Personal Finance
December 14, 2017

Three Simple Rules for Holiday Tipping

Written By Mary Beth Eastman
Last updated November 23, 2019

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Simple. Thrifty. Living.

When the holidays roll around, expenses go way up and extra cash may be hard to find. If you are trying to save money, please don’t economize on tipping. Your housekeeper, salon worker and mail carrier work even harder during this time and deserve a good tip. To keep things fair, remember these three rules for holiday tipping.

The rule of thumb is to tip the cost of one haircut, manicure, lawn mowing, etc., but there are exceptions. If you recently changed hairdressers or only had your lawn mowed during the summer, you can adjust the amount downward.

No less an expert than the Emily Post Institute says you should not go over your budget when tipping. If you truly can’t afford the cost of one service, give what you can afford to the people you worked with throughout the year. If you can afford to give generously, please do.

Make a list of the people you worked with during the year and prioritize the regulars. Give more to the people who went above and beyond this year to help you out. If your paper carrier took the time to carefully place your paper on the porch instead of the wet yard, reward them. On the other hand, if your landscaper killed the roses and let the dog out, give them less, or in extreme cases, nothing at all. Terrible service deserves no reward. Good service deserves a solid tip.

Should your long-time housekeeper get more than your new massage therapist? Absolutely. You should reward loyalty and friendship. If someone has been in your employ for years, they are a part of your life and deserve some recognition. Give more to these workers. Experts suggest up to one week’s pay. If that’s not possible, give money combined with a personal gift.

If you are on a tight budget, set an overall tipping amount and then use your list to figure out who gets what. If you want to show your appreciation with a little homemade gift, go ahead, but that crafty vase should also contain some cold, hard cash.

About the Author

Mary Beth Eastman

Mary Beth Eastman serves as the content manager for Simple. Thrifty. Living, where she is dedicated to helping readers use money and credit wisely. Mary Beth believes that access to the right financial information paired with a growth mindset are essential tools for getting out of debt and building wealth. Mary Beth has a degree in Journalism from Bowling Green State University and has focused her 20-year journalism career on putting readers front and center, carefully considering their concerns and presenting information that will help them in their everyday lives. She has won numerous statewide journalism awards. Her writing on personal finance as been featured on numerous websites in addition to Simple. Thrifty. Living, including Huffington Post and Lexington Law blog. Mary Beth resides in Pittsburgh, Pa., with her family and two rescue dogs.

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