How to Tip During Tough Times

Why it still makes sense to hand over cash.

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Dear Alpha Consumer,

I usually tip the doormen in my building around the holidays, but this year I'm considering not tipping them, or at least tipping them less, because I am stretched for cash. Is it appropriate to scale back tips, given the economic climate?

I would argue just the opposite -- given the economic climate, it makes sense to be as generous as possible this year. If you have a job, a home, and the means to support yourself in a comfortable fashion, then you are probably fortunate enough to tip at least as well as you normally do.

After all, tipping for services, such as those provided by your doormen or newspaper delivery person, is not the same as giving a gift, which is optional. Instead, it's more similar to making a payment for services rendered. Your building's doormen worked for you all year long, and now is your chance to thank them, with money.

If you're wondering just how much to tip, these guidelines might help.