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To Tip or Not To Tip?! Check out the FREE Interactive Tip Guide and Share Your Thoughts

3:34 PM MST
The links in the post below may be affiliate links. Read the full disclosure.

I posted this topic last June and it generated such an awesome discussion amongst Hip2Save readers! So… I thought I would re-highlight this topic for those of you who are new to the site or may have missed this post last year.

Although I am an avid couponer and am always looking for ways to cut back on spending, I am NOT cheap when it comes to tipping. As a former waitress, I know how important tips are in the lives of those who work in service-based industries. Although I almost always tip at least 20% when dining out, I am sometimes a little more perplexed as to what to tip in the following situations: Purchasing food to-go, Hair Cut for yourself and/or your kiddos, Assistance with baggage when staying at a hotel, Purchasing espresso from Drive-Thru Coffee Shop, etc.

Needless to say, I was excited to discover the Interactive Tip Guide created by a design team over at Hospitality Management Schools. Just head on over here, scroll down to the orange Tip Guide button at the bottom of the page, and then select a category (choose from travel, cosmetics, restaurants and more). This guide tells you how much to tip, when to present the tip, and even has some basic tipping rules:

* Do tip pre-tax.
* Do tip at buffets.
* Do tip when using a discount or voucher like Groupon.
* Don’t tip the owner.
* Don’t tip extra when gratuity is already added on the bill.
* Don’t leave a bad tip if you plan on visiting the establishment again.

So take some time to check out the guide and then come back and share your thoughts. Think about the following questions: What services do you believe require a tip, how much do you tip, do you tip even if the service is horrible etc?

Join the Discussion

Post Your Comment
  • Betsy says:

    My husband is a pilot and tips the hotel van driver $1 each ride. If the driver actually takes his bags out of the back of the van for him an doesn’t put them in the mud/snow/wet street he’ll add an extra $1 making it a $2/tip.

    Also, if you check your luggage at the curb of the airport the rule of thumb is typically $1 per bag.

    • Ketsy says:

      It used to be free and I tipped well, because I was usually rushing. Orlando now charges an amount plus tip :(

    • Danielle Scaduto says:

      my husband is a skycap at the airport and depends on tips for income. not everyone knows to tip so this is a great opportunity for me to tell people who are traveling please tip your skycaps! not only when you check in at the curb but if your in need of wheel chair assistance or help and the baggage claim.

    • Barb Hill Benson says:

      Not tipping, for whatever reason, is ungracious and rude. If you don’t feel the need to tip then stick to McDonald’s. There is no need to worry that businesses will close if non-tippers don’t grace them with their patronage.

  • Ketsy says:

    Let me add an extra comment, people being rude and saying if you cant afford to tip, dont go out. I try to use my money wisely and also support local businesses and I also think they rather you visit them and eat their food and not tip than not going there at all. So im going to tell all my mommy friends not to eat out at all if they cant fork out $20 for every $100 spent and well see a few establishments close and then youre out of a job.

    Also ifthe servixe is bad for me, then someone elses better service and tip ends up balancing out. I have a family of 5 with kids and sometimes funds are low… howver, if Ifeel the service sucked then we have an issue.

    Also I dont see anyone here claiming that day of good tips when they went home getting paid $20 an hour for serving without even having a degree that people who have get a salary and still paying their student loans end up getting paid less than their waiter. Just saying.

    • dancinginfountains says:

      $20 an hour is only accurate if people tip right. You could get stuck with a big table for that hour, give them attentive service, and then for no reason they leave you $5 on a $100+. This happens all the time. Plus, $20 an hour for only during a rush which lasts 3-4 hours. Not 9-5. Also, I am someone with a degree and student loans, which made me take a serving job in the first place. I feel blessed to have a degree. A lot of people end up as waiters because they didn’t have the choice and couldn’t afford one. Why punish them? It’s one thing if the server was completely rude and apathetic, but if you stiff someone or tip lower than 18% because you didn’t get your free refill on time? Or because your funds are low? Then no, you really shouldn’t go out to eat. Get take-out instead or cook instead.

