Sound Advice for Holiday Tipping

holiday money gift

The holidays are the time of year to share your love and appreciation to the most important people in your life. For many, that includes those people who provide support and services throughout the year. From your favorite babysitter, housekeeper or the hair stylist who always gets your cut just the way you like it, a tip -- enclosed in an envelope with a handwritten note -- is sure to be appreciated.

But how do you know how much to tip?

Holiday tips will vary according to your means, the city in which you live, and the type of relationship that you have with the person being tipped. That being said, here are some general guidelines for a few of the outstanding individuals who might be on your list:

  • Newspaper person: $10 – 30 or a small gift
  • Building Custodian: $20 – $30
  • Housekeeper/Cleaner: Up to the amount of one week's pay and/or a small gift
  • Day Care Provider: A gift from you, or $25 – $70 for each staff member and a small gift from your child(ren)
  • Regular Babysitter: One evening's pay and a small gift from your child(ren)
  • Barber: The cost of one haircut or a gift
  • Hair stylist: The cost of one salon visit divided for each staff member who works with you. Give individual cards or a small gift each for those who work on you
  • Personal Trainer: Up to the cost of one session or a gift
  • Pet Groomer: Up to the cost of one session or a gift
  • Mail Carrier: Perishables or small gifts of intrinsic value not to exceed $20. Postal regulations prohibit cash, checks, gift cards or any other form of currency

If giving cash doesn't feel quite right, is too formal, or policy prohibits it, why not give a small gift? Of course, finding a gift for someone you might just know professionally, or see only occasionally, can be challenging as you might not know what one item they would appreciate most.

Gift cards can be a versatile and personal way to show your thanks. But how do you decide from which store to buy their certificate? There are some online gift certificate marketers that offer a gift certificate that lets the person receiving your gift pick from as many as 200 top stores, restaurants, spas, jewelers and more. It's the gift that's always appreciated because it also gives the gift of choice.

Other people who might enjoy a gift certificate include:

  • Teachers
  • School Crossing Guard
  • Co-workers
  • Employees

By giving the gift of choice, you can make the holidays shine bright for someone special with your goodwill. Those who work so hard all year to make you smile are sure to appreciate and remember your generosity.
For more money management tips check out our Sound Advice Resource Center. It's full of great information and tools to help you take control of your finances.