Tips for Holiday Tipping on a Budget

by Reader Contributors

Holiday Tipping on a Budget photo

You can show your appreciation this holiday season without blowing your budget. Our frugal readers share their favorite holiday tipping tips.

Dear Dollar Stretcher,
I’m curious if people still tip their mail carrier, newspaper delivery person, trash and recycling collectors, etc., during the holidays. Who is it customary to tip and how much?

I don’t want to seem like Scrooge, but I am on a budget. Is it acceptable to give non-cash gifts like homemade cookies or candies? I’d love if your readers could give some of their tips for holiday tipping on a budget.

It’ll Be Appreciated

Yes, it is not only acceptable, but in today’s rather callous world of people ignoring so many, it’s much appreciated. Except for your UPS or FedEx driver, most of the people who provide you services regularly aren’t making two arms and a leg. So, if you can’t give them cash (which they really do need), then at least make the effort to say thank you with something tastefully and beautifully presented

Last year, I found out I was the only person who tipped my garbage man. Can you guess who gets extra help getting the bags out when I can’t?

Just Show That You Care

Being a newspaper carrier, I really look forward to holiday tips. It helps me feel that people appreciate what I do every day for them. It doesn’t have to be cash. Cookies, candy, etc., show that you care. I love getting cookies or other snacks since I work most of the afternoon.

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Holiday Tips Helped Me Save for My First Home

While I don’t tip the mailman or the trash collector, I do tip my newspaper carrier. I have The New York Times delivered, and about 35 years ago, I delivered this paper as a second job to save for our first home. I got up at 3 a.m. every morning seven days a week, 365 days a year including holidays to make sure my customers received their paper. Although I was paid as a contractor, I looked forward to my “holiday” tips every year. I was lucky as I delivered to a wealthy area that had some very generous customers. So while I don’t tip others, I definitely tip the paper carrier!

How Our Northern Neighbors Tips

I’m Canadian. We don’t tip as frequently as Americans or as much. I leave cookies for the paper boy and the mail carrier.
Kathleen in Ontario

Let Them Know You Are Paying Attention

To the mail carrier and paper delivery man, I usually give homemade candy and a gas card. To the garbage and recycling guys, I give homemade candy and usually a bottle of green tea. To my lawn people, I give them extra at the end of their work day. They all appreciate any homemade items. It makes them feel good to know someone is paying attention to what they do.

Be Aware of What They Can Accept When Holiday Tipping

I generally don’t tip public employees. For many, it is not legal for them to accept gratuities. However, cookies or other homemade goodies are a nice gesture.

Reviewed November 2022

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