      • Carol_R says:

        I don’t believe that most people who receive tips report even a fraction of them to the IRS. They basically are getting paid under the table with tips in most cases.

        • dancinginfountains says:

          Some cases, but most restaurants no. They make you track your tips every time you clock out and base it on your sales. If you consistently track lower, you will get in trouble and potentially fired.

    • Dylan says:

      Wow, this is crazy – I really didn’t think that many people had that mentality that it is ok to eat out at a restaurant and not tip simply because you can’t afford it. PLEASE DO tell all your mommy friends that if they can’t afford at least a 15% tip then they should not be going out to eat at those restaurants. I can promise you that any restaurant that employs servers will be perfectly happy about not being ripped off. You are doing them no service.

      If you only have enough money to pay a babysitter for 3 hours then guess what? You can’t stay out for 4 hours. Try telling your babysitter “I’m sure you are happier getting paid for 3 hours than not getting paid at all.” No, they would go work for someone who would actually pay them what they are worth. You are expecting your servers to SERVE you for free because you somehow feel you are entitled to it. Absurd.

      If your mommy friends can’t afford $20 on a $100 bill, then don’t order any sodas or split an entree. Tip is NOT the place to save your money – it essentially stealing. You can always choose a cheaper restaurant or less expensive food options.

      • Barb Hill Benson says:

        It irks me to hear people make up all of these lame excuses for not tipping. The bottom line is that these people are stingy and selfish. If you don’t want to tip, then choose places you can graciously afford.

    • Chris says:

      Wow! This comment is disturbing on many counts.

      First: Our family of 5 has never come close to spending $100 on a dine out experience. It is possible to enjoy eating out without spending anywhere near that amount. If you can’t afford $120, go to a place that you can afford. We are extremely frugal and go out very infrequently, yet we don’t feel entitled to go to a place that costs $100. We don’t feel it is right to enjoy a meal on the backs of a server without providing a decent tip.

      Second: I love kids, have 3 currently with the possibility of more, and my siblings have 5 children each. But, that is not an excuse to be a tight wad. In fact, children are often more work and usually cause more messes (at least mine – maybe yours are immaculate). When we go out with our children, we tip more. Children often have cheaper meals (or free in some cases) but require equal work. Getting out of the restaurant always takes longer with bathroom breaks, gathering belongings, etc. In that extra 15 minutes, they could have been working on their next tip.

      Third: I disagree that small businesses would value your patronage if you don’t tip. Small businesses have larger proportional overhead and likely struggle to pay decent wages. Their wait staff are likely MORE dependent on tips and many of them are family members that likely don’t get paid as much as other servers (the expectation to fill in without overtime, etc.) Servers getting poor tips will likely look for a job elsewhere, resulting in the cost of turnaround and less dependable servers. I tend to give better tips at small businesses as I doubt the employees are getting benefits and I want to support the entire staff, not just the owners.

      Fourth: If you give no tip, it will take a 30% tip to offset that loss (assuming a similar bill). That is a very high threshold.

      Fifth: I have an advanced degree yet I bristle at the suggestion that someone without a degree should not be able to earn $20 an hour if they work hard to earn their pay. Not everyone is college material and I applaud those that find their niche and become successes in a field not requiring a degree.

      Sixth: Consider your reputation and the example you set for your children. If you frequent small businesses and tip poorly or not at all, word will get around and you are likely to get the service you deserve. If you are a person of faith (I pray not), you are giving those of us that pray a bad name and defaming your faith. The example you are leaving for your children is pure selfishness. You teach them that you and they are entitled to be served without compensation to the server.

      Lastly: I preface all of the above by saying that you have the right to not leave a tip if the service was horrific (although I would still leave something – at least for the busser). But, do not go to a restaurant unprepared to give a decent tip. Stay home or eat at a less expensive joint.

