To tip or not to tip: that is the question everyone is thinking about during this holiday season. Although we've emerged from the recession, you might be minding your budget. So how much should we tip others when we're carefully watching our purse strings? Here are some rules you should follow:
- Tip what you can afford. If you can't afford to tip, think about alternatives such as homemade gifts or baked goods to show your appreciation.
- See tip sheets. Unsure of how much to give? Check out online tip sheets. Consumer Reports has a brief list of tipping practices cobbled together from results of a holiday tipping survey. They recommend tipping a housecleaner $50, a gardener $25, the garbage collector $20, and your dog walker $20, for example.
- Who to tip. When thinking about who you should tip, you need to consider a couple factors — how much you interact with people, how long you've known them, and the quality of the service they provide. You don't want to tip teachers, for example, but rather give them a gift.
- Check company policies. Even if you want to tip someone, you may not be able to because of company policies. Make sure you check with the firm about gift giving or tipping rules to see what's appropriate to give during this time. Did you know postal workers are prohibited from receiving anything over $20? If it isn't allowed, be sure to just express your heartfelt thanks verbally.
- Add a note. Whether you're tipping or gifting, EmilyPost.com recommends to add a handwritten note of appreciation. Two to three sentences will suffice.
The holidays are a great time to acknowledge people's efforts and show gratitude, so don't shy away from the opportunity to do so! Who do you usually tip during the holidays, and how much do you tip? For more info: check out our extensive tipping guide that breaks down each service.