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May 21, 2021, 3:13 p.m. EDT

12 great gifts for college grads under $25 — that you can get last minute

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By Trae Bodge

MarketWatch has highlighted these products and services because we think readers will find them useful. We may earn a commission if you buy products through our links, but our recommendations are independent of any compensation that we may receive. Whether they are heading back to school, starting their first office job, planning a trip, or moving into a new pad, these 12 gifts will help the college grad in your life start a new chapter in their life. Added bonus: All gifts cost $25 or less and have either expedited shipping or in-store pickup so you can be sure to get the gift to the grad on time.

For the grad you want to inspire: Make Your Bed: Little Things That Can Change Your Life…And Maybe the World ($12.70 on Amazon)

This New York Times best-seller, inspired by a four-star admiral and Navy SEAL’s now viral commencement speech to University of Texas at Austin grads, is a huge hit among both readers (on Amazon it has already racked up more than 19,000 reviews averaging 4.7 stars) and critics. The Wall Street Journal, which is owned by the same parent company as MarketWatch, says this book “should be read by every leader in America,” noting that it is a book “to inspire your children and grandchildren to become everything that they can” and “will leave you with tears in your eyes.” – Buy on Barnes & Noble (you can buy online and pick up in store) – Buy on Amazon

1,000 Places to See Before You Die, $13.50 on Amazon

From Morocco’s Atlas Mountains to Sri Lanka’s Hill Country to a sunrise balloon safari over the Masai Mara, this classic book, a New York Times bestseller, showcases the most beautiful and inspiring trips of a lifetime. Newsweek writes of this book: It “tells you what’s beautiful, what’s fun, and what’s just unforgettable—everywhere on earth.” – Buy on Barnes & NobleBuy on Amazon

For the grad who landed a job: 

Noted by Post-it Brand Office Essentials Set ($16.99 on Amazon):

Even the most tech-savvy grad might want to jot down a handwritten note or two to themselves in their new job. This simple set, perfect for your first job, includes a notebook, sticky notes, and slim felt-tip pens, all beautifully designed to look great on a desk. Buy on Amazon.

Quartet Glass Dry-Erase Desktop Computer Pad ($18.99 in white on Amazon):

This clever and stylish desktop accessory offers a dry erase surface for writing reminders while storing sticky notes, markers and pens, and supplies for easy access. – Buy on Staples – Buy on Walmart

U-Konserve Nesting Trio ($24.95 on Amazon):

Getting takeout at the spot near their new job will be tempting. And expensive. Encourage grads to save money and bring lunch from home with these reusable, nesting, stainless steel cups. Better for the environment, and their wallet . Buy on Amazon

Solo Re:focus Laptop Sleeve ($24.99 on Amazon) :

If the thought of that pricey laptop bouncing around in their bag is making you cringe, this protective laptop sleeve will help you rest easy. It accommodates laptops up to 15.6” and is eco-friendly and made from recycled bottles. – Buy on Office Depot (in-store, same-day pickup is available) – Buy on Amazon

For the grad who’s planning to travel: Travel Security Money Belt ($19.95 on Amazon)

If they’re planning on hitting the road before college, this is a practical gift worth giving. Designed to keep your cash safe from pickpocketing, this unisex nylon belt looks like a regular belt, but comes with a tiny interior pocket for stowing extra cash. Grads can easily change out the buckle too if it’s not their style. – Buy on Walmart – Buy on Amazon

Stanley IceFlow Flip Straw Tumbler ($23 at Amazon) :

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