If you want to give a graduation gift that is always appreciated, give cash. If you want to give a gift that will help your graduate save cash, though, you will need to give it a little more thought. Here are five not-so-obvious options:
An Instant Pot
The Instant Pot takes the place of a bunch of other appliances, a huge plus for tiny apartments. The starter version (about $79) is a pressure cooker, slow cooker, rice cooker, sauté pan, steamer and warmer. More expensive versions add functions, allowing you to make your own yogurt, bake a cake and sterilize stuff.
If your new graduate’s car is a jalopy, roadside assistance can help ensure he or she is not stranded in the middle of nowhere. It generally covers things like fixing a flat, starting a battery, opening the car if the keys are locked inside, delivering gas, and towing the car to a repair shop. Basic roadside assistance coverage typically costs $40 to $60 per year by itself, but it comes standard with some new-car warranties.
WeMo smart plugs
Again, save money and the environment: Put lights, electronics and appliances on timers. WeMo plugs ($30 to $40) are inserted into regular outlets and controlled via a smartphone app (or by voice, if the user has a digital assistant such as the Amazon Echo or Google Home). In addition to setting up schedules, these plugs can be turned off and on remotely or at random (with an “away” mode designed to confuse potential intruders).
Help your graduate save a ton of money, as well as the environment, by making carbonated beverages easily at home. Starter kits cost around $80 for the dispenser, soda bottles and coupon or rebate for the carbonator cylinder. You also can buy special syrups to create various soft drink flavors, but the sparkling water is lovely on its own.
Stainless steel bottles
Upgrade your graduate from the cheap plastic giveaways he or she has been using to the adult version: insulated bottles that can be used for hot beverages or cold. Klean Kanteens are a great option, with different tops to use as coffee mugs or water bottles. The bottles cost about $30, while the tops are $8 and $6, respectively.