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Holiday Tipping: Who Gets A Gratuity, And How Much?

An Expert Provides A Breakdown For This Confusing Question
Holiday Tipping

Experts have advice on whom to tip and how much. (Credit: CBS 2)

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NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) — ’Tis the season for tipping, but whom do you tip, and how much?

CBS 2’s Dave Carlin talked with an expert about the do’s and don’ts of holiday tipping so you will not end up looking like the Grinch.

“The anxiety is about two things — who to tip and how much,” said home finance expert Ron Leshnower.

Indeed, how to tip for the Holidays is not set stone, and for some, that is what makes it so worrisome.

“It stresses me out,” one person said.

“I hate it,” another said.

For many, it is difficult to know what the right move is.

“Because you don’t want to give too much and realize you could have given less, and most people don’t want to come across as possibly a Grinch either,” Leshnower said.

Leshnower, who tackles this hot-button topic for About.com, said the biggest tips are for those you see again and again.

Nannies, babysitters, housekeepers and dog walkers should get a tip them what they pay they get in a week, he said.

Building doormen and superintendents should get $150 each in no-frills buildings, but the range varies — people in the luxury white-glove buildings already know if can go as high as $1,000 per person.

Leshnower added that mail carriers and garbage collectors get $20. U.S. Postal Service workers should not get cash, but non-monetary gifts or gift cards will work.

Your regular parking lot attendants should get anywhere from $25 to $50 for the holidays. A total of $10 to $20 each will take care of newspaper delivery people and school bus drivers.

For so many of the people we tip, we ask ourselves how much a single visit costs? Leshnower said that becomes the estimated correct tip for your regular hairstylist, personal trainer or massage therapist.

“Even if you tip throughout the year with people who do your hair and nails, it is good to show appreciation year end,” Leshnower said.

But there are also some people you typically don’t tip — doctors, dentists and accountants. Leshnower advises maybe some baked goods would be appropriate for them, but you should not stress about it.

And if Leshnower’s guide doesn’t do the trick, more expert advice may be found right next door.

“Talk to a neighbor or a few neighbors, and ask who do they tip and how much they tip,” he said.

Leshnower said to tip on or before Christmas Day. You should tell those you tip if their gratuity is coming later, but don’t try to dodge it.

“If you just ignore the person, it could send a much louder, negative message than you intended,” Leshnower said.

And if you cannot afford to top, you still should not ignore those you interact with altogether, he said.

“If money is tight and you can’t tip at all, say happy holidays give a note,” Leshnower said. “It’s best not to ignore them.”

And always with each tip, the handwritten note is the final, crucial touch.

You are also advised to write down the year-end total of your cash tips so you have an easy guideline for next year.

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