Tuesday’s need-to-know money news

holiday-tipping-dont-let-it-wipe-you-outToday’s top story: Tips to save more for retirement in 2017. Also in the news: Why the key to saving may be in your head, why skipping a payment at the holidays is a bad idea, and a guide to holiday tipping.

Retirement Anxiety? 3 Tips to Save More in 2017
Starting the new year off on the right foot.

The Key to Saving May Be in Your Head
Time to look inward.

Skip a Payment? Those Offers Are No Holiday for Your Budget
Reading the fine print.

Tips on Holiday Tipping
Who and how much?

Tuesday’s need-to-know money news

Today’s top story: The pros and cons of e-gift cards. Also in the news: Why you’re likely to pay more for auto insurance in 2016, why couples should tackle estate planning now, and a guide to holiday tipping.

Are E-Gift Cards Safe? Here’s What to Know
Making holiday shopping easier.

Here’s Why Your Auto Insurance Will Likely Cost More Next Year
Get ready for higher rates.

5 Ways Couples Can Tackle Estate Planning Now
Don’t put it off.

How Big a Tip to Give for the Holidays
Who should get what.

Holiday tipping: what you really need to know

Holiday tipsWriting about holiday tipping for MSN was always a bit fraught, mostly because a fair number of people every year seemed to think I invented the practice–and resented me deeply for it.

Here’s the scoop, per the Emily Post Institute: Holiday tipping exists. It’s a thing, in every region of the country. Who you tip and how much varies by your situation, your budget and where you live (“Tipping averages tend to be higher in big cities,” the Post Institute advises.)

In the Weston household, we tip the people who make our lives easier throughout the year who aren’t regularly tipped at the time of service. That includes newspaper deliverers (yes, we still have those), the mow-and-blow guys (called “gardeners” elsewhere), our house-sitter and our cleaning lady. The tips generally equal the cost of one week’s service, with something extra for the folks who have been with us a long time.

I’d feel pretty weird about not tipping them, to be honest. If I can afford to pay for their services throughout the year, I can certainly come up with a little “thank you” at year’s end.

If your budget really can’t accommodate cash tips, the Post Institute says it’s okay to substitute a handmade gift or (at the very least) a handwritten note of thanks. It’s all about taking a minute to say “I appreciate you.”

But nothing says that quite like cash.