Holiday Tipping – How Much And To Whom?

BOSTON (CBS) – Tipping intimidates me. I never know if it’s enough and at times, even if a tip is expected or warranted.

So to answer readers’ questions on how much; it depends on how much service that person renders during the year and if you can afford it this year. And the key here is if you can afford it! Remember, tipping is discretionary!

The Nanny: Could be the Au Pair or the babysitter. This can get tricky for these people are often taking care of your kids in your home! Rule of thumb, at least one week’s pay. If she has been with you awhile consider one month’s pay. And if the kid next door sits once or twice a week, give her a gift certificate to the GAP for that amount.

Teachers or Day Care Provider: Here I think a small gift would be appropriate although the experts suggest doing a group gift for the teacher. I think a gift card to a restaurant would be a nice thing to do as a group gift.

The Mail Carrier: Notice how politically correct I am being. Postal Service workers are limited to a $20 gratuity by the Postal Service.

Next, The Newspaper Carrier: The newspaper carrier brings us our paper link to the outside world. If you have received your paper dry all year, the official tipping guide suggests $10. I would suggest more!

House Cleaners: For the people who clean your house each week, one week’s pay will suffice. If they have provided exceptional service like folding the laundry, give more.

The Salon Where You Have Your Hair Done: If you’ve been tipping all year most of the guidebooks say you don’t need to add anything more but others say if you have received outstanding service the price of a haircut will suffice as a thank you.

The same for the gal who does your nails or eyebrows and don’t forget the gal who washes your hair. Now at some of the salons in Boston you could be dropping an extra $150 during the holidays!

Parking Garage Or Parking Lot Attendant: Do they park your car every day? Certainly a tip here will insure year-long TLC for your car. Guidebooks suggest $10 to $20 for each person. And don’t forget the guys who wash your car each week in the bowels of those parking garages.

Who else do you need to tip this holiday season? Who provides weekly or daily services that you want to reward this year?

What about the folks who deal with your kids. The school bus driver who has on more than one occasion waited patiently as you and the kids ran down the driveway to make the bus. A token of your appreciation would be a gift or gift certificate. The kids’ tutor or music teacher. Do they come to the house offering even more service?

Anyone else you would like to acknowledge with a small gift for their help this year; the kiddo’s soccer coach, the brownie leader who has the kids meet at her house every week, the Sunday school teacher?

Health Club: Do you have a personal trainer? $50 is suggested? More if you work out every day. The locker room attendant, $5 to $10.

Doggie Daycare: How about the dog walker or groomer? If you have someone come in twice a day to be sure the dog does not mess up your carpets they probably should be rewarded; guidebook suggests $20 to 1 week’s pay. Groomer; a small gift and half the cost of 1 session.

One more thing: A heads up on a new Money Matters newsletter. So many listeners call or e-mail that they have missed a segment and where can they get a copy. Well now every Monday morning you can get the previous week’s segments sent to you. To sign up you will need to go to

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