Holiday Tipping – 7 Tips to Keep From Going Broke


What's Hot


2 Types of Black Marks Might Vanish From Your Credit File SoonBorrow

6 Ways the Obamacare Overhaul Might Impact Your WalletInsurance

7 Dumb and Costly Moves Homebuyers MakeBorrow

This Free Software Brings Old Laptops Back to LifeMore

Obamacare Replacement Plan Gets ‘F’ Rating from Consumer ReportsFamily

Beware These 12 Common Money MistakesCredit & Debt

21 Restaurants Offering Free Food Right NowSaving Money

17 Ways to Have More Fun for Less MoneySave

House Hunters: Beware of These 6 Mortgage MistakesBorrow

30 Household Uses for Baby OilSave

25 Ways to Spend Less on FoodMore

Nearly Half of Heart-Related Deaths Linked to These 10 Foods and IngredientsFamily

5 Surprising Benefits of Exercising Outdoors in WinterFamily

10 Ways to Save When You’re Making Minimum WageSave

Boost Your Credit Score Fast With These 7 MovesCredit & Debt

7 Painless Ways to Pay Off Your Mortgage Years EarlierBorrow

The Most Sinful City in the U.S. Is … (Hint: It’s Not Vegas)Family

The True Cost of Bad CreditCredit & Debt

10 Companies With the Best 401(k) PlansGrow

This Scam Now Tops ID Theft as the No. 2 Consumer ComplaintFamily

6 Stores With Awesome Reward ProgramsFamily

6 Ways to Save More at Lowe’s and The Home DepotSave

6 Healthful Treats for Your DogFamily

New Study Ranks the Best States in the U.S.Family

Thousands of Millionaires Moving to 1 Country — and Leaving AnotherGrow

Strapped for College Costs? How to Get the Most From FAFSABorrow

6 Overlooked Ways to Save at Chick-fil-AFamily

Ask Stacy: What’s the Fastest Way to Pay Off My Mortgage?Borrow

Where to Sell Your Stuff for Top DollarAround The House

8 Ways to Get a Good Price on a Shiny New AutoCars

Ask Stacy: How Do I Start Over?Credit & Debt

Secret Cell Plans: Savings Verizon, AT&T, T-Mobile and Sprint Don’t Want You to Know AboutFamily

30 Awesome Things to Do in RetirementCollege

14 Super Smart Ways to Save on TravelSave

The Rich Prefer Modest Cars — Should You Join Them?Cars

You’ll Soon Pay More to Shop at CostcoSave

10 Ways to Save When Your Teen Starts DrivingFamily

Finding out how much you're supposed to tip is easy. Figuring out where you'll find the money? Not so much. But if you're short this holiday season, here are some words of comfort.

I love the people who take care of me throughout the year, but I hate wrestling with their tips as it comes to a close. Do I tip my hair stylist a few extra bucks, or will she be expecting more? Should I tip my mail carrier? Can I afford all this generosity?

If that sounds familiar, here’s something that will make your days cheery and bright: Holiday tipping doesn’t have to be complicated or expensive, and a little thought can go a long way.

Money Talks News founder Stacy Johnson has tips for tipping and spreading holiday cheer this season. Check out the short video below, then meet me on the other side for more…

Here’s how to make holiday tipping easy this year:

1. Make a personal checklist

You don’t have to wonder who deserves a holiday tip. There are plenty of experts who will tell you.

Ready to feel guilty? Below is a list of holiday tipping guidelines from Emily Post. Go down the list, pick out service providers that come into your life regularly, and start making a list of your own. Yes, the list is lengthy, but hopefully you don’t come into contact with all those on it. (No elevator operator where I live – how about you?)

