Are Your Tipping Habits Normal?

Are Your Tipping Habits Normal?

I know I'm not alone in saying: I love my hair stylist. She's transformed my blah locks into colorful creations I previously could only dream of. Visiting her is a splurge I save up for every few months, but given she spends upwards of four hours with me every time, leaving her a 20% tip feels like a no-brainer, even if that means upping my final bill by $50 to $80 per visit.

And it turns out my habits are pretty average, according to a new poll on tipping from CreditCards.com. Hair stylists and barbers were the second-most tipped grouped, with 62% respondents saying they always leave gratuity for grooming services, versus only 12% who never do.

Far and away, though, the group most likely to receive a tip are restaurant wait staff. Four out of five people always tip, which means one of you has stiffed the bill at least some of the time? Not cool.

Among the LearnVest editors, gratuity becomes a grayer area when it comes to morning lattes and hotel stays: the survey found 29% of people say they always tip their barista, and 30% never do. I count myself in the "sometimes" group — when I do tip for a caffeine pick-me-up, it's usually because I'm paying via Square, and when the auto-popup asks how much gratuity I want to leave, I feel too guilty saying "none" (my colleagues do, too).

It's interesting, though, considering we all agree that tipping a few bucks when a bartender concocts a drink for us is mandatory.

For hotel housekeeping, 27% of guests always tip the staff, versus 31% who never do. Admittedly, I fall into the "never" subset — until this morning, I didn't even realize it was a thing! I guess I can partly blame my lack of hotel stays as a kid, considering tipping is a habit often learned from family, says Richard Feinberg, a professor at Purdue University who's studied the topic. “A lot of tipping behavior is learned behavior; you learn from watching your parents, so if your parents don’t do it, how do you learn?” he told CreditCards.com.

For those of us who do know the practice, it's not always top of mind — a few editors noted they've only remembered to leave a housekeeping tip when they've stayed with another person who does so on a regular basis.

This general guide to tipping etiquette can ease some of the confusion. Because we all get that panicked feeling, usually between the time the bill arrives and when you hastily pull out your calculator, of how much is the right amount.

One thing we can all agree on? Remember when ordering a meal or a service to account for gratuity in your budget from the get-go! Even if it takes you a little longer to save for it, it could mean better service in the long run.

RELATED: 12 Drinking and Dining Hacks From Restaurant Insiders

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