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The Ultimate Tipping Guide

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Skipping out on a tip is not frugal. It’s cheap. Not sure when it’s appropriate to tip or how much you should tip in certain situations? Here’s your ultimate guide on how to tip. (Note: Tipping guidelines differ from country to country. This guide is intended for those who will be tipping in the United States.)

Traveling

  • Housekeeping at the hotel. A good tip for housekeeping is between $2 to $5. Don’t just leave cash on the nightstand. It might not be clear to your maid that the money is for them. Make sure to leave the tip in an envelope marked for housekeeping.
  • Tour guide. Tip between $1 to $5 per person in your group.
  • Skycap or bell hop. $1 to $2 per bag they lug for you. If you’re running late and the skycap books your luggage to your plane so you can get their on time, bump up the tip.
  • Doorman. Only tip the doorman at a hotel if he gives you a hot tip on the best places to eat or visit while in town.

Personal Services

  • Massage Therapist. Give 10 to 20 percent of the total cost.
  • Nurses. Usually tipping nurses at hospitals are not permitted, but don’t tell that to my wife’s grandma. She’s a retired nurse and believes you should definitely tip nurses and other health assistants. Any time she’s at the hospital you can guarantee she’s getting the best service because she gave her nurse “la boost.”
  • Garage parking. $2 for your car. When you valet park, tip the person who brings you the car, not the person who parks it.
  • Baristas/Smoothie Makers/ice cream scoopers. It seems like all these types of establishments have tip jars now a days. Spare change is always appreciated. If the barista starts making your order as soon as you walk in so that its ready for you by the time you get up to pay, tip a little extra.
  • Hairstylist. Tip 15% of the cost of the haircut.
  • Takeout. If you order takeout from a restaurant make sure to tip the cashier a bit. While they weren’t waiting on you hand in foot for, they did have to bust their butt to get your order together and ready. If they help you take your order out to the car, tip a bit extra.
  • Car washer. $3 bucks is good for a basic car wash. If they take extra time in your detailing, give 10% of the cost of the wash.
  • Manicure. 10 to 15% is a nice tip.
  • Tattoos/body piercings. 15% of what the total cost is. If the tattoo artist does an amazing job of capturing what your mother looks like on your arm, tip extra.
  • Tow truck. It depends on what services the person provides. If they jump your car or change your tire, tip about $4. If they tow it, $5 is good tip.
  • Bagger at the grocery store. Now a days people no longer tip grocery baggers. It’s not necessary, but definitely a nice gesture. $1 is a good tip.

Delivery Services

  • Newspaper deliverer. During the holidays, give them a card with $20. My in-laws do this every year and as a result, they have their paper delivered straight to their door instead of just thrown on the driveway.
  • Pizza/Meal delivery. 10 to 15% is customary. If the weather is bad, i.e. there’s snow and ice or a tsunami, tip extra.
  • Furniture/large appliance delivery. $5 per person. If they stick around and help you assemble or rearrange your furniture, tip extra.

Out On the Town

  • Waiters. 15 to 20% is customary. If they do an exceptional job, pay more. If you come in with a large group make sure to ask if gratuity is added into your check so you don’t tip them twice. (Of course, as a former waiter, I always appreciated it when someone give me a little extra in addition to the gratuity.)
  • Bartenders. 15 to 20%. Again, if they do an excellent job give more. If you come during happy hour and down 20 $.99 cent draws, don’t just leave 15%. Bartenders have to bust their butt to get those things poured for you and deserve more than just your change.
  • Casino. There lots of people you could be tipping at a casino. First, you have cocktail waitresses. 15% is customary. Many people tip dealers when they have a successful run.
  • Taxi. Standard tip is 15%. If they get you to your destination quickly, tip extra.

Holidays

During the holidays, it’s customary to give a little more for the everyday services we receive. Here is just a short list of people you should consider giving “la boost” to during the holidays.

  • Mailman. It’s against federal law to tip to federal employees, but they can accept gifts of less than $20. During the holidays, give your mailman a non-monetary gift valued at less than $20. Baked goods are always appreciated.
  • Garbage/recycling man. These guys have a dirty job, recognize their work around the holidays by giving them a tip. $10 per person is nice. You can also just give gifts.
  • Teachers. If you have kids in school, its usually customary to give their teacher a small gift at Christmas time. It doesn’t have to be big. I remember when I was a kid, I usually gave candles.
  • Babysitter. A gift in addition to their normal pay is nice. Gift cards are always appreciated.
  • Cleaning person. An extra week’s pay or a nice gift.