How to Tuesday: Tipping Properly

Have you ever been in a situation where you were unsure how much you should tip? This used to stump me all the time. I recently came across an article on CNN where they break down different services and how much you should ideally be tipping.

As a former waitress, I can tell you that getting stiffed on a tip is one of the worst feelings in the world. So how much should you really be tipping? Does it depend on how great the service was or do you tip the same amount no matter what?

There’s actually significant disagreement about how much to tip for even common services. For example, you know you should tip your waitress. But how much should you leave? Some claim that 10% is adequate. Others claim that 20% is standard. Which amount is correct? Let’s break it down…


  • Waiter/Waitress:
    15% of bill for adequate service
    20% for very good service
    No less than 10% for poor service
  • Take Out: No tip necessary unless they do something extra special
  • Wine Steward: 15% of cost of bottle
  • Bartender: 15-20% of the tab, with minimum of 50 cents per soft drink, $1 per alcoholic drink
  • Room service: $5 minimum (unless gratuity is included in check)

Daily Life

  • Taxi Driver: Varies depending on locality. Assume 15% will be enough; an extra $1-2 for helping with bags
  • Parking valet or garage attendant: A wide range of opinions. Everyone agrees that you should pay when your car is retrieved. Some say to pay when it’s parked, too. Most sites say to tip $2, though some suggest $5.
  • Food Delivery Person: 10% of the bill, at least $1 for bills up to $10. Should tip 15-20% for a difficult delivery (example: bad weather)
  • Grocery Loader: Check with store policy if tips are accepted. If so tip $1-2 for bringing bags to your car.
  • Barber/Hairdresser: 15-20%
  • Manicurist: 15%
  • Staff at coffee/food retailers with tip jars: No tip required.

Just some helpful tips:

  • It’s always a good idea to have some extra cash in your wallet especially when you know you will be tipping a lot. Plus, you never know when a financial emergency could come about. It’s always better to be safe than sorry!
  • If you have a coupon or discount, your tip should be based on the total before the discount.
  • If you take up a restaurant table for a long time, tip extra.
  • My advice: If you can’t afford to tip, don’t go out to eat


Until Next Time,

Jessica M.

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