Holiday Tipping Guide: How much should I leave for a tip?


It's the season of giving and giving and giving.

“Definitely the mail carrier, definitely the newspaper delivery person, my hairdresser,” says a shopper at Garden City, rattling off all the people she plans to tip this holiday.

Another shopper adds, “Oh, it's always the mailmen, the bartenders, the postal workers.”

“I definitely tip my hairdresser, definitely tip the nail girl, and really anyone else,” says another shopper. “If someone helps me with my groceries or things like that, I always give a little extra.”

There’s no question these service professionals deserve a token of gratitude during the holidays, but there's always some confusion over how big that token should be.

So NBC 10 asked a financial expert Keith Ellis, owner of SHP Financial, for some guidance.

“It depends on how often you use the service, how long you've been a client of that service,” explains Ellis.

Let's start with the people who make us beautiful.

“About an extra 10-15% on top of the service is usually what we recommend,” says Ellis.

That's in addition to your regular tip.

Speaking of tips, don't forget your favorite waitress or bartender.

“If you're typically tipping 20 percent, maybe you do 25-30 around the holidays, maybe if you typically tip 15, maybe 20-25,” says Ellis. “So an extra 5-10 percent really goes a long way for these folks.”

Then there are the folks who can't accept tips.

“With mail carriers, you actually can't give them any cash gifts,” advises Ellis.

Food and gift cards are a good work arounds, just keep gifts under $20.

For others, like teachers and nannies, it's nice to get your kids involved.

“You can have your kids make them a personal gift, which I think goes a long way with them,” says Ellis. “Babysitters, you probably want to tip them one night's service, and nannies probably an extra $25-$75.”

Of course, you can’t forget your package delivery driver, dog groomer, trash collector – the list goes on.

You can find a complete holiday tipping guide here:

But remember, before you hand out any holiday cash, figure out how much you can realistically afford to give – and stick to your budget.

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