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How Much And Who To Tip This Holiday Season

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It's the season for giving and the Money Matters report has some tips on holiday tipping. Shazia Khan filed the following report.

A Consumer Reports survey conducted at the end of last year's holiday season found that despite the economy, Americans remained generous holiday tippers.

“The rate of tipping and the amount of tip really hasn't changed since about 2008, which shows that people really are interested in giving and they appreciate the service that they give,” says Tobie Stanger a senior editor at Consumer Reports. “That said about 40 percent of people that we surveyed, we surveyed about 1800 people nationwide, and about 40 percent said they are not tipping at all”

So who should get a tip?

“It's very personal, it could have to do with someone who's provided very good service to you, it could be someone who gives a regular service to you or people in your family or maybe even your pet,” Stanger says.
If tipping is possible, experts say cash is king, so be sure to budget for it. Now while the amount depends on what the consumer can afford, there are recommendations for those who provide a personal service - like caregivers, dog walkers and salon professionals.

“You provide equal to one week's pay if they are doing a job over several weeks or every week or equal to one session. So if you got a house cleaner and you're paying a house cleaner say $50, $60 or $75 a week to come, that would be a rule of thumb but of course you can give more or give less ,” Stanger says.

For teachers, check the school district's policy.

Apartment dwellers have more than one group to tip.

“There are three main groups you need to take care of in a full service doorman building,” says Teri Rogers, the founder of brickunderground.com. “Starting with the super or resident manager you tip them the most, the average range being about $75 to $175. Then the door staff, the average range being $25 to $150 per door person and then the porters who typically get somewhere around $20 to $30 dollars apiece.”

Where in that range an apartment dweller falls depends on a number of factors.

"One of the biggest things is how big your building staff is,” says Rogers. “The bigger the building’s staff the smaller the individual tip. Another is how long you've lived in the building, another one is how senior the staff is. A brand new doorman may get half as much as a senior doorman. How much do you use the services? Do you have a busy family of five or are you working all day and you live alone? And then there is also renters vs. owners. Renters as a whole tend to tip less.”

For some, tipping just isn't feasible this year and experts say a handwritten, heartfelt note goes a long way.

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