Is it really necessary to give tips during the Christmas season to our mail carrier, newspaper delivery person, and garbage collector? If yes, then how much do I tip? We can't afford much right now, so would be it okay to just give a card of thanks?
To Tip or Not to Tip
Dear To Tip,
It is not a requirement, but it is customary during the holidays to tip the folks who perform regular services for you during the year.
As with most tips, the amount depends on quality and frequency of the service, and your budget. Instead of cash, a gift certificate or small gift can also be given. If money is tight, then a note of thanks or some baked goodies would be nice and appreciated.
Below are general tipping guidelines from emilypost.com and CNNMoney.com.
Tipping Guidelines for the Holidays:
Babysitter: 1 evening's pay + small gift from child.
Au pair: 1 week's pay or a gift + small gift from child.
Nanny: 1 week's pay to 1 month's pay + small gift from child.
Daycare providers: $25-$70 + small gift from child.
Child's school teacher: small gift from child.
Coaches, tutors, music teacher: small gift from child.
U.S. Mail carrier: gifts valued under $20 (no cash, checks, or gift cards).
Package deliverer: small gift if you get regular deliveries (no cash).
Newspaper Carrier: $10-$30
Trash/Recycling/Yardwaste Collectors: $10-$20 for private service; if they simply operate an arm that does all the work, then no tip needed.
Housekeeper: Up to 1 week's pay or small gift.
Parking Attendant: $10-$35 or half a month's rate for the group if they provide extra service.
Pool Cleaner: cost of 1 cleaning.
Elevator Operators: $15-$40
Hairdresser or Barber: cost of 1 cut if you go frequently.
Personal Trainer: $25, 1 week's pay or cost of 1 session.
Nursing home employees: gift that can be shared by the staff (flowers, cookies).
Dog Groomer: Up to the cost of 1 session.
Dog Walker: Up to one week's pay or gift.
For more information on tipping, go to http://www.emilypost.com/everyday/holiday_tipping.htm and http://money.cnn.com/2006/11/13/lifestyle/holiday_tipping/index.htm