Four tips for tipping this holiday

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holiday-shopping-womenIt's the season for giving and tipping those who do so much for us.

For most of us, it does take a village from the hairstylist or barber to the nail tech the daycare worker and mechanic. But it can also be a season that brings worry when it comes to tipping those much needed service workers.

The seasonal question about holiday tipping for those who help you all year centers on two major questions: how much to tip and to whom? The rules of holiday tipping, and tipping in general, are complicated enough the rest of the year but can be particularly hard to navigate during the holiday season.

I’ve got a few guidelines for you to make this holiday tipping season easier whether you’re trying to figure out what to tip the hair stylist, your kid’s bus driver, the postman or anyone else who helps make your life easier.

1. Set a limit.

Relax. You don’t need to go into debt to fund holiday gift-giving. You can give wonderful and totally affordable gifts both the receiver and your budget will love. The main goal is to show appreciation for all the receiver has helped you with over the past year. You want to show that you don’t take them for granted.

Start by making a list of recipients, and then really think about your gifts and the amounts. Is there a stylist who always stays late when you are running late for your appointment? What about the butcher who saves that special cut of meat just for you? Or a nail tech who always works you in? This is the time to show them appreciation for their efforts.

2. Sometimes homemade gifts are the best gifts.

This is a great way to involve your kids in the gift giving and to save money. I know teachers and coaches who have saved the homemade gifts they received from their students for years! The effort is what counts.

3. Use the cost of one visit as your guide.

What about those who help you run your life or your household? For most of them – nail techs, hairstylists, personal trainers or pool cleaners – calculate the cost of one visit. Then give cash or a gift equal to that amount.

4. Remember the reason for the season.

Don’t stress or worry about tipping. It really is just about showing appreciation and gratitude for a person’s efforts. If you let that guide you, then it becomes a simple act of spreading the holiday spirit.

And if you really can't afford anything then send a card. Remember, the thought and effort count here. 

Happy Holidays!

Jennifer Streaks is a smart and savvy lifestyle expert who covers finance issues and lifestyle topics. Her byline has appeared in Black Enterprise, Huffington Post, the Motley Fool, Women & Co. & Yahoo! Finance to name a few. Continue the conversation by following her @JStreaks on Twitter and her website is JenniferStreaks.com.

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