UNITED STATES—Graduation season is upon us people. I will note, when it comes to college graduation that ship has sailed for many as its more prevalent during the month of May, but that is not to say that a few won’t be graduating in June. However, graduations and graduation parties are in full force for younger children, middle school children and high school graduates. Which brings me to our question of the hour, what is the perfect gift to give to a graduate?

Speaking from a college graduate, money is always high up on the list. Why? With money you get to choose what you want to do with the funds that you receive. It’s like a free for all if you ask me. You really don’t get upset if someone gives you money. However, you can run into those situations where you get a gift that you may not be that ecstatic about, and you have to put on a bit of a face. Yes, I know we should all be appreciative of what we receive in life, but I’m just being honest people, and when it comes to little ones they might be the worse.

So what is the appropriate amount to give to a graduate? Well, I’m a firm believer the bigger the accomplishment, the higher the monetary amount. Of course, if someone is graduating from college and they are a close relative of mine, the bigger the gift will be. In most cases, I’m talking $100 to $500. Now, that is granted rather the person is a sibling, child, niece or nephew. When you get into the realms of uncles, aunts and cousins, that amount is lessened a bit if you ask me.

This question was posed because I have two nieces who are graduating from preschool this week, one on Thursday the other on Friday. And I must admit I was flabbergasted when my one niece told me she wanted $100 bucks as a gift, while my other niece seemed totally ambivalent to the situation. I mean the thought of me giving a preschooler $100 for graduation seems like a stretch. Let me remind you though, this is a 5 year-old who has come to learn the importance of money at an early age. She always wants it and she always wants more of it. However, I think $10-$20 for a young age child graduating is feasible. When we get to those in middle school, you can elevate the price tag to $25-$40.

High school of course, they expect bigger bucks, so I would argue $50-$200 becomes a reasonable amount. I think the emotional attachment to the accomplishment matters to. Let’s say you have a child who has been fighting tooth and nail to graduate it means something to the recipient and the person delivering the gift. For me, when it came to obtaining my undergraduate degree it was something I completed all on my own by working multiple jobs and making personal sacrifices. So you want to amplify the monetary value for those who are able to do so.

I would like to point out, do not feel compelled to give more than you can give. You can only do what you can do, don’t aim to out gift someone or break the bank to do something that quite frankly you just can’t afford. You have to remember that graduates are likely to get tons of gifts from plenty of people. As a result, those funds will quickly add up. There have been rumblings rather you should always give a gift if you are attending a house warming party.

My answer to that question is yes! I think this is so important for the college graduates and those who are graduating from high school and heading to college. I mean college is expensive people, and I know so many people who had housewarming parties, but people didn’t bring a gift, they just came to eat, like seriously who does that. The least you can do is bring something the kid can use for their dorm or purchase books or what not.

And while the bulk of this conversation has been centered on money, if money is not your gift of choice, ask the graduate what they want and aim to try to make that happen. Sometimes a piece of clothing, an electronic device or something more personalized is what the graduate wants. It might put a bigger smile on their face than you expected.