Over the next several weeks, colleges across the country will
hold their annual spring commencement ceremonies. If you have a
friend or family member who is graduating and you're wondering what
gift to give them, we have several practical suggestions.
The Kip Tips iPad App
Here are ten gift ideas that will help college grads get a head
start in the real world:
It's crucial to project the right image if you want to get a job
and get ahead. But college seniors are more likely to have closets
filled with shorts, jeans and t-shirts than work-appropriate
attire. So take your grad shopping for a good suit. For families on
a budget, give a nice tie, dress shirt and perhaps some sensible
5 Ways to Dress for Success on a Budget
for affordable ways to outfit your college grad. And
share these tips on how to impress a hiring
with your grad.
Session with a career coach.
International Coach Federation's referral
If your child knows little about the basics of investing or
personal finance, help her learn with a few good books. For
easy-to-read primers, see
4 Great Financial Books for Recent Grads
. Or get her a
Kiplinger's Personal Finance
for just $12.
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Grocery gift card.
Encourage your grad to cook at home with a gift card to a grocery
store. Hopefully, she'll be less tempted to dine out if she can
stock her refrigerator for free. You can find discount grocery gift
Gift Card Granny
Everyone has to sleep. So your college student will surely
appreciate a real bed -- rather than that worn-out futon he was
sleeping on in his college apartment. And May is a good time to buy
mattresses, which can be marked down by as much as 50% as retailers
try to make way for newer models.
Security deposit for an apartment.
For grads just starting out, coming up with the first month's rent
and a security deposit can be tough if their first paycheck won't
show up until the end of the month. And you don't want them to have
to rely on a credit card to make these payments. So consider
chipping in by offering to write a check for the security deposit
or one month's rent.
First-time renters often don't realize that they'll have to pay to
replace their stuff if it's stolen or damaged by fire or another
disaster -- unless they have renter's insurance. You can help them
protect their belongings and finances by purchasing them a policy,
which usually costs $200 to $300 a year.
Help with student-loan payments.
Students with loans usually get a six-month grace period before
they have to start making payments. If your grad doesn't have a job
by that point, he might need help footing the monthly bill because
you don't want him to default (see
The Dark Side of Student Loans
). Consider pitching in until he gets a steady paycheck or can
find relief through an income-based repayment plan
or loan-deferment program
A head start on retirement savings.
If your grad will have earned income from a job, you can open and
fund a Roth IRA for her. Even if she has a workplace retirement
account, she'll benefit from a Roth because she'll be able to
withdraw the money tax-free in retirement. She also can withdraw
contributions (not earnings) at any time tax- and penalty-free. To
learn more, see
8 Reasons You Need a Roth IRA Now
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