Holiday Tipping Guide: How Much Do I Pay?

By Deborah Goldstein
Who should you tip each December? And how much? While you might be on a tight budget (like the rest of the country), a gift or cash equivalent shows your appreciation better than just a thank you. Don't be a Scrooge. When you create your holiday shopping list or budget, remember to include the following.

Hairstylist, Barber, Manicurist: Tip the cost of one haircut or manicure if you visit regularly. If more than one person works with you, divide the cost into separate cash tips or gifts for each. If the owner of the salon or barbershop usually works with you, he or she may refuse your tip, but it's still nice to offer one.

Housekeeper: Tip the cost of one cleaning in cash or as a gift. If your cleaning service routinely sends different people, you don't need to tip each one.

Mail Carrier: Give a small gift up to a $20 value only (no cash), according to the U.S. Postal Service rules.

Work Assistant: Tip $50 or more (or give a gift equivalent to that amount) depending on your title, how long he or she has been with you, and if he or she regularly goes above and beyond.

Babysitter: For a babysitter you use regularly, tip one evening's pay.

Full-Time Babysitter or Nanny: Spend one week to one month's pay, plus a small gift from your child. If he or she has been with you for years, consider tipping closer to one month's pay.

Daycare Provider: Spend $25 to $75, plus a small gift from your child, on each staff member who cares for your child. If there are several, you can tip on the lower end of the scale for each.

School Teacher: Spend about $25 on a gift, if the school allows. If your child is older and has several teachers, tips are not necessary.

Personal Instructor: Spend less than $25 on a small gift for your knitting or photo class instructor, your child's coach or music teacher, etc.

Personal Trainer or Fitness Instructor: If you've worked out with them regularly throughout the year, tip the cost of one session.

Nursing Caregiver: A thoughtful gift is appropriate, but check with the organization-some don't allow tips or gifts.

Pet Groomer/Dog Walker: Tip groomers up to the cost of one session, depending on how often you go. Tip walkers up to the cost of one week's pay. Or, give gifts equivalent to these costs.

Building Superintendent or Doorman: Tip $10-80, or a gift equivalent to that amount, depending on how much you use them. If you have multiple doormen, tip each an amount closer to the $10-20 range.

Trash Collector: Tip $10-20 for each collector if you use a private service. Check with your municipality if you use a public service-some don't allow tips.

Landscaper/Garden Worker: Tip the cost of one session. For teams, split that cost into separate tips for each.

Newspaper Deliverer: Tip $10 to 25. If you get the paper delivered daily, tip closer to $25; if you get it delivered only weekly, tip closer to $10.

Keep in mind that average tips may vary by region and urban versus rural environments. Happy holidays!

Related Links:

Buy The Budget Kit
How to Make a Difference During the Holidays
How to Cut Back (and Give More) During the Holiday Season
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