(WJBK) - Tis the season to show a little gratitude to those make your life easier year-round, but keeping track of holiday tipping can be confusing. Here's a little guideline for how much to tip everyone from the doorman to your stylist.
"A lot of people feel like, 'Oh my god, this is so expensive how am I supposed to afford all this?' and it's just important to remember that if it's not in your budget to tip everyone who deserves it, you can prioritize based on years of service or the quality of their work or who's helped you out the most. For people you can't tip, write a lovely note of appreciation, send a holiday card or send a letter to their supervisor praising their work and that can really pay off for them down the line," suggests Miriam Cross, Kiplinger's Personal Finance Write.
And, also, if you're ever iffy about an exact dollar amount, Cross says you can substitute most tips with a gift instead.
First, Cross suggests checking with your building to see if there's some sort of central fund going around. If not, she says the range is from $25 to $100, for those who life in a higher-end building or in an area with a higher cost of living.
If they visit once or twice a week, Cross suggests tipping up to one visit's cost is a good amount. If you're thrilled with their work, she says you can bump up the tip a little -- and vice versa if you're not so thrilled.
YOUR HAIR STYLIST
If you see your hair stylist on a regular basis, the cost of one session is a good year-end tip. If a couple people help out, say one washes your hair and one cuts your hair, just divide the amount proportionally.
For a hair stylist you don't visit on a regular basis, $20 or so is a good year-end tip, and for someone who you've seen for a while and they feel more like a friend. a nice bottle of wine or a card would be a great addition.
YOUR DOG GROOMER
The cost of one session, either a half to the full cost of one session is a good tip.
Dog walkers sort of fall in the same category. If they help out a few times a week, then the cost of one day's walking is a good tip. Bump it up if they come help you out five or more days a week.
YOUR CHILD'S TEACHER
The teacher is also tricky. Cross says do not give them cash as it could be misconstrued as a bribe. Instead, a small gift plus a note or a drawing from your child would be lovely, or you can get together with the other parents in the class and get the teacher a gift card.
YOUR CHILD'S NANNY
A nanny who works with your child every day, a week's pay or more is a good amount. You could always bump up the amount a little if they've done really great work for you.
In terms of a baby-sitter who you call on once in a while, one to two night's pay is a good guideline.
YOUR MAIL CARRIER
The mail carrier is a little tricky because they're not allowed to accept any cash. So, instead, you can give them a gift worth up to $20 in value, or maybe leave some snacks for the road as a small little token. If you do leave a gift card, just make sure it can't be exchanged for cash because that could put them in an awkward position.
For the newspaper delivery and the trash collector, $20-$30 is a good amount and make sure you include a note with that as well.