Tipping Season

The ins and outs of holiday tipping

Now that the holidays are here, it’s time to open up your wallet and start tipping the people who provide you services throughout the year. Of course any conversation about tipping leads to a slew of questions. Who do you tip? How much? When? What? Here are some common questions (and answers) about holiday tipping.

Who Should You Tip?

As Marketwatch reports, you should tip any person who regularly helps you out. That list could include nannies, dog walkers, superintendents, hair stylists, personal trainers, house cleaners, landscapers and more. If you’re having trouble pinning this list down, focus on the repetitive nature. Does this person regularly make your life easier? Then they deserve a tip. One caveat here is mailcarriers, who are forbidden from accepting tips. Here’s an example to help you out: Your mechanic surely has improved your life. However, do you visit the mechanic every month? Hopefully not. So no need to tip them. (And if you do visit the mechanic every month, you might need a new car.)

How Much Should You Tip?

You’ll want to tip each person the equivalent of one extra payday. Things get a bit tougher when dealing with people who help you out but don’t have set pay, like an apartment building super. For those people, shoot for at least $25 each. However, if you live in an expensive city — like New York — you’re going to want to aim a bit higher. Some buildings provide guidelines or a helpful list of those people whose names you might not remember.

When Should You Tip?

You should start tipping your helpers in December, but there’s really no wrong time to do it. Think of it this way: Do you think the people will refuse the money because it’s too early? No shot. The earlier you start tipping, the better.

Is It Okay to Give Gifts?

It is generally not a good idea to give anything but cash to your helpers. The farthest you want to stray is maybe a gift card, but make sure it’s to a store the person actually enjoys. When in doubt, cold hard cash is the best route.

Chris O'Shea

Chris O'Shea