A Guide to Tipping Etiquette

The details of who to tip, and how much.


I'll never forget the wonderful sound of change clanking in my tip jar. Back in my student days I worked as a minimum wage server at a local coffee shop to help pay for college tuition. Every tip I earned was always appreciated and my gratuity earnings were carefully budgeted using my student budget planner. Those were tough times.

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Now that my student days are long over, I often tip my caffeine-serving barista without a second thought. But I've often grappled with how much to tip hair stylists, newspaper carriers, and movers. Are there professions you don't need to tip?

I got into a major argument over tipping practices with my husband after he tipped a take-out cashier 16 percent for simply ringing in our order. I was livid. In a quest to do the right thing I consulted a few online tipping guides with some remarkable results.

Here are ten startling tipping suggestions from CouponSherpa and iTipping:

1. Take-Out Food: 10 percent when you pay. Tip based on total cost if you use coupons.

2. Chain Coffee Shops: 25 cents tossed in the tip jar.

3. Hair Stylist: 15 to 20 percent. Same for a colorist.

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4. Taxi: 10 to 15 percent is standard, 20 percent if the driver helps you with heavy bags.

5. Grocery Baggers: $1 to $3, depending on the number of bags loaded into your car. (What if you bag your own groceries?)

6. Tattoo Artists: 10 to 20 percent, depending on complexity.

7. Movers: $10 to $20 per mover.

8. Dog Groomers: $10 per pet.

9. Hotel Housekeeper: $2 to $5 per night.

10. Gas attendant: No tip.

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After going through these lengthy tipping guides I must admit to under-tipping for certain services and over-tipping for others.

Your Thoughts: Who are you tipping and how much? Who deserves a tip and who doesn't?

Kerry K. Taylor writes at Squawkfox.com, a blog where personal finance and frugal living are sexy, delicious, and fun. Kerry is the author of 397 Ways To Save Money: Spend Smarter & Live Well on Less.