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Going out for dinner and drinks or taking a trip? Here's an easy gratuity guide to help you know how much to tip! 

Going out for dinner and drinks or taking a trip? Here's an easy gratuity guide to help you know how much to tip! 

As we're preparing for our trip to Denver this week, we're going over our budget for a few things we'd like to do.

It's not a line by line budget, but a threshold we use to make sure we don't go overboard while we're having a good time.


We'll be able to have some date nights that we're looking forward to. Tonight we're looking over menus and deciding on a few spots we'd like to try out.

Besides considering the cost of the meal itself, we're also taking into accounts tips.

We're frugal, but we're not cheap.

However, with so many options out there and seemingly every register having a tip jar beside it, it can be confusing to figure out how much to tip.

So I want to share a quick and easy guide on gratuity for when you're out and about.

You can watch me break them down in this week’s Marriage and Money Tips or check out my take right below!

Easy Gratuity Guide for Busy Couples

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.Going out for dinner and drinks or taking a trip? Here's an easy gratuity guide to help you know how much to tip! 

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.

  • 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
  • Bartender: $1/drink
  • 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.

Swiping your card and having a suggested tip makes it easier to go ahead and pay.

Some studies have noted that people tend to tip more when using credit cards instead of cash and to be honest, I've noticed that I've been guilty of that too.

Another explanation given was that some customers feel guilty for 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 something. 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?

What are your thoughts on tipping? What services do you usually tip? Do you think some shops are pushing tips more than they should?

About Elle Martinez

Elle Martinez helps families at Couple Money achieve financial freedom by sharing tips for reducing debt, increase income, and building net worth. Learn how to live on one income and have fun with the second..

5 comments add your comment

  1. I dislike the fact that tipping is EXPECTED. Tipping is something extra for a job well done. It’s not my fault that employers have decided to pay their employees crap, and make the tip the bulk of their income…that’s NOT how it’s supposed to work. But given that this is what is now the norm, there’s not much a guy can do about it. But the thing I hate MOST about tipping is when it’s FORCED on you. Case in point – the hotel we stayed at for FINCON13. They wouldn’t let us carry our own bags. “It’s our policy” we were told to have some guy unload our bags on to a cart – tip given. Then it’s “policy” again that a SECOND guy takes the bags from the main desk (oh no, can’t be the same guy!) to our room. another TIP! Wanna park your car? You pay for the service, oh, and there goes another tip to the guy that brings the car. Geez. I’m an able bodied guy, I can get my own car, and carry my own bags!!

    • Wow, I didn’t know some businesses did that! I agree that if you want to do the services yourself, you should be able to do it yourself. Thanks for letting me know.
      We stayed at the Drury Hotel and it was a fantastic experience. They were so friendly, professional, and helpful that a tip wasn’t enough, I felt compelled to share my impressions with the company. I think that’s the ideal – outstanding service that makes you want to tip.

  2. I am saddened that there is ANY negative attitude towards tipping.Tight wads get treated like tight wads and frankly, if you expect other people to deal with you with generosity – I think it’s only natural that you should act accordingly. No one will value you your business, if you
    don’t value you theirs.

    Personally, I spend a lot of time in a few establishments in town and the people who work there all take very good care of me. As such, I do my best to take care of them since in essence, they work for me as much as they work for their employer. I do not see it as any sort of hand out or entitlement. I use 20% as the fall back for full-service places I have no relationship with. I tip much more at places I frequent (generally speaking).

    As for the comment below about employer: it is possible that the restaurant or other service provider could include the tip in their pay. However, that would translate to an incredible increase in prices because of the way that industry works. Aside from the fact that it’s customary. If you’ve never run a business with labor costs, it might be hard to understand why but I’ll try.

    Think about this. You have a restaurant which may, or may not be filled to the brim with people each day.

    If I’m the owner, I have to have people there to staff the place and take care of you when you come in. You expect them to be there. The problem is, I have NO IDEA how many people might come in at any given time. I can guess, but I cannot be certain. A bus could show up at 3pm in the afternoon or I could be dead like the last 3 days.

    Now, if I’ve got to pay each employee $7-15/hr (which I would, on the higher side too if I’m competing with other service providing places on the tip system). I have to cover not only their salary, but taxes and so forth too. This is regardless of if they do anything or not.

    Doesn’t sound like a big deal, but when you’ve got 4 or 5 employees running the clock at $7-15 an hour with no revenue coming through the door and the razor thin margins that these business run on anyway….. it’s a big hairy deal. You may think the food is “expensive,” but considering all the costs – actually, it usually isn’t.

    So it’s not that the owners are passing the buck. It’s actually very much a cost reduction strategy that quite simply, is necessary.

    My attitude continues to be that if you can’t or won’t tip, then you shouldn’t expect people to show up and do a great job for you.

    Now as for bad or indifferent service. I just don’t come back, or choose not to let that person help me in the future. I will also gladly tell the manager about my negative experience and let them know why I’m not returning. Of course, trying to err on the side of grace and understanding and not just trying to be a complainer.

    As for the things Travis is discussing such as forced baggage and so forth. That would be something I’d take up with the manager, and further more, would not feel compelled to tip if it was a non-optional dis-service. I have encountered similar things and I can say that I’ve never had an issue taking it up with the powers that be in a kind but firm way. I have also discovered at times that employees were not doing what they were supposed to be and lying to me (which is unfortunate, but it happens).

    In any case, I will add to Elle’s point on coffee tipping. My rule is, if you go there more than once a week, you better be tipping if the people are good to you. If they’re not, find another coffee shop.

    I tip graciously to all the people who take care of me on a regular basis and I’ve found that it has yielded only positive financial benefits. Including, but not limited to referrals for my business, preferential treatment in times of need, amongst other things.

    • Thanks Nathan for sharing your take on tipping. As someone who has worked at restaurants, pizza shops, concert venues, and a hotel, I certainly understand how important tips can be.

      I’ve seen the best and the worst of both serving and being served. I’m annoyed by bad servers AND bad tippers.
      When I was a waitress, I worked hard to make sure each table was happy as I viewed that as part of my job. Most of my coworkers were the same which made things go smooth.

      On the side, though, I’ve worked with and I’ve been served by people who have done the bare minimum – they get the job done, but with no enthusiasm and they expect a big tip.

      Having a conversation about tipping (what’s customary by area) can also help alleviate awkward moments and respect both sides of the service.

  3. I do not mind tipping 15-20% for good service. I also do not mind tipping far less for terrible service.
    My cousins from Spain asked why we tipped 15-20% in the US. I didn’t really have a good answer for them, other than it is just the culture. When I was over in Spain I was told to just tip all the coins except my 1 euro or 2 euro coins, and that leaving nothing would be fine as well. When in Rome i suppose…