1. Headline
  1. Headline
By Laura T. Coffey
TODAY contributor
updated 12/18/2007 6:46:09 PM ET 2007-12-18T23:46:09

Have you ever gotten the sense that you really should be tipping someone at the end of the calendar year, but felt unsure about exactly how to proceed?

  1. More from TODAY.com
    1. TODAY's Takeaway: Savannah won't 'overshare'; rapping medic cracks up anchors

      Etiquette expert Thomas Farley guides the anchors — including expectant mother Savannah — on what’s acceptable for parents...

    2. Chelsea Clinton is pregnant! Former first daughter expecting first child this year
    3. After helpful mom accidentally steals car, rightful owner is found
    4. Gabriel Garcia Marquez dies at 87
    5. Cool cats! Laid-back felines star in #catband music videos

If so, do not despair! The following tips can help you figure out how to thank regular-service providers for a year of hard work on your behalf.

1. Use common sense. First things first: I want to emphasize that many people couldn’t afford to tip every service provider mentioned here all at once. The key is to reflect on the people who consistently come through for you again and again and decide how to thank them. Think about the frequency and quality of their service, as well as the relationship you share. If you tipped them regularly all year, you may feel comfortable forgoing the custom now.

2. Analyze your budget. It’s easy to think that you can’t afford any tipping at this time of year — and to be sure, tipping shouldn’t make you go into debt. But by cutting a few corners, you may be able to afford to tip at least some important people. If you’re really strapped, you could give out plates of cookies with thank you notes, and/or call or write to people’s bosses and put in a good word.

3. Thank child-care providers. Generally speaking, au pairs and nannies could be given one week’s to one month’s salary, and regular babysitters could get one night’s pay. Day-care providers could get a tip of $25 to $70 each. Teachers may not be allowed to accept cash because of school policies, but they could be given gift certificates to restaurants, bookstores or movie theaters, for example. Each of these tips and gifts could be accompanied by a small gift and a handwritten note from your child.

4. Praise the people who give you personal care. Barbers, hairdressers and manicurists could be tipped the cost of one typical appointment. Personal trainers and massage therapists could be tipped up to the cost of one session.

5. Pamper your pet-care providers. If you have a regular dog walker, he or she could get one week’s pay as a tip. If you rely on a pet groomer throughout the year, that person could get up to the cost of one session.

6. Remember providers of specialized health care. Personal caregivers, private nurses and home-health employees could be given up to one week’s salary, but check with their agencies first to make sure you’re not violating a no-tipping policy. If strict rules exist, you can give the person a non-cash gift or make a donation to the agency. Nursing-home employees could receive gifts that the entire floor staff could enjoy, such as flowers, candy or other food items.

7. Don’t forget about folks who care for your home. Housekeepers and cleaners could receive one week’s pay, and pool cleaners could receive the cost of one cleaning. Handymen could get $15 to $40, yard and garden workers could get $20 to $50, and trash collectors could get $10 to $30 each. (If you have municipal trash service, make sure your gift won’t violate local regulations.)

8. Be grateful for your deliveries. Newspaper delivery people could be given $10 to $30. Your letter carrier could receive a gift worth up to $20 – but no cash. If you regularly receive package deliveries, you could give that delivery person a small gift as well. (U.S. postal regulations and many delivery companies’ rules discourage cash tips.)

9. Do you live in a condo or apartment building? Depending on the services provided in your building, you could give your superintendent $20 to $80, your doorman $15 to $80, your elevator operator $15 to $40, and your garage attendant $10 to $30.

10. Be thoughtful. Try to give your tip in person if at all possible, and include a handwritten note along with it. If you’re on the fence about whether to give cash or a different kind of gift, be aware that most people would be especially grateful for some extra money.

Sources and resources:

© 2013 NBCNews.com  Reprints

Discuss:

Discussion comments

,

Most active discussions

  1. votes comments
  2. votes comments
  3. votes comments
  4. votes comments

More on TODAY.com

TODAY's Takeaway
  1. TODAY

    Savannah won’t ‘overshare’; rapping medic cracks up anchors

    4/17/2014 8:38:13 PM +00:00 2014-04-17T20:38:13
  1. After helpful mom accidentally steals car, rightful owner is found

    When Nekisia Davis asked her mom to move her car and her friends' cars while she went on vacation, she didn't expect that she would instead accidentally move the wrong car, prompting the rightful owner to believe her car was stolen.

    4/17/2014 9:14:16 PM +00:00 2014-04-17T21:14:16
  1. Macy's

    Swimmer Ryan Lochte dives into underwear modeling

    4/17/2014 6:29:23 PM +00:00 2014-04-17T18:29:23
  1. Spencer Platt / Getty Images

    Chelsea Clinton is pregnant! Former first daughter expecting first child this year

    4/17/2014 10:32:13 PM +00:00 2014-04-17T22:32:13
  1. Edgard Garrido / Reuters

    Gabriel Garcia Marquez dies at 87

    4/17/2014 8:24:21 PM +00:00 2014-04-17T20:24:21
  1. Have you tried an elimination diet? Weigh in on the food fad

    Could eliminating certain foods from your diet prevent allergies, fatigue, or headaches? Some people think so.

    4/17/2014 8:30:46 PM +00:00 2014-04-17T20:30:46