It's hard enough finding that perfect gift for your loved ones. Now, add the stress of guessing who to tip and how much. Ready to give up? Don't be.
Here's a list of 10 people you might like to tip, with suggestions on how much to give them. (The recommended amounts are per the Emily Post Institute.) Do keep in mind, especially during these tough economic times, that, whether during the holidays or not, tipping is truly about saying thank you.
With a little creativity, you can thank everyone on your list without going broke.
Babysitter: One night's pay is a good tip for a babysitter you’ve used throughout the year. A day-care provider tip would be around $25 to $70. Also, it's a nice touch to add a small gift (think an ornament or a drawing) from your child to present to them as well.
Newspaper delivery person: They bring news from around the world to your front door, so consider giving $10 to $30, unless you tip regularly throughout the year. In that case, you can give a smaller gift of a few dollars.
Cleaning person: There is nothing better than walking into a clean house without the stress of having to do the scrubbing and scraping yourself. To thank those who assist you in this endeavor, consider the cost of one visit as a tip. If you use a team of cleaners, then a small gift (like cookies or candy) with a thank-you note is customary.
Hairdresser: They make you look good all year long, so you can't skip them! If you're scheduled for a visit in December, an extra $20 added to your regular tip is a good start. You can go up to as much as double your usual tip.
Teacher: Gifts may be forbidden, depending on the school district. If so, a note of appreciation is always welcome. If tipping is acceptable, avoid cash; that could come across as a bribe. Instead, consider giving a small gift, accompanied with a note or drawing by your child.
Trash collectors: You're still warm in your bed when you hear the truck roll by. The hard-working trash collectors are out there picking up your garbage and hauling it away in the wee hours of the morning. Talk about a service! You should tip each of your trash or recycling collectors $10 to $30.
Letter carrier: The U.S. Postal Service forbids mail carriers from accepting cash, and says gifts must be less than $20 in value. Therefore, a gift card or any kind of sweet treat is acceptable. However, some mail carriers are saying that a letter to a supervisor praising them would mean even more than a gift. It's a great way to go that extra step and really show you care.
Handyman: Those in apartment buildings may have this person on speed dial. From a backed-up sink to installing a new door, this person has you covered. Give thanks for all that hard work at the end of the year with $15 to $40, depending on how much work you’ve had him (or her) do.
Landscaper: Do you enjoy frolicking in your backyard, leaf free? There's a lot of work that went into that! A good place to start for those who did the work would be around $20 to $50. If he or she comes frequently, give up to a week’s pay.
Personal trainer: What do you get the person who pushes you to the brink every week? Thank trainers with $50 or the cost of a session. With a gift like that, they'll be sure to get you to that six-pack you've been dreaming about.
Here's an extra piece of advice: When giving tips to the special people in our lives, it’s nicer to tuck that cash or check inside a card or envelope. If your budget can't support tips this year, then write a note, thanking people for their efforts. Here's where you can briefly explain why you are not tipping, and that it's not because of a lack of good service. We all like to hear we're doing a good job. Spread good cheer this season, whether with money or kind words.