Thoughts on tipping


Today as I was leaving the nail salon there was a woman in front of me. I don’t know what she got done, but her total was $55. The receptionist asked her, “Would you like to add a tip?”. She thought about it for a second, “yes”, she said. “For how much?”, the receptionist replied. And then she took a breath and thought…Long and hard. Finally, she responded, “Um, $5”. Wait, what ? $5? You really had to think that long about leaving such a small tip?

I haven’t been going to this place very long, but every time I tip just above 20%. So for a $30 Gel manicure, I’ll leave $7. Right before writing this, I had to Google “How much to tip at the nail salon?”. General consensus from the first page of Google search was anywhere from 15% for a basic manicure upwards to 25% for more complicated nail services, like gel. Note to self, increase tip by $1 next nail trip.

I’m not telling this story to pat myself on the back for leaving a hard-working, talented, yet severely underpaid individual a tip. But, I will be clear on my belief: Don’t skimp on tipping. Is it really that hard? If you can afford the manicure, cocktail, dinner, haircut [fill in the blank with your luxury of choice!], then you can afford the tip. When I was a kid, my mom taught me that 15% tip was standard and 20% was OUTstanding. Now, I think it goes without saying that 20% is the STANDARD, and anything more is outstanding. There are certain exceptions to the rule—a Starbucks run may be some loose change or a $1, take-out a few bucks, but in general the 20% rule applies.

People in the service industry work their little tails off—usually doing some sort of physical work + mental work (dealing with cray cray customers) for what ends up being a small and pitiful base salary… AKA these people live on tips. They might be scrubbing your feet, or serving you food/drinks galore. Whatever their job, they deserve to live in dignity. I think what especially bothered me in today’s nail salon situation was because it wasn’t just a high school/college kid waiting tables for some extra fun $$ (or hell, maybe they really NEED the $ too!), but these are full-blown adults who have families and children to support.

Personally, I’m chasing down the last 1/3 of my debt. I’m so close I can taste it. But, never will I ever decide to get to the finish line faster by skimping on tipping. Most of the time, I like to give people the benefit of the doubt when I see them undertipping. Maybe they don’t know the conventions? Maybe they themselves never worked in the service industry nor had loved ones who did ? Maybe they never had to worry about money? So maybe, just maybe, the woman who gave the very small tip today was one of those people…

What do you tip for services?


Wisdebther Weekly Spending 10/22/17-10/28/17

My third weekly spending has arrived! I’m liking the process and routine of it all. I block out some time every Sunday to review—usually with some wine! Then, I pay off my credit cards, tally my weekly expenses, add expenses to the month’s total, and reflect on where I am in terms of my debt. Each tiny little step is becoming slightly more exciting, liberating, and also a little scary. I think I’m finally getting to a place where I’m good at monitoring the cash flow and now I just need to get the budgeting piece down (ideally, before the debt is gone!!). I’ve mentioned previously that the food/drink area of my spending is where I struggle most. For next week’s report, you will hopefully see that I’m being more cognizant and learning from my mistakes. Without further ado, here is this week’s spending …


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Wisdebther Weekly Spending 10/15/17-10/21/17

Happy Sunday!! I am scratching my head wondering where this weekend went?! Cooler temps are headed towards Florida this week, which will be welcomed with open arms. A change of pace for a few days is exactly what I need.

Meanwhile in $$ land, it was mostly an unremarkable week, which is more good than bad. I spent less than $40 outside the house (i.e. “Funtivities”), but certainly racked up a bit of a high tab in the Food & Drink category. I attribute this to poor planning of when the weekly haul of grocery shopping would occur. I had three little ‘mini’ trips towards mid/end week that ended up costing a total of $61.76. I’m no longer in denial that I’m spending way too much on food, but I also do a great job of rationalizing it—for example, my little spending devil will say “It’s still cheaper than going out to eat”. This may have some, but also limited truth since quite frankly I’m spending WAY too much. For November, I’m aiming for <$100 a week…

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Half Marathon Prep

Paying off my student has been a bit like a marathon, so I decided to sign up for a real one! Well not quite, but a half marathon in February 2018. Running a half marathon has been on my bucket list nearly my whole 20s, so I’ve decided to give it a go before the clock strikes on the BIG 3-0. There are a few reasons why I think tackling this fitness goal will be beneficial to my finances:

Saving money on group fitness classes: As I work from home, I find group fitness to be a good social outlet. To be frank, a lot of times it is not even about socializing per say, but just being out in society with other humans—I’m not a total hermit I swear! Currently, I spend anywhere from $150-200 per month on fitness classes, mainly boot camp and cycle classes. During training, I’ll be running 3 times per week and have the other 4 days to fills with cross-training and yoga. While I won’t give up these group fitness classes completely, I will certainly be cutting down. My aim would be to hover this < $100 of my monthly spending.

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Wisdebther Weekly Spending 10/08/17-10/14/17

I can’t believe October is already half-over. I’ve had the luxury of time this month to really focus on where the hell my $$ is going. I’m about a month into my weekly tracking and figured that sharing it here in a short and sweet summary would be just another way to hold me accountable.

My categories are mostly self-explanatory, aside from “Funtivity”. This is the word Juan and I use to describe any outside activity/spending that is “fun” based. “Funtivity” runs a gamut including coffee shop, drinks/dinner out, a concert, beach day, or basically any other recreational FUN only activity. Although I also consider exercise to be fun (well, sometimes), I put that in its own Health and Wellness category. That said, I arbitrarily chose these categories and am aware that it may not be quite as obvious to the outside observer. I feel a bit naked sharing this, but that’s probably a good thing, right? Ok , deep breath here we go…

Spending re-cap: Clearly, the spending was high this week (AKA cash flow in the Neg). But, after factoring out that extra loan payment, which also allowed me to say bye bye to a whole Loan, my spending was $241.33. The food category is deceivingly low, since I spent quite a lot the week prior, >$100. This was because I had a guest in town and always try to make sure the house is well-stocked with snacks and drinks! In terms of my household expenses ($81.46), that was actually a trip mixed in with a few self-maintenance items (e.g. face wash, toothpaste, body wash). However, I lost the Walmart receipt and I’m trying not to let perfect be the enemy of good ;0).

Unless I hit the lottery, my spending this October has me in the Red. Yet, I don’t feel too down about it. I’m feeling closer and closer to the finish line of debt free and that feeling has got me amped and ready to go! If I can get this budget thing down pat before my debt is gone-zo, I’ll feel ready to conquer the world! Ok, in reality, just my personal finances if I’m lucky…

Until next time, Wisedebther to live better! xo

Debt Organization Part II

Back in July, I committed to a number(ish): $7000-8000. This is the range I decided would be feasible for me to pay off before the curtain closes on 2017. And so far, so good…

I have paid off $4,508 since the summer. This means I have less than $4K to go to reach the highest point of my goal. I have eliminated 4 loans in their entirety since 2017 began and ONLY have 3 loans left [All $4-5K]. In total, I have $13,455.61 before being officially debt free! Woo hoo!

Saying the goal ($7,000-8,000) is the easy part. To my surprise, the other easy part is paying the loan. I find it oddly satisfying to see that number dwindling away, bit by bit. Anyone else feel the same? Now the HARD part has been actually tracking my cash flow…

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