Start saving for holiday tips now!
We’ve nearly reached the tipping point, that time of year when we’re expected to tip caregivers, delivery men, the paper carrier, the garage attendant, teachers, day care workers and sometimes other folks like the miscellaneous school staffers, dog walkers, cleaning persons, etc. Sometimes the arrival of a conspicuous holiday card, from the guy who brings the news paper, that jogs us into the realization that we forgot to budget for this expense.
Many people make the point that the expectation of the tip takes something away. We wouldn’t know our mail carrier if we bumped into him on the street and yet like tipping the captain at an upscale restaurant it’s something we have to do – if for no other reason than the paper carrier we stiffed knows where we live.
Still, there are lots of people, expected or not who we’d like to thank, all those people who make our lives better in little ways: the crossing guard, the newspaper man, the UPS man who carries the heavy stuff upstairs, the babysitter who helps out in a pinch, the mail man who never fails to let us know there’s a parcel so we don’t get robbed.
This is true even if the “tip” is an imperfect but sincere cookie, a dark chocolate tucked in with greeting card or a $5 gift card for Starbucks. There’s something wonderful about saying, in effect, “We appreciate what you do for us.”
But what how much? Take our annual anonymous survey of who and how much tipping if going on in the hood. We’ll announce the results in two weeks.
In the meantime, if you’re stuck because you didn’t budget for tips, now is the time to start saving. Our members offer these suggestions:
“Starting in October I have a separate envelope for everyone getting a tip and the amount. Each week I take out a little bit of extra money and gradually fill the envelopes. In December I'm much happier to give everyone who deserves a holiday tip or bonus their money because I haven't had to empty the bank account right before the holidays”
“I take all the loose change we’ve accumulated in our change jar down to the “Penny Arcade at TD Bank on 5th Avenue and trade it in for notes. All that money (minus one coffee for my efforts) goes for tips”
“At the height of the financial crisis I didn’t have enough to buy every person at daycare a gift, so I bought a large box of the nicest chocolates I could find and gave it to all of them”