If you are following your budget and eating or going out less than usual, it may be time for a brush up lesson on tipping during the holiday season. As we schlep around the malls and visit restaurants and family, there may be more occasions that call for a need to tip others who help you.
It can always be a little frustrating figuring out when and how much to tip your waiter, doormen, taxi drivers, the mail lady, and others who are working hard to make your life easier. Here is a brief overview of how you can show your gratitude without breaking the bank.
Give To The Loyal
If you have people you encounter on a daily basis, consider your tip or gift budget to those people first. It can be a nice gesture to leave a holiday card with a small token gift or a monetary donation you can afford for the mail person, newspaper carrier, or whom ever provides you frequent services.
Give Small But Thoughtful Gifts
Gift cards or certificates for the local gas station or grocery store are a simple way to say thanks, support your local businesses, and end the search time for too many "perfect" gifts.
You can also bake a bulk batch of a holiday treat and get crafty with some ribbon to thank your kid's teachers. It doesn't have to cost a lot to say happy holidays to those who make a difference in your life.
Handmade Holiday Cards
Those people that you see only on occasion can be wished a happy holidays for free or next to free. Buy some stock paper and handwrite a personal thank you card to let the person who helps you that you are thinking of them. A card does not always have to contain money. Most people understand the economic situation and hopefully wouldn't be put out by just your good wishes.
Give What You Can Afford
For those situations where a monetary tip is the norm, such as your hairdresser or babysitter, consider them into your holiday spending limit total and give no more than what you can. Do not feel guilty if you think it's not enough. While standard tipping rates is considered to be 15-20% of your total bill, if you can't afford it, don't give it. The fact that you even included these service providers into your holiday budget should be considered a gesture of good will and going broke over guilt is no way to remain financially savvy.