Research of the Week: How Much Should You Tip in 2017?

Credit and debit users are some of the people that tip the most, but how much should you tip people these days, and where?

Each week, Consolidated Credit searches for financial research that can help you deal with your debt and budget. This week…

The interesting study

A new poll by CreditCards.com asked questions about tipping. How much do you tip? Where? When? Then they broke all of the responses up according to key demographics.

The big result

The following groups leave median tips for 20% when dining out:

  • Men
  • Republicans
  • Northeasterners
  • Baby Boomers
  • Anyone who uses a credit or debit card to tip

The fascinating details

How much should you tip when you're at a restaurant?According to the results, 4 out of 5 Americans say they always give a restaurant tip. The median tip amount is 18%. So, those big tippers mentioned above aren’t that far above the national median. That shows that, in general, most Americans now tip more than the standard 12-15% historical recommendation.

As a woman who usually tips around 20%, I was surprised my gender lagged behind men. However, the poll found 59% of men tipped 15% or more, but only 47% of women did.

Here’s a look at who else most Americans tip or don’t tip:

  • 67% of people tip their hair stylist or barber; only 12% never do
  • 25% of us tip our barista, but 30% say they never tip for their morning Joe
  • 27% of people tip the housekeeping staff at a hotel, but 31% never do

Interestingly enough, women tip all three of those categories of people more than men:

  • 79% of women tip stylists, compared to 74% of men
  • 46% of women tip baristas, but only 41% of men
  • 47% of women tip hotel housekeeping, while only 33% of men do

So why are men tipping more at restaurants, while women tip other service staff? Michael Lynn, a gratuity trends expert at Cornell University points to several reasons:

  1. Men may tip more at restaurants from a desire to impress their dinner companions, be it a date or business client
  2. Women may feel more empathy towards service staff roles that are traditionally held by women, such as housekeeping

Finally, if you use a card to pay, you’re more likely to tip:

  • 91% of credit card users tip every time
  • 88% of debit users always tip
  • Only 76% of cash payers tip out every time

What you can do

“Tipping is something that should factor into your budget costs, particularly when you travel,” says April Lewis-Parks, Financial Education Director for Consolidated Credit. “You don’t want to stiff service staff, who often make  minimum wage or less. But you also don’t want to go overboard and bust your budget being overly generous – especially just to impress your date.”

Lewis-Parks says people should rely on Tipping Guides that you can find online. RealSimple offers a handy visual guide to tipping for easy reference. When traveling, Lewis-Parks says you should check these kinds of guides, then make sure to bring enough cash accordingly.

You can find more travel tips in this video:

Press Inquiries

April Lewis-Parks
Director of Education and Public Relations

AParks@consolidatedcredit.org
1-800-728-3632 x 9344