Frugal Living Tip: Christmas Tipping Guide
If you are living on a tight budget (or just generally frugally minded) the holidays can be a time of anxiety and worry as well as budget stretching triumph. I have found plenty of areas in which a dollar can be stretched or saved during the holidays, but one area where you should always be prepared to pay full price is when it comes to tipping. Showing thankfulness should be something that is never done less than over abundantly. Of course we all would love to shower those who have provided help or services for us throughout the year with gifts that surpass what is socially required, but realistically that is not always possible. Especially if time are lean and frugal living is less of a choice and more of a necessity.
So who should you tip, why, and how? Think through your year and start a list of everyone who has provided services to you or your family through the year. Mail carrier, garbage/recycling collector, lawn service, housecleaner, news carriers, pool services, pest control, trainers, and pet groomers/walkers, should absolutely be tipped or gifted at Christmas. Good rule of thumb is that each should be tipped at least $20 or the amount that you are charged in one visit or service. If it is a service that you use regularly and have enjoyed, room should be made in your budget to thank them properly.
There is another tier of people who provide services throughout the year who maybe do not provide weekly or monthly services who might also deserve some form of recognition, but it is definitely more at your own discretion. In this case, a gift card would be ideal. Those individuals can be for many different amounts based on the level of service. That wonderful hairdresser that you enjoyed chatting with? Maybe buy her a gift card for a cup of coffee to thank her for all of the gabfests. The mechanic who always has an ear bud in listening to music while he works? Maybe an iTunes gift card would be good for him. Get creative, but try to avoid edible gifts if possible.
Lastly teachers, coaches, tutors, and babysitters/nannies are people who help our children’s lives run smoothly and help them be their best. They most certainly should be shown gratitude. But consider that it might not be the best idea to give them cash as it can be easily misconstrued. Gift cards and small gifts are the usually the best way to go. If possible, avoid giving things like coffee mugs and Christmas ornaments. Most of them have many of those. While they certainly enjoy what the services they provide, most would have probably already had their fill of those gifts. Try to think outside of the box. More than likely gift cards will be exactly what they want and will not seem as a impersonal as you might think they are.
If you really cannot budget to give tips this year, quality service should still be acknowledged with a card of thanks. A handwritten note is always appropriate with any gift given. Make sure that no matter what you do to acknowledge good service throughout the year, it is a given with a note that has words from your heart. In times when most of America is on a debt diet, thriftiness can be a virtue throughout the year. And while most of these situations can almost always be solved by looking to Emily Post, genuine gifts given from the heart can never go wrong.
Check out our Frugal Living Tips this Christmas Season
Read part 1 of Angie’s Living on $30,000 Best Frugal Tips on Thriving and (not just surviving) on $30,000 a year!
Part 2 – Basic Home Budgeting
Part 4 – How to Not Spend Money
Part 6 – Money Management Skill
Part 7 – Why Couples Should Talk About Money?
I am a stay at home mom and happily married to my husband Tom. I have a five year old daughter and a two and a half year old son. I grew up in Orlando, but went to school in New York City and lived in Los Angeles before moving home to raise a family. I have worked in the film industry since the early nineties, and for over a decade with the Florida Film Festival. I also spent many years working in marketing with Glaceau and Honest Tea. But, I am happiest at home building my family.
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