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29 Graduation Gifts on Amazon Under $40 That Are Almost Too Good to Be True


You can find virtually anything on Amazon, including some of the best graduation gifts. The online retailer has a wide selection of everything a new grad could need, ranging from items they can use while they settle into their new dorm to things that will help them figure out their life post-college

Earning a degree is something to be celebrated, regardless of whether it’s high school, college, or graduate school, so you may as well pull out all the stops to make your new graduate feel special. The best part about looking for the best graduation gifts on Amazon?  Gifts don’t have to be pricey — a celebratory bouquet of flowers or a handwritten card will be greatly appreciated. Amazon or not, you don’t have to spend more than $40 to get the recent graduate in your life something they’ll adore. 

For those who are last-minute shoppers, there’s also an added bonus: you can rest assured knowing most gifts on Amazon Prime will speedily arrive in two days. So, if you’re looking to send the graduate something they’ll use for years to come, Teen Vogue has searched high and low through Amazon to find the best graduation gifts under $40.

Kindle Unlimited Subscription 

Instead of gifting the graduate in your life a single book, why not opt for thousands of books? With a subscription to Kindle Unlimited, they’ll have access to all the books they can possibly imagine without the need to lug around all those heavy copies. Pro tip: though it’s certainly the easiest option, they won’t need a Kindle to access the subscription as it can be used from any device —including laptops, tablets, and smartphones. It’s a win all around for the book lovers, don’t you think? 

Homesick Candle

A candle that smells like home is a great pick-me-up for those who are feeling homesick in their new apartment or dorm room at college. With scents ranging from their college state to their home state, this thoughtful gift will remind them that their favorite place is just a short distance away.

Mini Projector

A smartphone projector is a surefire way for graduates to make friends in their new college dorm. They can host a small get-together movie night for a few of their friends or project the latest episode from their favorite show in the common room for everyone to see. Since this projector can connect to any device, it’s simple to transport and use anywhere. Just add some popcorn and snacks for a fun bonding night!

String Lights

Truth be told: It seems like every college student is obsessed with string lights as dorm décor, so chances are your new grad will be too! At least, it’ll give their room a nice, warm glow for a cozy ambiance.

Twinkle Star 300 LED Window Curtain String Light

Coffee Maker

While you can’t stop them from spending $$$ on Starbucks, you can offer them the opportunity to save some money by making their own cold brew coffee at home or in their dorm room. Need we say more? (If not, you can always give them a reusable tumbler!)

OXO Brew Compact Cold Brew Coffee Maker

Bala Resistance Bands

If you’re looking for a gift for an athletic graduate, the Bala Bangles resistance bands are the way to go. In addition to being water-resistant, the set arrives with five bands of different resistances and is ideal for getting a workout done in small spaces — like a dorm room or an apartment. Warning: the design is so cute, their roommate may just try to “borrow” them.

Weighted Blanket

Starting college or a new career can be a bit daunting for anyone, and weighted blankets are a way to destress. This cozy oasis distributes the perfect amount of weight — 15 pounds, to be exact — and will allow them to lie down, unwind, and take in all the changes happening around them. Whether you’re gifting it to a soon-to-be college student or a grad ready to start their life, know that it also doubles as a great home décor piece.

Weighted Blanket Queen Size

Gold Colored Hoop Earrings

These are not any hoops. They’re TikTok-viral and perfect for literally every outfit — enough said. 

Air Fryer

When it comes to gifting affordable kitchen gadgets, you can’t go wrong with an air fryer for college grads. This air fryer will give them the ability to make tons of delicious recipes (TikTok has sooo many!) in one easy-to-use gadget. Arguably the best part about it is that it can also easily fit inside their new shoe-boxed sized apartment as it doesn’t take up too much space.

Dash Tasti-Crisp™ Electric Air Fryer

Amazon Explore Experience

If you’re looking for a unique gift for someone who wants to learn how to cook or learn new recipes, look no further. The Amazon Explore experience has a wide range of personalized 1-on-1 classes that will teach them how to cook anything from empanadas to gnocchi to homemade tacos and tortillas. Their new skills will come in handy when they don’t love the dining hall food or want to cook a meal in their apartment. Plus, they’ll be thanking you when they ~actually~ know how to cook more than just ramen noodles.

Amazon Explore Experience

Cookbook

A cookbook may be an affordable gift, but it’ll definitely be one of their most used. The graduate heading to college will adore an easy-to-use cookbook with affordable recipes for college life whereas the college graduate will need a lifetime staple. In other words, something that’s tried and trued — like this New York Times No Recipe Cookbook. 

The New York Times Cooking No-Recipe Recipes: A Cookbook

Cast Iron Skillet

Cast iron skillets are game-changers for new apartments. It’s a do-it-all cooking pan and can be used to sauté, bake, broil, braise, fry, and grill, which is why your college graduate who loves to cook certainly already has this gift on their present list.

Lodge Pre-Seasoned Cast Iron Skillet

Gift Cards

An Amazon gift card is always a great go-to gift when you don’t know what to get people. Since they’re probably already using your Amazon Prime account (even though they should consider opening a Prime Student account for themselves), at least with a gift card they won’t be using your credit card, too. Amazon gift cards can be used for basically anything. If they aren’t Amazon fans though, a gift card to Visa, Starbucks, Uber, or Airbnb will definitely be appreciated, too.