Service Provider Options Suggested Amount or Gift
Au pair or live-in nanny Cash or consider a gift. This person works closely with your family and you probably know them well. One week’s pay and a gift from your child(ren).
Regular babysitter Cash One evening’s pay and a small gift from your child(ren).
Day care provider Cash or a gift for each staff member who works with your child(ren). A gift from you or $25-$70 for each staff member and a small gift from your child(ren).
Live-in help (nanny, cook, butler, housekeeper) Cash and a personal gift One week to one month of pay as a cash tip, plus a gift from you.
Private nurse Gift A thoughtful gift from you.
Home health employees Check with agency first about gifts or tipping policies. If there is a no gifts/tipping policy, consider a donation to the agency. A thoughtful gift from you. (If gift-giving is not against company policy.)
Housekeeper/Cleaner Cash and/or a gift Up to the amount of one week’s pay and/or a small gift.
Nursing home employees A gift (not cash). Check company policy first. A gift that could be shared by the staff (flowers or food items).
Barber Cash or gift Cost of one haircut or a gift.
Beauty salon staff Cash or gift depending on whether you tip well after each service. The cost of one salon visit divided for each staff member who works with you. Give individual cards or a small gift each for those who work on you.
Personal trainer Cash or gift Up to the cost of one session or a gift.
Massage therapist Cash or gift Up to the cost of one session or a gift.
Pet groomer Cash or gift (if the same person grooms your pet all year). Up to the cost of one session or a gift.
Dog walker Cash or gift Up to one week’s pay or a gift.
Personal caregiver Cash or gift Between one week to one month’s salary or a gift.
Pool cleaner Cash or gift The cost of one cleaning to be split among the crew.
Garage attendants Cash or small gift $10-30 or a small gift
Newspaper delivery person Cash or small gift $10-30 or a small gift
Mail carrier Small gift only See special details below
Package deliverer Small gift only, no cash. (Only if you receive regular deliveries.) Small gift in the $20 range. Most delivery companies discourage or prohibit cash gifts.
Superintendent Cash or gift $20-80 or a gift
Doorman Cash or gift $15-80. $15 or more each for multiple doormen, or a gift.
Elevator operator Cash or gift $15-40 each
Handyman Cash or gift $15 to $40
Trash/Recycling collectors Cash or gift (for private) check city regulations if it is a municipal service. $10-30 each
Yard/Garden worker Cash or gift $20-50 each
Teachers Gift (not cash) A small gift or note from you as well as a small gift from your child.

Freaking out about how much you should be shelling out? Don’t panic. Keep reading…

2. Break the rules

After making your list, you may still may be staring at a lot of service providers. But even Emily Post says these amounts are recommendations and not requirements, meaning that you should make your own decisions based on your personal situation.

The experts recommend considering several factors when deciding who to tip and how much, like:

  • How often do they provide this service?
  • How’s the quality of their service?
  • Do you have a close relationship with this person?

Remember the list of suggested tips is just a guide, so use your own judgment.

3. Skip those you don’t know

I’m happy to have my trash and recycling picked up at the curb every week. But I have no idea who they are, and I don’t feel bad skipping someone I’ve never met before.

The experts agree: If you don’t know the service provider, you don’t have to tip. While it’s a nice thing to do, it’s expensive. Let the people you know on a first-name basis take priority.

4. Plan your tips

With tips ranging from one session’s cost to a full month of compensation, offering cash in the recommended amounts can quickly bust a budget. So if you plan to give cash but can’t tip the value of a week or month of service, that’s okay. Tipping a little more than normal can still be enough to spread holiday cheer and earn the appreciation of the receiver.

Also consider giving less if you typically tip at the time of service. After all, you’ve tipped them all year. Going above and beyond is nice, but don’t feel it’s required.

Use your personal list of service providers to see if the recommendations make sense and fit within your budget. Don’t be afraid to give more to the best and less to those who aren’t.

5. Go with gifts instead

Short on cash? Consider a gift instead.  Choose something personalized to their tastes, or give baked goods or other treats – they’re relatively inexpensive, and work for a wide range of recipients.

And if you can’t shell out cash or a gift, try a card with nice words.  See The 20-Cent Greeting Card.

6. Watch the regulations

Some service providers can’t accept cash. Accepting it can even get them in trouble.

Mail carriers can’t accept cash, checks or gifts cards as well as anything valued over $20. But they can take food or beverages and small gifts under that limit.

Cash gifts shouldn’t be given to school teachers, either. A gift from your child or the whole class is typically a better bet.

Trash and recycling collectors may have similar regulations if they’re municipal workers. Check to make sure what’s allowed and what’s not before giving.

7. Always include a card

No matter what you’re giving, include a card. Handing someone cash isn’t considered polite. Include a hand-written, personal message with all gifts, even if it’s short, to show that you care.

What are your thoughts on tipping? Let us know below or on our Facebook page.

Stacy Johnson

It's not the usual blah, blah, blah

I know... every site you visit wants you to subscribe to their newsletter. But our news and advice is actually worth reading! For 25 years, I've been making people richer without making their eyes glaze over. You'll be glad you did. I guarantee it!

💰🗣📰

Read Next: 10 Key Facts to Test Your Credit Card IQ

Check Out Our Hottest Deals!

We're always adding new deals and coupons that'll save you big bucks. See the deals to the right and hundreds more in our Deals section.

Click here to explore 2,060 more deals!