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Thrifty Tipping
By: Donna Worthy


To tip or not to tip, that is the question. It’s that time of year again and we all feel obligated to show our appreciation by providing some sort of gift to those who provide us with good service all year long. With the economy being as bad as it is many people are asking if it is really necessary to tip or can we pull off something else to substitute.

Well, most people understand that times are hard this year that old saying “it’s the thought that counts” really is true.

There are standard guidelines to go by and I will list them at the bottom but I figured I would give you a few suggestions as opposed to the general “cash” tip.

For starters you should always think about who means the most in your life. By that I mean, if you lost that person, how badly would it effect your life? For instance, if your UPS man or Mail Carrier was substituted with someone else, chances are it isn’t going to make or break you. The job will get done one way or another. On the flip side of that, your babysitter, hairdresser, dog walker/groomer or some other personal service provider may be a little more bothersome to lose. Take a minute to prioritize. You may even want to make a quick list of what service has been the most meaningful to you this year. From there it is advisable to set aside a certain amount of money (if you can) for that purpose. Then divide up the money accordingly.

Often times around this time of year it is easy to find things of a certain value on sale. Take advantage of that. For example, if it is considered “proper” to give a certain amount then perhaps you can find something that is normally that amount at a discounted price. Thus leaving yourself the financial flexibility to purchase end of the year thank you gifts for more people.


Another really good idea is to spend some time on a gift. If you really can’t afford to give something of cash value then take a little time to personalize the gift. People LOVE to hear compliments and good things about themselves. As a child care provider last year I had a parent give me a picture of her son with a letter of thanks. Other than bringing me to tears (of joy and appreciation) it showed that she really put some thought into my gift and it was personally meant for me and not just a ‘generic’ gift.

If you are one that is fortunate enough to be able to gift the gift of cash here is a list of what is appropriate for the different types of servicemen that we encounter throughout the year.


Babysitter - One nights pay plus a small gift from your child

Full time nanny - One week to one months pay, based on tenure

Daycare Service - $25-70, plus a small gift from your child

Teacher - $25- $100

Coaches - A small gift from your child

Maid - One weeks pay

Garbage collector - $15-$30

Hairdresser - cost of 1 session

Dog Walker - 1-2 weeks pay

Mailman - $20- 25

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Thrifty Tipping
By: Donna Worthy
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