gifts for grads

Top Gifts for Grads

Graduation is an exciting time—a celebration of smarts, effort and, perhaps most of all, stick-to-it-ness. Many of us remember high school or college as a series of carefree years of youthful exuberance, summers off and absolutely no mortgage payments. But there were also plenty of sleepless nights cramming for mid-term exams, trying to solve for “x,” and wracking your brain to come up with one more page about the symbolism of the white whale in “Moby Dick.”

We think that kind of dedication deserves a reward, and we’ve got plenty of ideas to help you celebrate the graduate in your life—while also saving money. Smart, right?

Gift card deals for high school graduates

Now that school is out, most kids have just a few things on their mind: friends, food and fun. Here are gift card suggestions that are sure to earn you some “cool” points.

For the well-dressed grad

apparelTeen boys and girls love the unfussy but hip styles of companies like American Apparel (up to 31.43% off); American Eagle Outfitters (up to 24.5% off); and Hollister (up to 25% off).

The on trend teen fashionista favors stores like Club Monaco (up to 15.08% off) and Urban Outfitters (up to 25.8% off), as well as fast fashion giants Forever 21 (up to 31% off) and H&M (up to 34.48% off). And for the shoe lover, be sure to add an Aldo gift card (up to 23.17% off).

For the sports & recreation grad

gas (1)Summertime means pick-up games in the park, outdoor adventures with friends and extra time to practice their swing—whether on a golf course or in the batting cages. Give them discounted gift cards to Dick’s Sporting Goods (up to 13% off); Eastern Mountain Sports (up to 11% off) or Just Sports (up to 45.69% off) and they can buy sportswear, gear, new kicks, and more.

For the introvert/extrovert grad

gas (3) Some teens prefer staying home on summer nights playing video games and searching for their next favorite indie tune. They’ll likely love a discount gift card for GameStop (up to 8.09% off) or iTunes (up to 7.3% off).

Other kids are almost always on the go. They’ll appreciate something to help fill up their tank (and snag snacks for the road), like discount gift cards for gas stations such as Chevron (up to 6.19% off) or Speedway (up to 11.02% off).

You can also treat your going-out grad to cheap gift cards for entertainment venues like AMC Theaters (up to 17.8% off), Regal Entertainment (up to 15.5% off) and not-your-father’s video arcade Game Works (up to 12.8% off).

And what’s a night out without food? Teens love the big subs from Firehouse Subs (up to 17.8% off) and Jersey Mike’s (up to 12.2% off) and the classic, steam-grilled, 2×2-inch 100% beef patties at White Castle (up to 32.75% off). For a sit-down restaurant meal, California Pizza Kitchen (up to 23.8% off) and Chilis are good bets. And don’t forget the ice cream: order a Ben and Jerry’s discount gift card for up to 15% off or a Cold Stone Creamery card for up to 45.68% off.

For the college-bound grad

college bound (2)Summer won’t be around forever, and lots of high school grads are already thinking about starting college in September. Help them buy a new computer or modem with discount gift cards to Best Buy (up to 1.75% off) or Staples (up to 5.35% off). Your budding artist grad on her way to RISD would love a gift card to Blick Art Materials (up to 12.8% off). And don’t forget the coffee (and lots of it!) Think Starbucks (up to 3.3% off).

Gift card deals for college graduates

While college graduates would likely appreciate many of our gift card suggestions for high school graduates, we also know that college grads often have different priorities. After the senior week events and the packing up and final goodbyes to roommates, their minds inevitably turn to what now? Whether it’s a summer internship in the city or a road trip to see the country, finding a new home or returning home, here are a few more suggestions that college graduates will really appreciate.

For the grad with a J-O-B

grad with jobThese grads had their first job lined up before they even finished their summer internship. They’ve signed a lease on their first apartment and are ready to jump into adulthood (actually, they were ready when they were college Freshmen!)

For these grads, buy discounted gift cards to help them build their work wardrobes at places like Ann Taylor (up to 26.87% off), Macy’s (up to 5.2% off) or Bloomingdales (up to 7.2% off).  

Studies show employees who exhibit good grooming get paid more than their slovenly colleagues. Buy your grad cheap gift cards to The Art of Shaving (up to 23.65% off) and Ulta (up to 11.8% off).  

For the Grad with a pad

grads for homeHelp them ditch the futon and buy a real bed at IKEA (up to 4.2% off) and new bed linens at Bed Bath & Beyond (up to 7.37% off).

For the grad with wanderlust

travel at a discountMany grads want to hit the road or travel to some far-flung destination before settling down to start a career. Treat these grads to discount gifts cards for Southwest Airlines (up to 2.5% off); American Airlines (up to 3.75% off), or a gas card to Sunoco (up to 9.48% off). Or buy them a discount gift card for Tumi (up to 13.6% off), top quality maker of luggage that will last for a lifetime of trips. After all, wanderlust rarely stops at age 23.

Rachel is a marketing genius and a gift card fanatic. She is known throughout CardCash for her fantastic homemade chocolate chip cookies and also secretly loves deep sea fishing.

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