Tips on Tipping

Have you ever been pondering a decision when, strangely, you start noticing “God nudges” to help you make that decision? My thoughts the last few days have been about what to pen for this month’s Spend Life Wisely article on Financial Well-being. 

Approaching the "Dog Days of Summer’s" unrelenting heat with seemingly no end in sight, the only bright spot on the horizon is college football. Since my family’s love for college football with Saturdays spent watching “College Game Day” early in the morning to late PAC 10 games is right around the corner, this article could easily be focused on the pre-season top 25 schools. But, alas, a sports article this is not. 

The “nudges” God has been putting in my path may not be quite as exciting to some as a last-second touchdown though equally as important, but apparently not discussed often enough. 

The tip I have to share with you is about…TIPPING! With more and more frequency, tip jars are finding their way to check-out counters across America. In days gone by, a tip jar in a restaurant specifically for the cook was unheard of. Tips were left on the table to be subtly distributed by the wait staff after the customer left. 

Times have changed, and now there seems to be a tip jar or expectation of a tip for many businesses. These days, tips are expected regardless of how well the service given actually was. For most, knowing what, when, and how much to tip can be bewildering to even the savviest among us. Let’s attack this subject from several different angles.

The “nudges” that were in my path about tipping began several weeks back, while previewing a short Dave Ramsey debt-free scream video of a couple from around my hometown of Tyler, Texas. This young couple paid off over $111K in debt (not including their home) in just over 5 years by living on a spending plan and throwing any extra money on their debt. What dedication and commitment this couple had to realize incredible financial freedom for themselves and their three young daughters. Absolutely amazing!

So what does becoming debt free have to do with tipping? In the video, they talk about being able to OVER-tip and bless others now that they have no debt except for their home. Being able to get their debt paid off now allows them to bless others in ways never imagined before. 

As I sat down to begin writing this article, I began with a prayer to ask God’s Holy Spirit to bring together in a wonderful way the “nudges” I was perceiving from Him about tipping. Just as I finished praying, immediately a new email popped up on my screen from Scott and Bethany Palmer, “The Money Couple,” and I clicked on it to see what topics they were discussing. You guessed it! At the bottom of the email was a great article about tipping! 

The article talked about "tipping etiquette” for many different situations such as the Uber driver, the restaurant wait staff, hotel housekeeping (yes, it’s a thing), salon stylist and manicurist, and of course, the pizza delivery guy. Be sure and check out their article to see how your tipping manners compare. Another great resource for how much to tip comes from CNN Money’s article, “How much to tip.”

Another “nudge” that occurred recently was a different email from Larry Burkett’s Crown Ministry. The email appeared in my inbox with a a link to an article by Arielle Vogel called, “Why you should care about tipping.” Ms. Vogel discusses how important it is for Christians to be generous in our tipping because “God is abundantly generous to us. Why aren’t we eager to be generous to others? It all belongs to God anyway.” Good call, Ms. Vogel, and one we all need to take to heart.

Ms. Vogel goes on to quote Luke 6:30, 37-38 “Do to others as you would have them do to you…give, and it will be given to you. Good measure, pressed down, shaken together, running over, will be put into your lap. For with the measure you use it will be measured back to you (emphasis added).” These verses should put tipping in a totally different perspective for each of us.

While in college, both of our daughters waited tables for spending money. They both dreaded the Sunday after-church crowd because of the notorious Bible verse or gospel-tract-instead-of-a-tip patron. Unfortunately, that happens more than it ever should no matter the day of the week. Those that are not freely blessing and giving to others give a black eye to those who joyfully and generously do.

Remember the couple from Tyler, TX that is now debt free and able to over-tip? They developed a spending plan and stuck to it to become debt free. In devising a monthly budget, all of us need to plan to be generous and factor in tips for areas that call for a tip. If you would like help in developing your own monthly spending plan/budget, visit Spend Life Wisely for a helpful and simple budgeting tool.

Ms. Vogel’s article points out the importance to “be disciplined to keep a budget so you can give extravagantly.” Taking that a step further...God is a giver who is generous and extravagant beyond measure. He gave his Son for each of us. That is extravagant generosity and grace that not even one of us could ever earn, and that’s the REAL tip of the day.

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