Ah... the good 'ole tip. "To Insure Prompt Service." "To Insist Proper Service." Whatever you think it means, the fact remains that there are many people who rely on tips as a significant portion of their income or annual bonus. There are also many others who have no clue about this common custom. I worked as a server through college and found working with the public to be quite rewarding. It likely laid some foundation for my work as a realtor today. It taught me some early lessons about how to manage expectations, be quick on my feet with stressful situations and multi-task in a fast-paced environment.
With the holiday spending in full swing and a recovering economy, we're ALL looking for ways to ease the financial burden this time of year delivers. But that doesn't mean tipping should become optional. Consider appropriate gifts for those who make your life a little easier like your mail carrier, crossing guard and babysitter.
Here's a handy guide for whom to tip and how much this holiday season.
1. Consider larger gifts for people who are key to keeping your family and home operating smoothly, such as the babysitter, housekeeper or a trusted caregiver. One week's pay and a small gift makes a great thank you for being a reliable resource.
2. Teachers deserve some extra thought. Collaborate with class parents for an uber-gift, or consider a practical gift card in the $20-50 range to a favorite shop along with a personal note from your child.
3. Grab a handful of $10-$20 gift cards to acknowledge the services of your mail carrier, newspaper carrier, UPS or FedEx if they frequent your doorstep. Gift cards are a good alternative for those who cannot legally accept gratuity.
4. If you employ a gardener or landscaper, an amount equal to their daily rate of service should fit the bill.
5. For public service workers, doormen, handymen or elevator operators: Consider $10-40 range depending on your budget and number of recipients.
6. For your stylist, manicurist and personal trainer who keep you in top shape all year round, reward them with the value of one session of their services.
7. Don't forget your bartender and barista! If you don't know what a barista is ... then this won't mean a "latte" to you. But if you frequent your corner coffee shop for your usual grande half-caf no-foam non-fat soy latte, then leave behind a little extra for the holidays as a thank you for the daily fuel.
8. Additional notes:
Use discretion when tipping.
When in doubt, a little tip is better than no tip.
Did I forget anyone? Happy Holidays and don't skip that tip!