  • Guest says:

    I tip between 15-20%, definitely pre-tax, depending on the service. Either I give cash or add it to the credit card bill sometimes. I just now realized that I should just charge it to the credit card all the time because the credit card gives me a % cash back for every $1 that I spend. Pennies really add up! :-)

    I don’t like tip jars at the mall food court.

    • Ketsy says:

      Ha! Credit card miles :). I sometimes get the gift cards for cheaper online allowing me to tip better. Did you know servers can cash out the remainder of your gift card? Just a thought whn someone gifts me one I leave more on it for this purpose :)

  • daniivicious says:

    My husband is a skycap at an airport and he depends on tips. Not everyone knows your suppose to tip when you check in curbside but like i said he depends on it for an income. So heres my chance to tell some of you that travel to make sure you always tip your skycaps! Not only when checking in curbside but also when you need wheel chair assistance or help with your luggage at the baggage claim.

  • Serena says:

    This is a little off-topic, but I’m dying to ask since it seems we have so many servers and former servers on this forum.
    I’ve never done this before, but I’ve seen this being done, what is your honest reaction if/when this happens to you as a server / waitress?

    Restaurant patron leaves a tip (of an appropriate amount) and then offers an additional “tip” -> “Please join me at my church on Sunday, here’s the address.”

    There was no discussion during the meal that you were looking for a church to join, you have a feeling this is something that this restaurant patron offers to everyone he/she meets.

    • Kate says:

      I think that’s really kind. And I think you’re right about it being something the patron does frequently…I wouldn’t take it personally. (And a church invite is definitely never an acceptable substitution for actual cash — HA!)

    • fran says:

      i’ve had this happen before. i don’t like people spreading their unwanted religious crap on me. I don’t like them assuming that I’m interested. Just like people assume that cause I’m mixed you can call me “sista”. Um no thank you

      • sandi says:

        Then maybe you should not accept the tip in cash – since it says “In God We Trust”

      • angela says:

        I recieved many “tips” when I waited tables of a dollar and a prayer pamphlet on a large ticket. I didn’t appreciate people pushing their religious beliefs at me and It really didnt give me a good impression about how “christian” they were when they tipped so poorly. Also I work at a Bank now. Please dont give us your religious papers. I also get people commenting on how i am such a happy person. “You must go to church.” No, I don’t I’m happy without it.

  • Kaitlin says:

    Basis rule of thumb for food service: 18%-20% is standard. If you really didn’t like the service-15% and below. 15% is not an acceptable tip these days. Always tip when you get take-out. Doesn’t have to be 20%-but a couple dollars is good. Especially when you get it from a restaurant. A lot of places have servers doing the orders who still make minimum wage and have a limited number of tables for that shift.

  • Katy says:

    My fiance works in a restaurant where all the servers split the tips. Which on paper is a good thing but in reality it doesn’t work. He works extremely hard while his coworkers play on their phone. Also, maybe 10% of the customers even leave a tip at all. They have a tip bucket by the register that is supposed to be for carry-out orders only but the eat-in guests sometimes throw their tips in that bucket instead of leaving it on the table. The owner ends up taking that money AND any credit card tips for himself and the kitchen staff. Okay rant over. I personally always leave 20% tip unless the service is absolutely horrible then it’s usually like 10%.

  • Danielle says:

    I disagree with anyone telling me what I should tip. I do appreciate knowing all the info. As in how much the recipient of the tip is paid hourly. When I know it’s a profession that is paid lower because of tipping, then I’ll make sure I tip what “I” determine to be appropriate for the service I receive. If I’m paying for a $40 meal, the 20% is $8. That’s more than minimum wage. And if I received crappy service because the server was spending their time on customers they deemed more important, then why should they get a high hourly rate for that service? Let that server get paid by the customers he/she deemed more important to service. That being said, it’s been quite a while since I’ve received bad service and had that issue.

    I do not tip at coffee shops or ice cream shops or drive through windows. Just because there is a tip jar does not mean the worker deserves it. Maybe sometimes they do. But generally, putting together the ice cream is what they are already being paid to do. Do Wendy’s employees get tipped for pushing the button on the frosty machine? No. It’s stupid.

