Tipping guidelines: How much do you give? (Part 1)

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I wasn’t sure where to file this, but I guess “Frugal Living” will do. That’s mainly because I do not equate frugal with cheap or stingy. Frugal to me means living simply and doing smart things with your money, not stealing or stiffing people working hard.

As suggested by a reader, I thought I’d go over my thoughts on tipping. First, there are a bunch of websites that offer tipping guidelines, such as Tipping.org and this one and this one.

I’ll break it down by situation:

Waiter-involved – 10% for horrible service. I never completely stiff waiters. Hey, I’ve been there. Bad waiters usually don’t last anyways.
15-20% for average service, I usually just double the tax and round up to the next dollar
20%+ – you did something I’ll remember, or I’ll be back multiple times at this place.
Buffet – 5-10% of bill. At least $1 per person.
Counter-service – Usually nada, those tip jars are annoying. Only if I’ve been there so many times that you know me. I used to go all the time to a place and tipped occassionally. They’d give me a double order every time I got fries. Too bad I moved.

Usually about 15%. Of course these days you basically can’t tip less than a dollar every time you look at the bartender. So if it’s happy hour and drinks are cheap, I only buy whole rounds for everyone and tip accordingly. It’s simply more economical! =) Then hopefully someone will reciprocate. After about 5-6 rounds if you tipped well you’ll usually get another one coming your way for free.

( Tip: This works awesome at casinos if you want to get lots of drinks, or just want to try a lot of different ones. If all your buddies are at a table, every time the cocktail waitress comes by, everyone orders a drink, preferrable the same one (ex. Bud or screwdrivers). Then tip her $2 to $5 depending on how nice your casino is and how busy it is.) Basically let her know, every time she comes by, she’s looking at $5 easy money. And if you order everyone the same drink, it’s easy on her, and easy on the bartender. You’ll be getting drink service like clockwork! )

Valet Parking – $1 to $2 per car, given to the guy (never seen a female valet – why is that?) who retrieves it. Tipping the guy who parks it can get your car closer to the entrance, if you tip enough.

Taxi ? 10% to 15%, rounding up to nearest dollar.

Limos ? never been in one in my life. According to others, 15% to 20%.

Ok, this is getting long. Next time: Airports, Hotels, Sporting events, Salons/Spas, etc.

(This is continued in Tipping guidelines: How much do you give? (Part 2))

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  1. Thanks for the informative post! 🙂


  2. I would also put in there for the delivery drivers that they get atleast 10%, but more around 15% if they brought the order correctly.
    My 2?

  3. That sounds about right Dawn – thanks!

  4. I work in Las Vegas as a Valet Attendent. We are constantly saying that $1 was a good tip the the 1960’s. Although we apperciate all tips as apposed to being stiffed, we believe that $3 is a good medium. Also, I feel like letting you in on a little secret… you can tip on the way in. Let’s say that you usually tip $5 at the end of service, Why not instead tip $3 in and $2 out. This way if, let’s say the dayshift attendent parks your car, but the swingshift attendent pulls up your car then you took care of both, and at the same amount you had planned on. (Not all places share tips) Okay one more secret. The more you tip on the way in the quicker you get your car. For example, did you ever wonder why someones car who came after you got their car before you? Well usually those are the guest who tipped on the way in. However to get the VIP treatment, one time on a busy night try tipping $20 on the way in. and $5 on the way out. You will get addicted to getting out before everyone else when there is a heavy wait.

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