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The 13 Best College Graduation Gifts to Give Under $50

Giving a thoughtful, useful gift to a new grad doesn’t have to break the bank. Here are more than a dozen gift ideas that prove it, from thought-provoking reads to versatile accessories and tools any new renter or homeowner could use.


College graduation marks the end of one thing — pre-professional life, for most — and the beginning of real adulthood. Life changes in a hurry and demands some upgrades in utility, if not always in price, with job interviews, meetings and other steps upward looming in the near future. But giving the right gift doesn’t necessarily have to be investment-level; you can put something both thoughtful and useful in the basket for well below $50. If that sounds like the strategy you’re going for this season, you can get started with our picks below, and check out our other graduation gift guides.

Dueple Socks

You don’t know how good socks can be until you’ve tried the best, and Dueple socks are, at the very least, in the running for best socks ever.

BUY NOW: $14

Where I’m Calling From: Selected Stories by Raymond Carver

Carver helped revitalize the American short story in the 1970s and 80s, writing in deceptively simple prose about complex themes like love, marriage, family, blue-collar working life and personal struggle. It’s a crime that his work isn’t on most English class reading lists, but as they say, you shouldn’t let your schooling get in the way of your education.

BUY NOW: $17

Tweezerman Essential Grooming Kit

Putting your best face forward becomes more important than ever when you first enter the professional world — all the more reason to form good habits around grooming and hygiene. This kit of essentials will help.

BUY NOW: $21

Shinola Runwell Planner

Late spring might seem like a funny time to buy a planner, but this one goes for 18 months, ensuring whoever you gift it to will get at least a full year’s use out of it. And for the fresh-faced grad about to be busier than they’ve ever been before, a solid planner will be more than welcome.

BUY NOW: $26

Timex Weekender 38mm Watch

This is the analog watch at its most plain and basic, with a reliable quartz movement that’ll keep time for years. Add a leather strap to dress it up, or swap out colored NATO straps to match outfits — the price of entry is low and the potential for looking good is remarkably high.

BUY NOW: $31

Eddie Bauer Packable 45L Duffel

Weekend trips, gym sessions, beach vacations and overnights — a nice mid-sized duffel bag is eminently useful and more versatile (plus easier to store) than a suitcase. This bag also packs down into a little bundle when it’s not in use, allowing you to cram it just about anywhere.

BUY NOW: $33

Weber Smokey 14″ Grill

This compact little number from Weber is a classic choice that’s hard to mess up, and it’ll make a welcome addition to just about anyone’s first house or apartment.

BUY NOW: $35

Columbia Glennaker Rain Jacket

It’s no high-end designer rain jacket, but it’s packable enough to fit into a large purse, backpack or briefcase, which means it’ll serve its purpose and then some when the umbrella gets left at home. That’s a lot of value for not much money if it means the difference between getting soaked and staying dry en route to work in the morning.

BUY NOW: $39

Goal Zero Sherpa 15 Power Bank

Cheap power banks are all over the place, but most all of them are poorly made, poorly designed and don’t carry enough juice to keep your phone alive all day. This is the antithesis of all that.

BUY NOW: $40

Amazon Basics Home Tool Kit

Having the right tools for a home repair is at least half the battle, and with a toolkit this well-appointed, the new homeowner (or apartment tenant, as it may be) is equipped for just about any task.

BUY NOW: $45

Davek Mini Umbrella

This might seem like a lot of money for a tiny umbrella, but the tiny size makes it perfect to stow in your bag and forget it’s even there — until the next downpour, anyway. What’s more, Davek’s umbrellas are well-made and sturdy, meaning it’ll last through more than a few stormy walks home before you need to find a new one.

BUY NOW: $49

Uniqlo Ultralight Down Vest

Uniqlo does a lot of things well for not much money; its Ultralight Down collection is one of those things. The men’s vest is warm, ready for layering, and it looks just as good with modern office attire as it does with jeans, sneakers and a hoodie.

BUY NOW: $50

Brooks Brothers Repp Tie

There are plenty of great neckties out there, but this one from Brooks Brothers comes in multiple colors and can match just about any suit or ensemble. It’s also made well enough to last for years of regular wearing.

BUY NOW: $50

Gifts Ideas for the Class of 2019


Have a matriculating student in your life? We’ve pulled together all the best gifts to give after they’ve turned their tassel. Read the Story

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