Dining Out Lifestyle

Pressing Questions: Cash or Charge?

Today will be a busy day.  By now, you may know that I’m back in New York, and I’m attending a taping of Anderson Cooper’s afternoon show this morning.  And later today, I’ll be catching up with some friends from California who are here this weekend too.  It’s going to be a busy day, but I have to ask an important question.  Okay, actually it’s a completely random and slightly irrelevant, but it’s on my mind so I’m asking.

When you leave a tip, do you write it in or leave cash?  In your opinion, is one way more proper that the other? I’ve never worked in the food service industry, but I would guess that their preference would be to receive cash.  Am I off base, or do you agree?  Just wondering…


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  • Reply
    March 8, 2012 at 12:14 am

    as a safety measure, I probably wouldn’t put something with your signature online for anyone to be able to duplicate.

    • Reply
      March 8, 2012 at 11:02 am

      Good call. I kept the numbers out, but I took your advice and blurred my signature. Thanks.

  • Reply
    March 8, 2012 at 12:48 am

    I tend to write it in, mostly because I never have cash. Which ends up working out for the server/bartender because I tend to round up when I’m writing, lol. Cash is probably ‘better,’ though, whenever possible because tips have to be declared on your taxes, and you can’t ‘accidentally’ round down (aka, I made 80 on credit card receipts and 20 cash I HAVE to declare the 80 and might ‘forget’ I made that other 20) when it’s in writing…

  • Reply
    Lindsey Beard
    March 8, 2012 at 1:08 am

    I’m from MN so I’m not entirely sure if there is difference in other states. My sister used to be a waitress. If you leave a cash tip they can just pocket the money. If you write it on the receipt they have to claim that. Some companies only give you back a percentage of those tips at the end of the night. So it just depends on how you see it I guess. But as a waitress/waiter not sure how they feel about it.

  • Reply
    Heather B
    March 8, 2012 at 1:14 am

    Having been in the restaurant business for 15 years, cash is the way to go because it is just pocket money! However, leaving a tip on a CC is the norm. Not many people leave cash tips anymore. It does suck because you actually get taxed twice on it. Once on your paycheck & then again at the end of the year. I don’t know about other states, but in Texas servers only make $2.13/hour + tips so your paychecks are not that big to begin with. When we go out I always try to have enough to tip in all cash. If I don’t I at least try to do some in cash!!! Hope this helps!

  • Reply
    March 8, 2012 at 7:14 am

    We try to leave a cash tip, but recently I’ve seen my husband or myself writing the tip in simply because we do not have the cash on us. The reasons we choose to leave a cash tip is 1. Being taxed twice like Heather pointed out, 2. Server may have to split the tip, 3. It’s outside the norm and the server may go home with some extra cash in their pocket.

  • Reply
    March 8, 2012 at 7:22 am

    Just to clarify, regardless of whether it is a cash tip or left on/through the credit card, tips are supposed to be claimed as income for taxes.

    If I’m using a cc, I usually write the amount in, bc if using a cc then I don’t have cash, but always feel like the server would rather have the cash on the table.

    I must return to read the comments, bc I would like to hear from a present day server to see if it makes any diff to them.

  • Reply
    March 8, 2012 at 8:30 am

    Yeah, I’ll have to read these comments too. I’d never thought about this. I honestly hate the idea of leaving cash so that they can avoid taxes on one hand (you know, I assume they used schools and roads paid for by our taxes, and if they’re able to work, I hate the idea of free-riders), but at the same time, I know they don’t get paid well pre-tip. It’s probably moot for me though b/c I don’t usually carry cash.

  • Reply
    Grace @ Healthy Dreaming
    March 8, 2012 at 8:37 am

    HAVE FUN IN NYC! I’m coming to NYC tonight for a week also 🙂

    I normally write it in because I like to keep cash on me for other things.

    • Reply
      March 8, 2012 at 11:03 am

      I knew that Grace! Kelly told me, and she said that we might meet up with you. I hope it works out. It would be fun to connect offline too! Either way, safe travels!

  • Reply
    March 8, 2012 at 9:40 am

    I never carry cash, so I always write in the tip. I suppose servers might prefer cash, but I try to tip well and that’s going to have to be enough!

  • Reply
    March 8, 2012 at 10:17 am

    I try to leave a cash tip whenever I can, but I don’t carry a lot of cash. I’d say 9 times out of 10, I just add it to my receipt. In an ideal world, I’d always tip in cash.

  • Reply
    Big Girl Bombshell
    March 8, 2012 at 12:08 pm

    I try to tip in cash as much as possible. Many in food service rely on their tips to survive through paychecks. They are paid a different wage which can be below the standard minimum wage due to the tips calculation. If the tips are left on the card, often they are held and paid on their paychecks.

    I have known several single moms or college students that use their days tips for the food and their checks to pay their rent, etc.

    • Reply
      Erin Alexander
      March 8, 2012 at 4:47 pm

      I agree. When money has been tight I’ve had to rely on my tips to get some groceries or gas.

  • Reply
    March 8, 2012 at 12:11 pm

    I almost never have cash, so I write it in. I’m torn, because I am a generous tipper when I get good service. I love showing my appreciation. However on the other hand, it annoys me that in the food industry, Restaurants get away with WAY over-charging for food, and then on top of it, we get to pay their employees for them too!

    I know that was a little off topic, but I do that sometimes. 😉

  • Reply
    March 8, 2012 at 4:20 pm

    WOW so glad we don’t have this delimma in New Zealand – we don’t tip on a general basis – but those with a bit more cash than the average joe blogs at a fancy restaurant may leave a tip.

    Our minimum wage is 13.00 per hour I think and we also get 4 weeks annual leave as well. So paid ok I guess.

    Love living down under!

  • Reply
    Erin Alexander
    March 8, 2012 at 4:46 pm

    I’m a barista so I do get tips, although its not exactly the same as a server. But I do know that even when paid in cash most companies still require you to report it, so paying in cash doesn’t mean that the server is automatically avoid taxes. At the end of my shift I am able to collect my tips from credit card transactions. So either way works for me.

    Since I usually have ones I like to leave my tip in cash, but if I didnt have cash I have no problem putting a tip on the card.

  • Reply
    March 8, 2012 at 5:00 pm

    I never go out to dinner, lunch, or breakfast without making sure that I have cash for tipping purposes. I know about the tax issue and I consider it my own economic stimulus package $5.00 at a time. 😛 I also don’t like to leave a faceless tip. If I write it on a slip…it becomes an amount in a pot of money without a face. I leave a tip to show appreciation for good service, not that I need a pat on the back, but I want my server to know that I appreciate their part in an enjoyable experience. Then again…I am also just as willing to stiff or undertip a lazy or inattentive server.

  • Reply
    March 8, 2012 at 5:23 pm

    I like to use cash if I can … because my bank takes forever to process the written-in tips. (I love online banking and log-in way too much … and knowing that my balance is off a few dollars until the charge fully clears drives me nuts!)

  • Reply
    Shannon A.
    March 8, 2012 at 6:20 pm

    Totally OT, but I just noticed that you have been nominated for Fitness Magazine’s Fitterati awards for Best Weight Loss blog. Here is a link for you fellow followers: http://blog-awards.fitnessmagazine.com/blog-awards/fitness_blog/category/2023?sort=votes&page=3

    Congratulations. You are awesome, I hope you win.

  • Reply
    March 10, 2012 at 2:37 pm

    Cash is preferable, but charge is better than no tip.

    As a former bartender/waitress, i feel qualified in answering this quesiton.

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