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Holiday guide for all your tipping needs

Monday - 11/26/2012, 2:17pm  ET

WASHINGTON - 'Tis the season for tipping, but sometimes choosing the right amount can be tricky.

Consumer Reports offers a quick tip sheet to help you determine what to give to those people that make your life just a little bit easier:

  • $10: barber

  • $20: teachers, hairdressers, mail and newspaper carriers, manicurists, pet-care providers and sanitation workers

  • $25: gardeners and lawn care crews

  • $50: house cleaners

If the tipping budget is tight this year, Consumer Reports suggests narrowing down who gets money during the holidays. Make a list of those who need it the most, and give an extra week's pay or the cost of one extra session.

Also, avoid gift cards issued by banks. Some of those have hidden fees or expire sooner than expected. If you can't decide how much money is appropriate, pick out small presents rather than tips.

And if your wallet is really tight, a handmade gift or personal thank you note will show how much you appreciate someone's services without breaking the bank.

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(Copyright 2012 by WTOP. All Rights Reserved.)