Holiday Tipping When You’re On A Budget

Published on: Nov 6, 2020fb-roundtwitter-roundemail-round
Person tipping dog walker inside a tip jar Allison Kerek
The Story

Don’t forget to tip this holiday season. 

Tip who?

People outside your inner circle who make your life run smoother throughout the year. Think: your dog walker, babysitter or nanny, house cleaner, doorman, garbage collector, etc. This year, that could also include your virtual yoga instructor, grocery delivery person or your kid’s learning pod leader.

How much are we talking?

It depends. And there’s usually a range. The Emily Post Institute says $10 to $30 per garbage collector and $15 to $80 each for doormen. Pick an amount based on what feels right for your neighborhood or building.

For service providers you see regularly, tip the equivalent of one session or a week’s pay. If you already tip every time (like for your hair stylist), your usual is fine. Feel free to add another $20 to $50 if you’re close.

But overall, the rules are...there are no concrete rules. Especially mid-pandemic. Decide how much to tip based on where you live, your relationship, and your budget. If you can swing it, think about giving a little extra to those who might be struggling right now.

What if I’m struggling?

Comb through your holiday budget to see if you can shift any funds over to tips. You can also try to pool tips with other people. If you live in a small building, go in with your neighbors to show the super your gratitude.

And remember: it’s the thought that counts. A small homemade gift or treats can say ‘thanks for all you do.’ (Psst…that’s probably best for the mailman. USPS doesn’t allow cash tips or gifts worth more than $20.) A personal note can also go a long way...and acknowledge that a smaller tip doesn’t mean you appreciate them less.


Holiday tipping is a great way to say ‘thank you for being a friend...who helps me a lot.’ Do a little planning to make sure your wallet is in the giving spirit.

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Skimm'd by: Ivana Pino, Stacy Rapacon, Elizabeth Smith, and Elyse Steinhaus