This is a really tough question. There’s no rule of thumb and there’s no right or wrong answer. The amount of money you give as a gift depends on a few things:
- Your relationship to the grad and how well you know them. Are you a close relative or just an acquaintance? Close relatives typically give more than friends or neighbors. But then close friends and close neighbors may give more than other friends or neighbors.
- Where you live. The state, city or even neighborhood you live in may influence how much money you give. What some people in some cities or neighborhoods give may be more or less than what some people in other cities or neighborhoods give. Ask your friends what they usually do. You don’t have to give the same amount but at least it will give you an idea of what other people do.
- How many graduation parties are you invited to. If you’re invited to one graduation party then you may be able to give a little more than if you’re invited to 5 or 6 graduation parties. Don’t feel obligated to give the same amount to each grad. If you are closer to one grad than another then it’s okay to give more to the first.
A cute idea is to write a check for the graduation year. So if the grad is graduating in 2011, you can write the check for $20.11.
The most important thing is to only give what you can afford. The grad will appreciate your gift no matter what. If you can’t afford to give money that’s okay too. Buy a nice card and write a heartfelt congratulatory message on the inside. Or perhaps you can find an inexpensive gift you know the grad will like. Check out the graduation gift ideas at GraduationParty.com.
If you’re going to a joint graduation party for two or more grads but you only know one person don’t feel obligated to bring a gift or card for the grad(s) you don’t know. There will probably be a card box or gift table for each grad so you can simply put your card in the box for the person you know.