Your 2014 Holiday Tipping Guide

holiday budget with moneyAh, the holiday season… it’s a time filled with hot chocolate, perfectly packaged gifts, family traditions, and a general outpouring of generosity. If you’re an apartment dweller, this time of year can be both magical and stressful all at once, especially when you’re dealing with a limited budget and a first go-around with the concept of “holiday tipping.” What is it? Why do we do it? Whom do you tip? How much do you give? We break it down.

In the most basic terms possible, holiday tipping is simply a nice way to thank those that do a lot for you during the year by giving a monetary gift. This can be your doorman, the individual who tidies up your apartment every few weeks, your regular dog walker, your favorite barista, etc. Basically, it comes down showing the people around you that you’ve noticed and appreciated the small things that they’ve done to make your life better. In a way, tipping (the word comes from ‘to insure promptness’) is all the wrong word — I think “thanking gifts” work much better. So, with the what and the why out the way, let’s turn to some blogs past to cover the whom and how.

Whom you decide to bestow with a gift and how much you decide to contribute depends entirely on your personal situation. For example, blogger Elyse, who at the time of her first holiday tipping, was a student, didn’t have a doorman or a super, or a regular coffee guy, didn’t tip at all. And, that was okay. If you’re in a similar boat where finances are tight and there’s no special people to tip, it’s A-okay to opt out. But, if you’re working a decent job and have some people in your life (like our blogger Alyssa who found tipping her coffee cart guy and a worker at her favorite salad joint a rewarding experience) who you want to surprise with a caring thank you, holiday tipping is always appreciated.

That said, if you’re lucky enough to live in a place where you have a super and a doorman, holiday tipping is customary and good etiquette. It might seem crazy if you’re not familiar with the practice, but the good news is if you have a roommate or roommates, you can always split costs. Additionally, if cash gifts are outside of your limits, bottles of wine, gift cards, cookies, etc. work just fine. For more a comprehensive guide and when and whom to tips, click out this handy blog here.

Now, the biggie — how much to tip. It’s not as complicated as you might think. This super helpful infographic shows the average tipping ranges for 2011, and thankfully the suggested ranges are workable no matter your holiday budget, even in 2014. And, if you’ve done holiday tipping before, there’s more good news: as this blog explains, long as you haven’t lost your job, tipping the same amount is perfectly acceptable. When it comes time to figure out how much to tip, our best advice is to stick with what you can afford.

Well, that’s it folks! See? Holiday tipping isn’t all that scary after all.

Happy holidays!

~Audra & The My First Apartment Team

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Author My First Apartment

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Audra is a recent college graduate and an aspiring writer based in her home state of Georgia. She’s a lover of the sweetest Southern tea, warm weather, and decorating with lots of color, DIY projects, and shabby chic pieces. Her apartment living journey is still young, so she’s busy navigating the ups and downs and learning along the way. For more from Audra, follow her on Pinterest or check out her website

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