Dining out, hotel housekeeping, even Amazon deliveries — saying "thank you" in the form of cash is rife with uncertainty. It's that age-old question: Whom do you tip and how much?
Fortunately, there are general rules for the dos and don'ts of leaving a tip throughout the year and over the holidays.
For example, at a restaurant, always tip the server 15 to 20 percent of the pretax 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 room attendant should get $1 per coat and a valet should receive $2 to $5.
For all salons and barbershops, 15 percent to 20 percent of the bill is the norm. If you are traveling over the winter holiday, leave $2 to $5 per day in your hotel room with a note. Even just a simple "Thank you, housekeeping" goes a long way.
If you have a doorman, make sure to tip $1 to $4 for carrying any luggage and $1 or $2 for hailing 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. That goes for your doorman as well 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, even during the holidays. 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 whom you tipped and how much. That way, you won't face the same anxiety next year.