How Much Money to Give for High School Graduation

How Much Money to Give for High School Graduation

Last Updated on April 21, 2024 by Kimberlee Johnson

Obtaining a high school diploma is a significant accomplishment deserving of celebration. However, it’s vital to take into account numerous factors when deciding to gift money for such an occasion.

With this, our team spent 36 hours researching how much money you should give for a high school graduation gift, so you don’t go overboard.

Monetary Gifts As High School Grad Gift

Monetary Gifts As High School Grad Gift

Money can be one of the best gifts you can give to high school students on their graduation day. Graduates may have big plans after graduation, and your cash gifts can greatly contribute to this. The monetary gifts they will receive can be used to save, invest and pay off student and personal loans. 

In addition, high school graduates may prefer cash over other gifts because the money can help them as they enter college. High school students will enter a new life in college, and they should start practicing to manage their personal finances.

People wonder how much cash you should give for high school graduation, so we listed below the several factors you may consider when giving a monetary gift. 

Things To Consider 

Things To Consider 

Your Budget Range

When giving a cash gift at a high school graduation, your budget is the first thing you must consider. Most people spend more money if they have more money to spend [1], but what if you live from paycheck to paycheck? 

If you are on a tight budget, you can give a cash gift between $10 – $50, but if you prefer to give a little more, you can give as high as $200. However, keep in mind that you should spend what you can afford and consider your relationship with the high school grads. But how much should you give your neighbor for high school graduation?

Your Income


Aside from taking into account your budget range, it would be best to consider your income when giving cash as a graduation gift because you should spend within your means. There are people with fixed incomes and are normally dependent on one job. If you are dependent on one fixed income, you can give an average of $25 – $75 as a graduation gift. 

On the other hand, giving at least $50 – $75 can be ideal if you have a disposable income. Disposable income is the portion of income that remains after deducting necessary expenses [2]. If it wouldn’t hurt your budget and you have some money to spare, $50 – $75 will not be a big deal.   

Your Relationship With The Graduate

Your Relationship With The Graduate


After receiving a graduation announcement from your acquaintance, it is important to remember that the announcement is not an invitation. 

In normal circumstances, no gift or cash is necessary; however, we think that a cash gift from around $10 – $15 would be enough. It is a small gift for friends, and it is not offensive nor uncomfortable to gift since you are acquainted. 


Friends of a high school graduate are normally in the same age bracket; therefore, they do not have much money to spare. Your close friend will understand that when it comes to cash, you may be probably in the same boat, so giving $10 – $15 as a high school graduation gift is acceptable. After all, close friends will not expect you to break the bank over high school graduation gifts.  

Distant Relative

Distant Relative

Graduating high school is a once-in-a-lifetime event; however, you should not go overboard when giving graduation gifts, especially if you are distant relatives. Given that you are a distant relative, you might be close enough to the high school graduate, so a cash gift that ranges from $50 – $100 can be a standard gift amount. However, if you are not that close, the right gift ranges between $30 – $60. 

Nephew or Niece

Nieces and nephews usually have a closer bond to aunts and uncles, given that they are part of their parents’ age group. The amount you will give should be higher than what you should give to a friend, but of course, it should depend on your closeness to the graduate. Close relatives can go $80 – $120, and you can send them other high school graduation gifts aside from the cash gift. But is there a way to celebrate high school graduation without a party


Immediate family members like siblings have an obviously closer relationship with the high school graduate, so expectations are typically higher.

If the close family member is in the same age bracket as the graduate, you can give at least $50 – $75; however, if you are an older member of the immediate family, you can give anything that ranges from $100 – $150. 


Parents normally take the crown when it comes to cash gifts for high school graduation. The standard graduation cash gift for your son or daughter ranges from $150 to $300. It can also be a gift from the whole family in preparation for their college life. 

However, $100 – $150 is a good monetary present for a high school graduate if you are on a tight budget. The amount would be enough for them to buy dorm supplies as they enter college. But is $1000 a good graduation gift?



Grandparents enjoy a close connection to the graduate, so it is often reflected in the cash gift they give on their grandkid’s high school graduation. Grandparents usually give money, but since the graduation ceremony is a once-in-a-lifetime event, it makes sense that the price will be higher.

It would be ideal to send cash gifts between $100- $150, but we recommend giving a lower amount than the parents to avoid comparison.   

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5 Etiquettes In Giving Money As A High School Grad Gift

5 Etiquettes In Giving Money As A High School Grad Gift

1. Put The Money In An Envelope

Putting the money in an envelope is the most common way of giving monetary presents because it gives security and privacy. If you plan to hand it over personally to the graduate, it would be best to put it in an envelope so it will not be that awkward. 

It will also be ideal to put the money in an envelope if you plan to give it to their graduation party so they can manage to recall who gave it to them after the celebration. 

2. Hand-Deliver It

Hand-delivered cash gifts can be a great way to express your joy at their graduation. While other trust postal services in sending gifts, postal services highly discourage sending cash via mail. 

In addition, it is a great opportunity to congratulate them on their high school graduation ceremony personally. If you plan on attending graduation parties, hand-deliver your monetary gift so you will not come empty-handed. 

3. Tuck It In A Card

A congratulatory card will always be welcomed as a heartwarming graduation gift. If you plan on sending cash as a graduation gift for high school graduates, you can tuck the money in a congratulations card. 

You can buy or make a greeting card and pen a personalized message for the high school graduate. In addition, you can include a gift card to go along with the cash you are planning to give. It is commonly done by family, friends, parents, and grandparents of the graduate. But what do you write on a high school graduation card?

4. Don’t Go Overboard

Cuba currency

Given that high school graduation is a once-in-a-lifetime occasion, keep in mind that you should not go overboard when giving cash. The amount you should be giving can be used for a small purchase like dinner or movie tickets. In addition, there can be another opportunity to give, like in college graduation and other academic milestones. 

Sending presents like cash as high school and college graduation gifts can be easy but challenging depending on circumstances. However, it is important always to be modest when giving monetary presents to the graduate. Don’t be too “extra” unless you are the parent who wants to help them buy something. But how much do you give for a college graduation?

5. Never Disclose & Discuss The Amount

You should never disclose or discuss the amount you plan to gift on someone’s high school and college graduation. You can discuss with them that you are planning to give a little cash to the graduate but don’t disclose the amount. Some parents may not take it kindly if you disclose the gift amount. 

Read: When Will The High School Prom Happen?


How much money should you give if you already bought a gift?

You can send them at least $20 – $50 if you have already bought a graduation gift. This amount is enough to buy a movie ticket, school supplies, or pay for a nice dinner. However, keep in mind that you should not go overboard when giving monetary presents and send any amount you can afford.  

How much is the lowest amount of money should I give?

$10 is the lowest amount of money you should give in a high school graduation gift. $10 is an appropriate amount of cash gift for high school graduation.

In Summary

High school graduation is a momentous occasion that represents an end of a chapter and a beginning of a new one. Whether the plan after graduation is working right away or going to college, the momentous event needs to be celebrated with a common gift like cash.

High school graduates are mostly minors, and some of them are not financially independent, so $10 would be an ideal monetary gift for high school graduation. On the contrary, it would be great to spend an average monetary gift between $100 – $200 if you are close with a high school student and you have enough budget. 


Kimberlee Johnson
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