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Dinner, getting gas, at the salon … saying thank you in the form of cash is rife with uncertainty. It's that age old question: Who do you tip and how much?
Fortunately, there are general rules for the Do's and Don'ts of leaving a tip.
For example, when you order out, tip 10 percent for delivery. At a restaurant, always tip the server between 15 percent and 20 percent on the pre-tax amount. If you are out for drinks with friends, make sure you bring cash for the bartender — usually $1 or $2 per drink is acceptable.
If there's a restroom attendant, even if you don't need or want their help handing you a towel, tip 50 cents to $3. A coat roam attendant should get $1 per coat and a valet should receive between $2 and $5.
At a hotel, leave between $2 and $5 per day with a note. Even just a simple "Thank you, housekeeping" goes a long way. For all salons and barbershops, 15 percent to 20 percent of the bill is the norm.
If you have a doorman, make sure to tip $1 to $4 for carrying any luggage and $1 or $2 if they hail a cab for you. And then tip 15 percent to 20 percent to your taxi driver.
Of course, it's always a good way to show your appreciation throughout the year by giving a little extra cash at the end of the year. The same goes for your everyday coffee shop barista or dry cleaners. (Check out the chart below from The Emily Post Institute for a selection of some often-tipped people.)
It's also acceptable not to tip when you're getting gas, using a handyman or plumber, or for furniture delivery. Postal Service regulations only permit carriers to accept small tokens worth $20 or less, and many schools, health-care providers and other companies prohibit cash tips.
Whatever you give, be sure to include a handwritten card thanking that provider for their service. And then make a note for yourself on who you tipped and how much. That way, you won't face the same anxiety next year.