How Much to Tip: Smart & Simple Basics

Nov 20, 2020 | Finances, Shopping Tips

You just ordered an awesome meal, got your hair cut, or grabbed your delivery. Yikes!!!! You didn't think it would be THAT much! We get that it's tempting to skip the tip, but think twice! Read below for our handy guide on why tips are critical and how much you should pay your people. We also share when you don't have to tip!

woman tipping at the hair salon from Fun Cheap or Free

We know that it can be a challenge to make those budget dollars stretch oh. so. tight. Yes, there are probably some unnecessary costs in your budget that you can trim out. One cost that you should NOT cut out is tips!

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We love showing appreciation in the form of dolla dolla bills, and hope you do, too. In order to keep yourself firmly on the “good side” of those service providers, use our handy guidelines below to know what is customary. For even more etiquette ideas relating to tipping, check out this handy article from Real Simple magazine.


We know that it can be a challenge to fit so many things into the budget. We understand that some costs need to be cut and we're all for that! However, there is one little expense that we hope you will keep in the budget: Tips!

Tipping service providers is such an important cultural service. It is a monetary way of showing your thanks to the people who serve you for a job well done.

Often, a significant portion of the providers income comes through tips. Many people, especially restaurant employees, earn a lower base wage and make up the rest of their income with the tips they receive. Since it is a huge part of their livelihood, it's important to know what is customary. Here is your handy guide to what's suggested for most of your major service providers.


how much to tip a barista with a tip jar from Fun Cheap or Free

Heading out to eat? Fun!!!! Can we come? There are several key people that you may encounter on your restaurant visit to acknowledge for their service. Here are the guidelines for tipping at restaurants:

  • Waiter/Server – 15-20% depending on the quality of service.
  • Bartender – Again, depending on the service, 15-20% of the bill. Those Shirley Temples aren't going to make themselves! 😉
  • Barista – $0.50 to $1, but only if they handmake the drink. We love a good fancy topping on our hot chocolate!
  • Restroom Attendants – Did you know they can do handy tasks such as mending a hem? Tip restroom attendants based on the level of service they provide to you, between $0.50-$3.
  • Coat Checks – $1-$2 only when the coat check is complimentary; no tip if there is a fee to check your coat.
  • Valet – There's a great rule of thumb to leave $1 per every $10,000 the car is worth.

Restaurant employees often earn a large portion of their income from tips, so be as generous as you can afford!


Man, isn't delivery just the most amazing thing? The fact that you can order something and then sit comfortably in your home while you wait for another person to bring it to you is just the best. Tell your deliverers how much they mean to you by giving a little extra to the following people.

  • Pizza Delivery – We all love pizza. Show your driver some love with an extra 10-20% of the price of your pie.
  • Takeout Delivery – Give $5-10 to your Doordash delivery person for dashing that food to you.
  • Grocery Delivery – Isn't it wonderful? Give these amazing peeps 5-20% of the total bill.
  • Furniture Delivery – If the deliverers are from a third-party company, then $10 to $20 per person is customary.

We will continue to sing the praises of the wonderful people who bring us things. We know you do, too!


how much to tip a babysitter from Fun Cheap or Free

This is the group of providers that keep mamas happy. Nothing is better than a great housekeeper, babysitter, or dog walker, right?! They whisk themselves in and take a load off your mind by helping you out around the house. Bless them. Here's what you can do to show these people how much you love them.

  • Babysitter It's not required, but many families tip an extra $10-$20 to a great babysitter. (P.S. Get some great tips for how to budget for your childcare in this post!)
  • Dog Walker Tell that walker thanks by giving them an extra 10-20% to walk Fido.
  • Housecleaner or Maid Service – Give that amazing housecleaner some credit and 15-20% as a thank you.
  • Garbage and Recycling Drivers – These guys work hard all year long, regardless of the weather, so a tip, especially during the holidays, is highly appreciated!

Can you even imagine having a clean house, alone time away from the kiddos, and a happy, exercised dog without having to lift a finger? We must be in heaven, right?


A girl's got to look good, right?! Make sure to keep the people happy who keep you looking extra gorgeous. Here are the customary amounts to tip your glam squad:

  • Hairstylist/Barber – 10-20% of the total cost will keep your hairstylist happy.
  • Nail Technician – 15-20% of service for getting those mani/pedis.
  • Massage Therapist – 15-20% of service is suggested. A great massage therapist is definitely worth every penny.
  • Tattoo Artist – 15-20% is customary for the artist giving you ink.
  • Dog Groomer – Your pet needs to look good, too, so give your groomer 15-20% of the cost of service.

Man, you look good, girl! Your beauty person really has your back, so we hope you have theirs. Be generous in tipping what they truly deserve.


woman pulling her suitcase and getting into a taxi from Fun Cheap or Free

Yay, you! You're on your way to a day (or more) of leisure or travel. Take along a little extra cash so you can give generously to those who provide you with service along the way.

  • Driver – Tip your Uber, Lyft, or cab drivers between 10-20%.
  • Hotel Housekeeper – $1 per person per night.
  • Room Service – 15-20% of the meal cost.
  • Cruise Staff – $10-$12 per day per passenger depending on the cruise line.
  • Golf Caddy – Ask the head pro what is customary at the course.

Pro Tip: If you're leaving a tip for your housekeeper, we recommend leaving an envelope with cash each day in your room. You may have a different housekeeper for different days of your stay. Check out this post for more great tips for traveling on a budget.


Now that you know where it's customary to leave a tip, you may be wondering one thing: When is it ok to NOT leave a tip? Here are a few people and services where tips are not expected.

  • Grocery pickup
  • Takeout pickup
  • Appliance repairmen
  • Laundry service
  • Tailor or Seamstress
  • Carpet cleaner
  • Electrician
  • Plumber
  • Mailman

A great rule of thumb to consider when deciding if a tip is necessary is to ask whether “cost of labor” is already figured as a portion of the total price. If it is, then it's likely that a tip is not necessary.

Gratitude is such a powerful concept and tipping is a physical way to show that gratitude. Let's spread the love around and show people that we appreciate them and they've made our day better.

What is YOUR favorite service that someone provides for you? Leave a comment below and share.

Image with text that reads "tipping guide for 24+ services" from Fun Cheap or Free

Looking for more fun ways to connect with others? Check out these articles.

Stay classy!


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