Graduation Expense Breakdown
What to Expect when Your High School Student Graduates

High school graduation is a major milestone. Depending on how you celebrate, graduation can also be a major expense. Graduation costs often get overlooked when budgeting. Speedy Cash has provided a breakdown of expenses you can expect to incur when your high school student graduates, along with budgeting “dos and don’ts.”

Announcements: $50-250

Figure out exactly how many announcements you want to send out and then order 25-50 extra. It may seem like an unnecessary cost up front, but it will save you a re-ordering cost once you remember distant relatives or friends that you’ve forgotten. Increasing your order amount can also get you a lower cost per unit from most vendors. Look into cheap online announcement options like Vistaprint or Tinyprints. Also, try to buy thank you notes at the same time to get a bulk discount.

Cap and Gown: $25-50

Contact the company your school recommends using for caps and gowns. Many have rental options that will bring the cost down tremendously. If you can’t find rentals, try and sell your cap and gown after graduation to make some money back.

Diploma & Transcript fees: $25-100

These fees are hard to get around as they cover the school’s costs. Try talking to the school administrator to work out a payment plan or get a price break.

Senior Pictures: $100-1,000

By the time May rolls around this expense is usually over, but if you haven’t booked senior pictures yet, do so as soon as possible. Look into amateur photographers who take photos as a hobby. Lots of amateurs are very good, they cost less than professionals, and they have more flexible schedules. Make sure the package you choose is the most cost-effective option. It’s best in a time crunch to get digital copies that you can print on your own at a discount printer.

Party: $100 +

If you choose to throw a party to celebrate, budget wisely. Invitations, food, decorations, and entertainment can add up quickly. Go simple and focus on the celebration, not the food or decorations. Another way to off-set the cost is to have a joint party. Share the cost by celebrating several graduates with one party.

Learn other ways to throw a party on a budget.

Gifts: $5 +

It’s tradition to congratulate a graduate with a gift. While giving money is the norm, it’s not the only gift of worth you can give. Try giving your knowledge and advice in a well-thought card and homemade package of baked goods.

Find more cost-effective gift ideas.

Total cost for high school graduation can average around $1,000 depending on how you plan and on what you choose to spend the most money. All of these costs can be lowered with a little preparation and knowledge!

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