Budget Bzzz: The Right Time to Tip

Do you ever find yourself in situations where you aren’t sure how much you should tip or whether you should tip at all (for example, a barista)? For me, this is a common dilemma, especially when trying to stick to a budget. Tipping is a key element in setting up your budget. For example, if you know you are getting your hair done this month, add in the tip to your total cost. Don’t know about how much you should tip someone and include in your finances? Continue reading my cheat sheet on the right time to tip.

How to Calculate a Tip (without a calculator):

First, let’s look at exactly how to determine a tip amount. The common rule of thumb is 20% of your bill. For most of us, we always have the availability of a calculator or app to help us, but you can actually figure out the tip without any help. Look at the pretax bill total. Then, move the decimal point one place to the left and round the cents number up. Next, double that amount, and you have found your tip total! For example, your bill is $32.79. Move the decimal point, and now you have $3.27. Round 27 up to the next whole number and it is $3.30. Doubling the amount gives you a tip total of $6.60, which is about 20% of your original bill. Seems easy, right?

Who to Tip and How Much:

Restaurants: It is common courtesy to leave a minimum 15%, preferably 20% tip, for your waiter. Remember that part of a waiter’s salary are tips. Thank them for their service. If you are at a buffet-style restaurant, try to tip at least $1 per person at your table, or 5% – 10% of your total bill. While the servers aren’t technically bringing your food, they are still cleaning up after you. At fast-food restaurants or coffee shops, it never hurts to throw some change or cash into their tip jar. As for carry out, you should still tip around 10%. Lastly, a good tip for pizza deliveries is $2 – $4.

Salons and Spas: Tipping your hair stylist or barber is always a must, and it is helpful for the tip to be 15% – 20% of your total bill. Think about the type of service they gave to decide on the exact amount in that range. Was it complicated? Did it take a long time? The same tip range goes for manicurists.

Drivers: There are a few things to consider when thinking about a tip for your cab driver. For example, was it a safe ride or was the driver reckless? How long was your trip? Usually, if you determine that everything was well, a general amount is 10% – 15%. If they go the “extra mile” and help you with your luggage, drive out of their way, etc. add in a few more dollars. When it comes to using Uber and Lyft, the companies don’t have a tipping rule, but it is always nice to thank the driver for their service. Place a 10% – 15% tip on your total through the companies’ apps.

Hotels: You might be asking yourself “What do I need to tip for in a hotel?” Well, there are a few things. First, tip housekeeping by placing a few dollars in your room for them to take while cleaning. After all, they are cleaning up your mess and making your bed. A $2 – $5 tip is appreciated for valets. Finally, depending on how much they do for you, it is generous to tip concierges. If they are performing a small task, such as finding directions, don’t feel as if you have to pay them.

Deciding on whether to tip can sometimes be tricky. When in doubt, be thoughtful and tip someone according to their service. Just always remember to include it in your budget.



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