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How Much Should a Grandparent Give for High School Graduation

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The relationship between a grandparent and a grandchild is truly a special one. It’s unlike any other a child will ever have in their entire life. This means most grandparents want to do the right thing and make their grandchild’s special day even more special. So, you might be wondering how much should a grandparent give for high school graduation? The answer is going to depend on a couple of things such as your personal situation and relationship with your grandchild.

How Much Should a Grandparent Give for High School Graduation

The quick answer when it comes to how much of a money gift you should give is between $20 and $50 dollars.

That’s the average grandparents typically give, but there really is more you should consider before pulling your checkbook out to make a monetary gift for your grandchild’s high school graduation.

Read on to find out what the right amount is for you…

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1. How Many Grandchildren You Have

When you have your first grandchild you may go a little overboard with the gifts and the money.

That’s only natural. You are excited and you shouldn’t be.

Financial gifts aren’t too difficult to give because you only have one grandchild to give them to.

The problem is when you start having many grandchildren.

For example, let’s say you have three children and all three of your children have three children.

All of a sudden you have nine grandchildren and they’re probably going to be around the same age.

That means when graduation day rolls around you could have two or three or four or even more graduate in the same year.

If you find yourself in this situation determining how much money you should give to each child can be difficult.

Chances are unless you’re very financially secure you’ll need to cut back on the amount.

Maybe go with the $20 each instead of the $50

You might even want to forgo the financial gifts and give something homemade or something you can buy for less money. 

This is especially true if you are a fixed income.

Keep in mind if you have more than one grandchild and they’re all about to graduate from high school you’ll be expected to give all of them the same amount.

The last thing you want is to look like you’re playing favorites.

So if you decide to give them $50 or $100 or more you’re going to have to pony up that amount for all of them.

That’s fine if you can afford it but if you can’t you’re going to find yourself in a difficult situation.

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2. Your Disposable Income

This goes hand-in-hand with the last point.

You need to take into consideration your disposable income.

If you have a lot of it then you can be more generous and feel good about that.

If you don’t have a lot of disposable income or you are on a fixed income, you really don’t want to put yourself in a position where you’re going to hurt your personal budget by giving too much.

While your family and children may not know your exact financial status they should have a pretty good idea.

And if you’re living on a tight budget they will know that and they won’t expect you to give too much.

This is where “the thought is what counts” comes into play.

I know for myself my grandmother wouldn’t have given me much of anything and that was fine. 

For my birthday she was one of those Grandma’s who sent a card with $2 in it.

I always appreciated it because it was the thought that mattered.

She and my grandfather did live a modest life, so it would have never occurred to me to expect a large high school graduation gift.

Hopefully, your grandchildren will appreciate your thoughts as well much more than the monetary gift that you’re giving.

The point is you don’t want to set aside your own financial goals and your financial needs to be too generous to your grandchildren.

Give within your means and leave it at that.

3. Your Grandchild’s Plans

Something else you might want to think about before you pull out your checkbook is what your grandchild is planning to do once they graduate.

Are they going to college?

Are they going out and looking for a job?

Are they moving out on their own and will be paying their own expenses?

If you have the money it makes more sense to give more if your grandchild is heading out into the Big Wide World to try to make it on their own.

If they’re going to college, sure they can always use some extra cash but chances are their folks are paying for their tuition and books and supplies so they may not need as much as a grandchild that’s trying to set up their own apartment or start a family or get a job without a college education.

A grandchild that is moving into their own place will need furniture, kitchen supplies, and much more, so a larger financial gift will really help them out.

So, give some thought about what your grandchild’s next steps are and give according to them and your ability.

4. Cultural Expectations

Depending on your cultural heritage you may have certain expectations when it comes to gift-giving in general and specifically for a high school graduation gift.

You want to think about those expectations before you decide what to give.

Growing up in the midwest in a farming community as I did, I come from a background of giving small gifts or homemade items or $10 bills.

My grandparents lived through the depression, so spending money was done grudgingly.

Depending on your background and your grandchild’s background that could be very different.

These expectations shouldn’t be your final decision maker, but you do want to think about them and how they should affect your gift-giving decision.

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5. Family Expectations

This is similar to cultural expectations.

Some families give large gifts and expect others to give large gifts as well.

You will see this by what is given for holiday gifts or birthday gifts.

If your family is one that gives large and substantial amounts of cash for other gifts then you’re going to have to consider doing the same if you can afford it.

It’s a shame that a family should have these expectations but you know how it goes. 

People can get really bent out of shape if you don’t do what they think you should do.

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Grandparent Gift-Giving Etiquette

Before you decide what to do, determine if giving a cash gift is even the right option for you.

When it comes to grandparent gift-giving etiquette you need to not worry about what everybody else in the world is doing and decide how you want to celebrate and support your grandchild.

If that’s giving money then great.

If that’s making the perfect gift yourself that’s fantastic too.

While etiquette may have some rules they’re not hard and fast. 

They’re not set in stone.

In the end, you need to think about your income, your relationship with your grandchild, what your grandchild plans to do in their future after graduation, and your own personal financial situation.

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To Sum it All Up:

Yes, the average gift is $20 to $50, but that may not be the right amount for you. Do what feels right. If in doubt, talk to your child and see what they feel is the right gift or the right amount of money. Then go back and check your own financial situation and then give accordingly, and don’t forget it truly is the thought that counts.

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