I was catching the news this morning and one of the stories caught my eye – how digital transactions affect tipping for services. I thought it fascinating that businesses had seen hikes in the amount of tips collected when they use services like Square to handle their transactions.
Lately I’ve noticed more and more business leaving out tip jars and other hints at the register. While I certainly understand that employees are trying to maximize their pay for service, I sometimes get frustrated because I’m trying to figure out what’s appropriate (and that’s even before the digital tips).
The Basics – Tipping Customs
Like most people, I knew about how much to tip a waiter at the restaurants, but didn’t know much about other services. In general, I tip 20% when I go out to eat at a restaurant unless the service is sub-par. Having been a server I know that they give some of that tip money to the hostess or the busboy.
For everything else, I’ve either had to ask friends what they tip, searched online, or just asked the person themselves. To help simplify things, I’ve rounded up some of the customary tips for services that many people use throughout the year. (Please let me know if I’m missing something by leaving a note in the comments so I can add it to the list.)
Barber/Beautician: 10-15% for barber while 15%-20% seems customary for beauticians
Barista: No customary gratuity, but I’ve seen people leave their change from their purchase
Hotel Bellman: $1-2 per bag
Hotel Maid: $2-$5 per night
Parking Valet: $2-$5
Pizza Delivery: 10% of your bill
Shuttle Drivers: $1-2 per bag
Taxi Driver: 10% of your fare
I’m just highlighting some of the more common amounts suggested, so please don’t be surprised if it higher or lower than what you thought. I also want to note that you should check your bill to make sure you’re not paying for gratuity twice (unless you believe the service deserves such a tip).
Tipping in the Digital Age
Going back to the news story, the report highlighted that businesses switching to a service like Square seemed to have dramatically increased the amount of tips they receive. One reason mentioned is that there are default amounts given that take the guesswork out for customers. The coffeehouse featured in the story showed how easily someone could tip $1 or $2 as they sign their receipt.
Another explanation given was that some customers feel guilty leaving no tip. Jeremy Lyman, co-founder of Birch Coffee shared his take on the tip boost. “I feel like sometimes people actually do feel bad pushing ‘no tip’.'” I can certainly understand that, but at the same time, I don’t believe every service deserves a tip. If I get a regular coffee with nothing special, I don’t feel like tipping. However if I have a special order, then I will leave some thing. I don’t like the idea of being pushed into tipping.
Thoughts on Tipping
This is a topic that can vary greatly by region, so I’d love to get your take and feedback on it. What are your thoughts on tipping? What services do you usually tip? Do you think some shops are pushing tips more than they should?
For years, Mint has been my favorite – allowing me to get a snapshot of our finances and giving me a way to watch our spending in an easy and free way.
Finovera – A Comprehensive Financial Solution?
Now, though, there’s a another option out there – Finovera. The company is hoping to take money management a step further – giving users not only the ability to see their budget, but also manage their bills AND store their financial documents in one place.
Blogging about personal finance, I’ve seen various companies try to provide a practical solution for money management so I was a bit hesitant to check this out as Finovera had been in private beta until this past fall. However what they were offering intrigued me to I decided to check it out.
I looked online and dug around to see what they were about and was curious to see if they were as comprehensive and handy as they advertised.
After chatting with their senior product manager to answer some questions I still had, I will say that I believe Finovera can address a need to keep family finances organized.
This is most definitely a comprehensive tool. With Finovera, you can do so much with your budget and bills right off the bat.Know your bills
After you link your bills into Finovera, it pulls 12 months of history and tracks averages. That gives you a snapshot of where you are with your monthly expenses.
For utilities like electric and gas, you can see if your bills sky rocket during the winter and/or summer, making it easy for you to plan accordingly (and also optimize your home).
As they add more and more companies to their list of partners, Finovera becomes even more convenient and useful for users. Even if your current provider is not in their database, Finovera allows you to link online and offline accounts.
Stay on top of your budget
Finovera makes it easy to set up alerts for when you are spending more than normal. This is a handy tool as you can make adjustments immediately for the next month.
Store your important financial documents
In line with their vision of giving you one spot to manage your finances, Finovera gives users a digital filing cabinet (currently with no size limit) to store documents such as bank statements, tax returns, and other important records.
They plan on expanding what you can upload (see below for details about their mobile app) so you can easy find what you need.
Bank level security
If you’re worried about security, just know that Finovera uses a 256 bit SSL encryption technology for its security, the same as banks.
Mobile Coming Soon
Later this month Finovera will be launching their mobile app, which will give users the capabilities of uploading to their digital even more easily through their smartphones.
I think will make the service that much better and could be a way to de-clutter your file cabinet this spring while still retaining the documents you want.
Thoughts on Finovera
I think the biggest endorsement I can give with this product is that I signed up for it myself. I think it’s a wonderful tool that can many couples manage their money, bills, etc easily.
How about you? What do you think about online solutions like Finovera? Do you think your family’s finances could benefit having everything in one place?