This year, tipping – the custom of adding a gratuity to express thanks for exceptional service – seems to have run amok in the U.S. A recent article in The Guardian suggests the practice has always confused European tourists, but now, it’s also confusing Americans, who are seeing prompts for tips on nearly every payment transaction – including at self-checkouts!

If you think tipping requests are a bit out of hand, several studies bear you out: A survey by Bankrate found that 66% of Americans view tipping unfavorably, with around 30% saying the tipping culture is “out of control.” Nearly a third of patrons believe pre-entered tip screens are “aggravating,” and 41% think businesses should pay their employees more instead of asking them to rely on gratuities.

As we enter the holiday season, tipping fatigue is causing some Americans to keep their wallets closed at a time when giving is the norm. A survey by digital personal finance company Achieve found that 62% of respondents don’t plan to give holiday tips or purchase gifts for service workers this year. One factor contributing to tippers’ “bah humbug” response is that their budgets are already stretched by inflation, and “tipflation” isn’t helping.

If you’re used to giving holiday tips to your hairdresser, dog walker, house cleaner, or other individuals with whom you have an ongoing relationship, you may be wondering how the new tipping culture affects the annual gift you’ve given to valued service providers in the past. According to, experts recommend taking both your relationship and your budget into account. The site offers a table with suggestions on who and how much to tip:

Au Pair1-2 week’s pay and an optional small gift from kids
BabysitterAverage day/evening pay for regular sitters and an optional small gift from kids
BarberUp to the cost of 1 session
Bartender$20 for someone you see regularly
Building Porter / Janitor$25-$100, depending on involvement
Building Superintendent$100-$200, depending on involvement
Cleaning CompanyAn extra 20-80%, depending on duration of relationship
Cobbler$10-$20 or a small gift for someone you see regularly
Coffee Shop Barista$20 for someone you see regularly
ContractorDon’t tip
Country Club Staff$25-$50 for someone you see regularly
Daycare or Child Care Center StaffGift card worth around $20 or a small gift
DentistDon’t tip
DoctorDon’t tip
Dog Boarder or Kennel StaffHandmade or baked goods
Dog Daycare10-20% of your pet’s stay
Dog Sitter$50-$200 in cash or gift card, depending on frequency
Dog Walker$50-$200 in cash or gift card, depending on frequency
Doorman$25-$100, depending on involvement
Driver / Limo Service$20-$50 or 20% of monthly bill
Dry Cleaner$10-$20 gift card or homemade goods
Errand Runner$50 to 1 week’s pay, depending on how often you use
Fitness InstructorCost of 1 session or a small gift
Food Delivery (Local restaurants, Uber Eats, Doordash, etc.)$20-$30 for someone you see regularly
Garbage Collector$10-$30 per person
Gardener / Landscaper$20-$30
Gas Station Attendant$10-$20 for someone you see regularly
Hairdresser or ColoristUp to the cost of 1 session (or a gift if you tip well throughout the year)
Handyman / Handyperson$25-$50
House Cleaner$20-Up to the cost of one visit
HousekeeperAn extra 20-80%, depending on duration of relationship
Kids’ Activities InstructorSmall gift from your kids or gift card
Kids’ Coach (Athletics)Small gift from your kids or gift card
Live-In Help (housekeeper, senior care aide, nanny, chef, etc.)1-2 week’s pay
Mail CarrierNon-cash gifts under $20
Massage TherapistUp to the cost of 1 session for someone you see regularly
Mother’s HelperAverage day’s pay for regular helper and a small gift from your kids
Nail Tech / ManicuristUp to the cost of 1 session
Nanny1-2 week’s pay (possibly more if the nanny has been with you a long time). For new nannies, one day’s pay for each month of employment
Newspaper Carrier$10-$30
Nurse (in-home nurse, private nurse)Small gift and a handwritten note
Nursing Home or Assisted Living Community StaffHomemade gift or gift card
Package Delivery Person Small, non-cash gift
Parking Garage Attendant$10-$20 for someone you see regularly
Personal AssistantUp to 1 week’s pay
Personal Chef1-2 week’s pay or cost of one session, depending on frequency
Personal TrainerCost of 1 session
Pet Daycare StaffHandmade gift or baked goods
Pet GroomerUp to the cost of 1 session
Pet Sitter$50-$200 in cash or gift card, depending on frequency
Pet TrainerDon’t tip
Physical TherapistDon’t tip
Pool Cleaner$25-$50
Postal Worker / Mail CarrierFood, such as baked goods, or non-cash gift worth less than $20
School Bus DriverSmall, non-cash gift
Senior Care AideUp to 1 week’s pay or small gift
Snow Remover / Shoveler$25
TailorSmall gift for someone you see regularly
Teacher$25 gift card and/or small gift from your kids
Teacher’s Aide / AssistantSmall gift from your kids
TutorCost of 1 session and small gift from your child, depending on frequency
VeterinarianDon’t tip
Waiter / Waitress$20-$40 for someone you see regularly
Yoga teacher / InstructorUp to cost of 1 session or small gift for personal teacher; no need to tip group instructor

While’s list is long, Emily Post Etiquette says you shouldn’t feel obligated to go beyond your personal budget. The advice website says that if your budget doesn’t allow for tips, it’s also appropriate to consider homemade gifts or a short handwritten note of appreciation. If you already tip regularly, at the time of service, Emily Post Etiquette suggests you may forgo a tip at the end of the year, or provide a more modest gift or expression of thanks.

While tipping can be an excellent way to recognize people who provide you with great service all year, saying a heartfelt “thank you” is also acceptable if your budget doesn’t permit. Don’t allow tipping expectations to overwhelm your financial situation this holiday season!

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