Tips on tip­ping: How much you should give dur­ing the hol­i­days

Calgary Herald - - FINANCIAL POST - ALEK­SAN­DRA SA­GAN

Dur­ing the hol­i­day sea­son there’s lots of pres­sure not to be a Scrooge when it comes to giv­ing gifts, but de­ter­min­ing how gen­er­ous to be with tips can get tricky.

Cana­di­ans visit a slew of ser­vice peo­ple each year they can likely af­ford to give a lit­tle ex­tra to dur­ing the hol­i­days, ex­perts say, and there are some sim­ple eti­quette rules to help cus­tomers suss out who to gift and how much.

But be­fore giv­ing any tips, peo­ple should know their hol­i­day bud­get, said Mar­garet Page, an eti­quette ex­pert based in Delta, B.C.

She rec­om­mends putting aside a set amount of money and say­ing, “’This is what I’m pre­pared to spend on tip­ping and this is what I’m pre­pared to spend on gift giv­ing.”’

Know­ing bud­getary con­straints can help pre­vent over-spend­ing, some­thing more than half of Cana­di­ans an­tic­i­pate do­ing this win­ter, ac­cord­ing to a CIBC on­line poll.

Cana­di­ans plan to spend an aver­age $643 on hol­i­day shop­ping this year and $291 on ad­di­tional ex­penses, like decor and en­ter­tain­ing, ac­cord­ing to the bank’s on­line sur­vey of 1,512 Cana­dian adults con­ducted on Nov. 27 and 28.

Once a bud­get is in place, a per­son’s life­style then dic­tates how many peo­ple will have to be tipped out of it, ac­cord­ing to Toronto eti­quette ex­pert Louise Fox.

“It’s (for) those peo­ple in your life that help you out on a reg­u­lar ba­sis through­out the year,” she said.

For some, that could in­clude a hair dresser or bar­ber, house cleaner, babysit­ter or nanny, and dog­walker. For oth­ers, that list ex­tends to a chauf­feur, per­sonal chef, fit­ness trainer or mas­sage ther­a­pist.

How­ever, it’s im­por­tant to be aware some pro­fes­sion­als, like doc­tors or teach­ers, may not be per­mit­ted to ac­cept gifts, said Page. It’s best to check with their or­ga­ni­za­tion for any rules, she said, or to in­stead drop off a box of choco­lates or other del­i­ca­cies at the per­son’s of­fice for ev­ery­one to share.

For peo­ple who pro­vide a reg­u­lar ser­vice through­out the year and re­ceive a tip each time, Page added, it’s nice to dou­ble the amount dur­ing a hol­i­day visit.

But for those who don’t re­ceive a tip reg­u­larly, like a news­pa­per de­liv­ery per­son, she sug­gests gift­ing them the cost of one ser­vice.

The gift should come in a card and “I wouldn’t even men­tion the word tip,” she said.

In­stead of money, some­times it can be nice to of­fer a gift in­stead.

The polling in­dus­try’ s pro­fes­sional body, the Mar­ket­ing Re­search and In­tel­li­gence As­so­ci­a­tion, says on­line sur­veys can’t be as­signed a mar­gin of er­ror be­cause they don’t ran­domly sam­ple the pop­u­la­tion.

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