    So long as tipping is at my discretion, it will be exactly that. At my discretion.

    • Heather C. says:

      Great points! :)
      Sent from my Verizon Wireless BlackBerry

    • Ariana says:

      Absolutely agree! I read a lot of “you have to tip at least 20%”. Makes me want to ask if 20% is “at least” than what would be nice to tip: “100%”, “200%”. Come on, let`s be real!

  • tracy says:

    Sonic drive-in restaurant only pays their car-hops minimum wage. My daughter barely makes any money because many customers do not know they should tip a car-hop. In addition, she has almost been hit by careless drivers trying to get to the drive-thru quickly. So, be careful and tip your car-hop.

  • erin russell says:

    As a hair stylist I use to work for a place that did commission which was 50% of what you brought in. most salons are that much but a lot are actually only 40%, but by the time you take taxes out it was even less! I was able to pay most of my bills from tips just because we didn’t make much after taxes. I love doing hair and if your stylist has been doing it for more then a couple years that’s why, because she loves it not because its some gold mine like most people think! where I live I charge $30 for a haircut, which is on the higher end of normal. But my clients understand that they are paying for my skills and knowledge which gives them a great cut and most still tip at least $5 on the cut. I know my clients that do tip above average and because of that I’m always willing to bend over backwards to get them in when they call because I know its worth my time. if your job is paid by salary remember that not ever job is, some people need tips to make up for not having a good work week last week because places are slow some weeks and busting the next. If you don’t like tipping just think that they could pay their employees more but in order to do that they would have to raise the price of your food, airplane tickets, haircut or color, or whatever it is. Its called gratuity for a reasons, you’re thankful for the job the person just did for you and you would like to show them just how thankful you are! Think of it as God has blessed you so you can bless others!

  • Jennifer says:

    No offense, but this conversation had gotten ridiculous. It’s simple. Like it or not, it is understood that if you dine out then you tip. Period. 15-20% is considered the norm. If you are thrilled with the service tip more. If you aren’t tip less. But be reasonable. If you’re jealous of how much a server makes quit your job and try it for a day.

  • Dawn says:

    Ketsy: Please DO tell all of your friends that if they can’t tip a minimum of 15%, preferably 20%, then they should stay home. If you and all your cheap friends don’t come in and the restaurant closes and the servers have to find a new job then such is life. Don’t you think we will have to look for new employment anyway if everyone is like you and doesn’t tip? Do you really think $2.13 an hour pays my mortgage and buys groceries for my family? And when you don’t tip, the IRS still assumes that you did and makes me pay taxes on a certain percentage of your bill. AND at the end of my shift I have to tip out the bussers and bartender. So if I have a bunch of low-life cheapskates like you all day, then it actually costs me money to go to work. And BTW, I DO claim every penny I make, not only because credit card slips are tracked so it’s impossible to “hide” credit card tips (and in this day and age most people pay with plastic), but also because I would not have been able to get a loan for my house if I didn’t claim ALL of my income. And another reason I claim everything I make is because I obviously have more integrity than YOU. And before you say something ignorant like I should go to college so I can get a better job – I have a degree. Sometimes life takes a dump on you and you have to take a job that has nothing to do with your degree so you can feed your children. So quit being such a cheap scumbag and learn to tip 15-20% or STAY HOME.

    • angela says:

      Good for you! If more people would take the “not so desirable” jobs like you there would be a lot less people jobless and on wellfare. And some people enjoy the hours, flexiblility of a tip job after slaving in a cubicle for years.

  • Mona says:

    Wow some of these posts got intense. My husband and I tip between 20-35%. My husband used to deliver food in college and saw the nasty in people who didnt tip him! My husband is a calm man but he gets really really upset at the thought of not tipping or even under tipping. Even if the server offers bad service we still tip high and chalk it up to a bad day, being tired from the job, or something. At the end of the day they have bills to pay, too.

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