How to Make College Graduation Special and Memorable for Your Son or Daughter on a Budget: Graduation Day Tips and Ideas for Parents

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Your child's college graduation is an important milestone because she is preparing to enter the workforce and pursue her lifelong dreams. However, if you are living on a tight budget, holding a special celebration for your graduate becomes challenging. As you plan the party, find out what your daughter wants and then build on that. Also, recruit relatives and friends to help plan the party.

Hold the celebration at your home. Instead of hiring a caterer, ask relatives and friends who are good cooks to contribute their signature dishes to the party. Instead of hiring a DJ, use your home stereo and play the graduate's favorite CDs. Find inexpensive decorations from local party supplies stores, discount chains and dollar stores that fit the party's theme. As for invitations, you can send e-invites to loved ones; if they do not have computers, you can call and invite them to the celebration.

Give homemade gifts to the graduate. For example, if the graduate just accepted a job offer at city hall and you are an artist, create a large canvas picture that features your daughter walking in the hallway and greeting her co-workers before they head to their offices. Or if your child enjoys cooking, give her a personalized collection of your favorite recipes as a gift. This book could include recipes you cooked for her when she was a child, and you can also ask other relatives to contribute their recipes — making this gift a very thoughtful and special family memento that she will treasure for many years.

Create your own games. For example, if the graduate's party has a James Bond theme, play a few trivia games in which the people guess answers to James Bond-related questions and win prizes. You can also include enjoyable outdoor sports, such as football, basketball and baseball; swimming is another good option.