Photo Album

Although they may have already attended their high school or college graduation, the memories of the last four years will remain with them if you gift the polaroid-lover in your life this Fujifilm photo album. It’s one of our favorite graduation gift ideas as the grad can place snapshots of their favorite college or high school memories. Warning: make sure they leave some empty pages so they can continue adding more memories to it. And maybe throw in some extra packs of film, too. 

Ablus 288 Pockets Photo Album for Fujifilm Instax Mini

Amazon Echo Dot

Want the perfect gift for college students? Try Amazon’s Echo Dot. Acting as a speaker, it allows them to blast their favorite jams (for impromptu dance parties, of course) and ask important questions like what the weather is so they don’t accidentally ruin the laptop in their backpack in the pouring rain. Plus, it’ll come in handy post-college as they can connect it to their smart doorbell, lights, and thermostat in their apartment and control them from their bedroom.

Journal 

Who isn’t obsessed with manifesting their life goals? If they’re looking to lay out what they want to achieve, this journal will be their favorite addition.

A Year of Mindfulness: A 52-Week Guided Journal

Pajama Set

Simply put: You can’t go wrong with a cozy set of pajamas as a gift. A set is high on our list of gift ideas because one can never have too many pajamas — and more than likely, they probably need a new pair.

Asvivid Tie Dye Lounge Set

Portable Battery Charger

The graduate whose phone is always dead (regardless of the day or time) will finally have a way to keep their battery full while on the go.

Bedding

Let’s be real: bedding is essential for life in college and post-college. While giving a cozy feel to their college dorm room or apartment décor, it’ll also upgrade their highly-coveted hours spent sleeping. This affordable, down-alternative comforter and a microfiber sheet set come highly rated with thousands of positive reviews on Amazon.

Amazon Basics Full/Queen Down Alternative Bed Comforter

Desk Organizer

This small-but-mighty desk organizer will act as a way to keep their desk (and, let’s be honest, life) organized during or post-college. It has six differently sized compartments and can hold pens, pencils, papers, supplies, and more. If you want to really ramp up their organizing efforts, you can get them this adorable daily planner, too. Keeping yourself organized is crucial while working from home or studying from your dorm after all!

Rosework Rose Gold Desk Organizer

Alarm Clock Charger

Not enough outlet space in their new apartment or dorm room? Not a problem thanks to this alarm clock charger. Built with a beautiful, wooden finish, this alarm clock has a super handy charging base on the top. They won’t be late for important meetings or classes and will always have their phone fully charged without sacrificing any outlet space.

MOSITO Digital Wooden Alarm Clock with Wireless Charging

Wall Photo Collage

No dorm wall décor is complete without a hanging photo collage for the wall. Print out some of their favorite photos to really make the gift a home run.

Emfogo Collage Picture Frames

Tool Box Set

While the graduate may not be great at fixing things, some tasks like hammering nails for photo frames in their new apartment and screwing things into place can be easily achieved with an easy-to-use toolset.

Cartman 148Piece Tool Set

College Décor and Apparel

Whether they want to head to university or showcase school spirit post-college, the college apparel and decor opportunities are endless. Some of our favorites include collegiate triangle flags, which can fit on small dorm or apartment walls, and school-logo branded sweatshirts because you never have too many.

Campus Colors Adult Arch & Logo Gameday Crewneck Sweatshirt

Business Card Holder

Here’s the situation: they’re fresh out of college, looking to stay connected with their professors (who aren’t social media savvy) while searching endlessly for a job. Sometimes that calls for business cards. That’s where this wallet-turned-business-card-holder will come in handy. Its small, compact size allows them to throw it in their purse, briefcase, or backpack easily and ensures that their precious networking tool doesn’t get wet or wrinkled.

MaxGear RFID Credit Card Holder

A Tile 

For the graduate who always loses everything (you know the one!), a Tile will be a life-saver. They just need to attach it to their wallet, keys, or any other important item and can track where they left it using the app or a computer. It’ll even play a helpful sound when they ping it.

An Amazon Fire Stick

Those moving into a new apartment or dorm with a TV will adore receiving an Amazon Fire Stick. All they need to do is connect it to their TV to have access to all their favorite streaming services (like Netflix, Hulu, HBO Max, and more). It’s a perfect solution if they don’t have the $$$ to buy a brand new smart TV.

Fire TV Stick 4K streaming device

A Passport Holder

If they’re planning to travel post-college, a handy dandy passport holder will help them keep their most important document safe and sound.

Passport and Vaccine Card Holder Combo

A Diffuser 

Making their apartment or dorm smell good should be a top priority, which is where this delicious-smelling diffuser comes in. It’s easy to maintain and will make the world of difference in keeping their space smelling good.

Aromacare Essential Oil Diffuser

A Box of Candy

For the graduate with the sweet tooth, you might want to consider snagging them some of their favorite candy. This box from Sugarfina is perfect!

Sugarfina Congrats 3 Piece Candy Bento Box

A Weekend Bag 

While they probably won’t get too homesick, it’s always nice to have the option to visit home if they need it. Get them this weekend bag in case they decide they need a little R&R in their own room for the weekend.

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