Tipping is a tricky subject - and never more so around the holidays, especially this year, with the economy still dragging. These pointers will let you know how much ca$h to fork over for whom, and when it's okay to show your appreciation with a warm batch of cookies.
By Gabrielle Frank
Rule #1: Who You Should Shell Out For, and How Much
Anyone you deal with on a regular basis - such as your hairdresser, personal trainer, cleaning person, and package delivery guy. The right amount should equal what you ordinarily pay them per appointment or visit. For example, if you usually shell out $50 for a wax, that should be your end-of-the-year tip to your waxer.
If you're going through lean times this year and can't afford to give your stylist $200, the price of your usual cut and color, tip what your paycheck allows but include a note that says something along the lines of "your service is just as great as last year, unfortunately my paycheck is not."Related: 12 Ways To Save Money Fast
Rule #2: Sometimes Cash Isn't Appropriate
Keep in mind that people who hold certain jobs are barred from accepting a gift over $20 or money at all-think mail carriers, nursing-home workers, and doctors. The easy solution? A $20 gift card to Starbucks or iTunes. A batch of homemade cookies will also show your gratitude.
Rule #3: Recognize the Behind-The-Scenes Workers
Don't forget people you may not interact with regularly or even see at all, but who keep your life running smooth, like your super or handyman. (If you do, they might take a bit longer to fix your overflowing toilet or broken refrigerator in 2011). Newspaper deliverers, the pet sitter you use a few times a year, and the masseuse you visit on occasion-they all fall into this category as well. Send these folks a card with a small amount of cash, like $20.
Rule #4: When Dining Out on a Holiday, Tip More
People get rowdy, drunk, and inappropriate around the holidays-especially New Year's Eve. Show your waiter or the pizza delivery guy some compassion and at the very least tip 20 percent. (You should normally be tipping these people at least 15 percent anyway.)
Rule #5: Money Isn't Everything
It really is the thought that counts, so if you can't afford to tip cash this year, go with food, alcohol, or even flowers; a $20 bottle of California Red, a festively wrapped box of homemade sweets, or chocolates from a high-end gourmet shop will do the trick. The important part is that you recognize the job that these people do and that they're helping you in some way. Around the holidays, showing your appreciation, whatever form it may take, will always be accepted with good cheer.
SOURCE: Steve Dublanica, author of Keep The Change: A Clueless Tipper's Quest to Become the Guru of the Gratuity
- 8 Things Men Notice About You Instantly
- 10 Things You Don't Know About Kissing
- 30 Sexy Things to Do Before Sex
- Why Guys Dump Girls They Dig
- How to Decode His Body Language