Tips for Saving your Tips!
Oh, TIPPING. One of the personal finance community’s most controversial topics is the focus of today’s blog post! But instead of the standard, cyclical ‘Who should you tip, and why and how much?‘ debate, this post is going to focus on the RECEIVERS of said tip, and tips for saving your tips! (Because I swear I can’t find any consensus about this anywhere!)
It’s no surprise to anybody who reads this blog regularly that I have multiple streams of income. I have a full time day job, I occasionally take weekend jobs here or there, I sometimes write for others and I tend bar casually at a concert hall. The latter one is a recent change, because previously I was just an usher. The best part of moving up to a new position in a job I already had? I get to keep my regular wage that I earned as an usher, and now I have the added bonus of receiving tips.*
When I used to work concession and coat check, tips were maybe the cost of a beer and a burger. Sometimes less on a quiet night? Those tips I simply pocketed and used as coffee money. But now that I’m serving the elixir of life (booze), my tips are higher. HOWEVER, I’m not a regular. I work once a week, maybe twice if I’m able. So this is a fluctuating source of income that can also vary based on the audience, the attendance and even the weather. Since it’s not always reliable, I don’t factor it into my budget for the month, but that doesn’t mean I’m not saving it.
For somebody with multiple sources of income, I really like that tips represent a ‘bonus’ of sorts. Customers like my banter, my charm, my knowledge and humour, and tip me accordingly. I know that many of them tip out of expectation but it’s nice to know that my personality has a part to play too. For that purpose, I’d like to have a little ‘fun’ with that money. But I also want this ‘bonus’ money to factor into my financial goals too.
My Current Tip Strategy
I do a split.
Anytime I make over $100 in a night, I put away 80% of it.
If I make less than $100, I withdraw a $20 and deposit the rest.
There’s just something about having a spare $20 that is so appealing to me. (Can you tell I used to be CRAZY frugal?) $20 represents 3-4 drinks, or dinner and drinks, or a movie and snacks, or a new book and a coffee. It’s a nice amount to spend on some simple luxury, so I like the idea of keeping a $20 at minimum to give myself a little splurge after working so much. The rest I plop straight into one of my savings accounts. I also track all my tips accordingly so I’m going to make a graph after a few months to see how money from tips improves my savings goals.
Remember, this is all the opinion of a person using this as a side-job, not a full-time job. So YMMV.
*I know, I’m super lucky that I work at a place that pays me an AMAZING regular wage on top of tips. I feel like the service industry would have more long-term staff if this was the situation everywhere. Many of my coworkers in F&B are some of the people who have worked there the longest. Well-compensated staff stay and improve customer experience for everybody! Who knew?
Do you have a job in the service economy? How are you saving your tips?