Stressed about holiday tipping? An expert's advice

Holiday tip
Holiday tipping: Do's and don'ts   

It's the holiday season and that means it's time to tip for services provided throughout the year.

However, before people stress about whom to tip and how much, the first thing they should do is figure out a budget, etiquette expert Lizzie Post told CNBC's "Power Lunch" Tuesday.

"Sit down and think about what you actually have within your budget to work with and then move forward to, so who do I need to tip and what would be a good tip for those people," said Post, the co-author of "Emily Post's Etiquette 18th Edition" and co-host of the Awesome Etiquette podcast.

$20 bills with red ribbon
Dana Bartekoske | iStock | Getty Images Plus

When it comes to deciding whom to tip, she said, there are several factors to take into consideration, including the relationship with the provider, and how frequently the service is used.

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If patrons regularly tip at the time of service, Post said they may forgo a year-end tip or can give a more modest thank you or small gift.

Location also matters; tipping averages tend to be higher in larger cities.

When it comes to those who should definitely make the list, Post suggests remembering those who provide home care, like a live-in nanny.

She recommends that a nanny or au pair receive up to one week's pay and a gift from the children. Post suggests up to one evening's pay plus a small gift from the kids for a babysitter and up to $70 cash for a daycare provider or a gift for each staff member.

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However, parents should be more cautious with teachers, Post said. She suggests finding out the school's policies and consider the fact that the teacher may be doling out discipline.

"You also don't want to put the teacher in the … awkward position of, you've given her a $100 and now she has to come to you and tell you she's having a problem with your kid," she said.

Therefore, she suggests a card and/or classroom supplies.

Here are more of Post's suggestions:

  • Cleaning service: Up to one week's pay and/or a small gift
  • Mail carrier: Small gift under $20. No cash, checks or gift cards.
  • Doorman: $15-$80 or a gift
  • Barber/beauty salon: Gift or cash, up to one salon visit
  • Trash/recycling collectors: $10-$30 cash or gift (for private)
  • Dog walker: Up to one week's pay or gift

—CNBC's Kristina Yates contributed to this report.