Money Monday: The Tipping Point

Close up illustration on hand holding sealed envelope or card


The holiday season provides an opportunity for most of us to express gratitude to those who have served us throughout the year.  Tipping is the way we show our thankfulness. While some tipping may seem optional, it really is not in certain circumstances. One positive outcome from Covid-19 this year is that tipping amounts have increased due to the pandemic. I also believe that there is a premium on tipping this year because of inflation. I really didn’t factor that in until I had to tip someone recently.  In 2021, people who have served others are more valued and appreciated. But who should you tip, who should you not tip, how much should you give them and what to do if you can’t provide a tip?

Know the Rules

Folded cash in fingers of handBefore you set out to tip someone, check to see if there are any industry or professional rules which may apply. Example, for delivery service people like Fed Ex, UPS or some trash collectors there are special rules. The best thing you can do is call their corporate offices to learn the tipping policy. The United States Post Office would be a good example since according to federal regulations, any gift to your postman or postwoman, must be less than $20.00 in value. Additionally, gift cards or anything that can be used as cash or cash equivalents are totally prohibited. I recently tipped my postal mail carrier. Let’s just say it was appreciated.

According to the tipping rules of etiquette there are some people or groups you should not tip, like your attorney. (Personally, I think that rule is just a suggestion, or it should be a just a suggestion.) Also, according to the same rules, you should not tip your doctor, financial advisor or accountant. So how can you express appreciation to those individuals? You give them a holiday card or a physical gift instead of a monetary one. The take-away here is to know who to tip and who you should gift during the holidays.

Who and How Much

While there are suggested amounts you should tip various individuals, tipping is an expression and measure of your  gratitude for the service received. If you are having trouble determining how much to give, here is one perspective. According to one report, Gen-Zs plan to give a larger tip to service individuals than people from other generations. Why? Gen-Zs constitute a large section of our service industry individuals and as such, they can identify with or relate to people in those positions or performing those task. Consequently, they are breaking with the traditional suggested amounts for hairdressers, barbers or babysitters and valuing others through increased tipping amounts.  Maybe there is a lesson here for all of us to consider as we show gratitude for the services received this year during the pandemic.

This year Americans plan to tip service providers amounts ranging from $20.00 to $50.00 on average according toFolded cash being placed inside envelope, Here are the suggested amounts:

  • Personal Caregiver:  one week, to one month’s pay, but only if they are full-time. If they part-time you might have to do some math calculations to come up with the amount.
  • Personal trainer: the cost of one session.
  • Housekeeper:  suggested tip is cost of one cleaning session. Now, this can be tricky since each week they may be assigned different task or may be cleaning different parts of the house. You might just want to figure out how many days they come each month and divide that number by the monthly compensation as a base number for tipping.
  • Babysitter: Suggested tip should be the average cost of one sitting. Y
  • Beauty salon: suggested tip should be the cost of one visit. The problem is that your tip has to be divided among all the people who have served you. This tip could be quite expensive, but if they have been keeping you cute all year, I think they deserve something special.



Today’s what’s up is about your health care flexible spending account (FSA). Legislation enacted as a result of Covid-19 provided employers with an opportunity that allows employees an additional twelve months to spend the money in their health care account. Check with your human resources department or supervisor to ensure that you do not have to deplete your account before December 31, 2021. This would be great way to manage your health expense choices both now, or for 2022. And that’s what’s up!


Ruthven R. Phillip, Esq., is a tax attorney, Stewardship and Philanthropy Ministry Assistant, and CEO of Give2Getrich, LLC . Give2Get Rich, LLC 2021. All Rights Reserved. Any distribution or reproduction of part or all of the contents in any form is prohibited.

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