremely proud of your grandchild’s accomplishments.
A gift of $100 to $150 will be much appreciated by your grandchild, but again, don’t feel obligated to give more than you can if you are on a fixed income. Your grandchild will just be glad you are there to support them most of all!
For older siblings, a gift of $50 to $100 is appropriate for your younger sibling who is graduating from high school. This is a great way to show you’re proud of them and to give them some spending money for the summer or for college.
For younger siblings or siblings around the same age as the graduate, a smaller amount is acceptable and is a really thoughtful gift that will surely be appreciated by the graduate.
Aunts and uncles who have a close relationship with their niece or nephew should give around $75 to $150 as a high school graduation gift.
If you aren’t as close to your niece or nephew (maybe they live far away and you only see them a couple of times per year) then a lesser gift of $50 to $100 would still be appropriate and very much appreciated by the graduate.
For other relatives like distant cousins who are not very close to the new graduate, a gift of $25 to $75 is appropriate.
This will still show you care without over-extending your budget too much.
Are you the friend of a high school graduate? If you are around the same age, then it’s not expected to give a monetary gift. Just showing up at their graduation party or telling them congratulations is definitely enough.
However, if you want to give a gift (maybe you’re a year or two older and want to do something nice for your friend) then a gift of $20 to $30 is appropriate.
There are a few other scenarios that may describe how you’re acquainted with the college graduate. Maybe you’re a neighbor, a co-worker of one of their parents, or a family friend.
In this case, a gift of $20 to $50 is appropriate depending on how close you are to the graduate and their family.
How to Give Money as a Graduation Gift
So now that we’ve covered the appropriate amount of money to give as a high school graduation gift, here are some tips for how to give the money.
1. Put it in an envelope
If you’re giving cash as a high school graduation gift, be sure to put it in a sealed envelope addressed to the graduate and signed with your name.
This will ensure the money doesn’t get lost in the shuffle at a graduation party, and ensure that the graduate remembers who gave them the money.
2. Include a card
While an envelope full of cash is a welcome gift for any high school graduate, adding a thoughtful card is an even better touch.
Be sure to share some wisdom (or just a funny quote) with the graduate in your card.
3. Hand-deliver it
If at all possible, hand-deliver your money gift to the new graduate. If you’ll be attending their graduation party or graduation ceremony, this is a great time to do it.
The United States Postal Service discourages sending cash in the mail, so it’s up to you whether or not you trust the postal system with your gift. If you live far away and won’t be able to give the gift in person, sending an electronic gift card may be a better option.
4. Get creative
Finally, you can get creative with how you present your money gift if you want to put a fun twist on a standard gift.
For example, you can create a “money tree” or “money bouquet” using smaller bills.
Another fun idea is hiding the money inside a gag gift (just make sure the graduate finds the REAL gift!)
How Much Money to Give for a High School Graduation Gift
Hopefully these guidelines have helped you to determine how much money to give for a high school graduation gift.
At the end of the day, it’s the thought that counts, and most high school graduates will be grateful to receive any amount of money.
They will just be happy that you thought of them during this special time, and won’t remember the exact amount that was given (well, I do still remember receiving a surprise $300 from a distant relative I’d met only once in my life, but that’s an exception!)
Looking for more high school graduation gift ideas?