For most people, knowing how to calculate a tip is relatively easy. It is usually 10, 15 or even 20% of the cost of your meal. But, does the way you figure the amount to leave for your server change when you use a coupon? Believe it or not, it should.
Imagine this. It is the weekend and you want to enjoy a night out with the family (or maybe evan a date night out with your spouse). You head out to eat and enjoy your meal.
When the check comes, you pull out your coupon to offset the cost of your meal. You are planning leaving your server a tip, how do you calculate the amount to leave? Is it on the total you pay or the total you consumed?
When it comes to leaving tips when redeeming a coupon, voucher or even gift card, the total tip should always be calculated on the total amount consumed — before sales tax. Why not on just the amount you pay? After all, you didn’t PAY full price, so why tip full price?
Right? No – WRONG!
HOW TO TIP WHEN USING A GIFT CARD OR COUPON
You tip your server based upon service. When you are not paying full price for your meal, wether using a gift card or a coupon, it does not mean the service provided is not discounted nor cut in half.
They don’t take care of you half the time. They do not fill your drinks only half full. They provide a FULL service to you when you dine out. They are owed the full amount of their tip, regardless of what you spend.
If you happened to get a gift card from someone or pick up a great discount on GroupOn, you need to keep this in mind. While you get a discounted meal, your service is the same, no matter how you pay. If you plan on leaving a tip, you need to keep this in mind. And, remember that you do not need to tip on the tax, just the cost of the meal itself.
Here are some quick examples for you to follow (using a tipping rate of 20%):
TIPPING WHEN USING DISCOUNT VOUCHER OR COUPON
Total of meal prior to discount or voucher and sales tax: $45
Net total after discount applied: $20
20% tip = $9 (20% of $45)
TIPPING WHEN USING A GIFT CARD
Total of meal prior to gift card and sales tax: $37.23
Net total after discount applied: $0
20% tip = $7.45 (20% of $37.23)
Also see: Stop Losing Gift Cards
Remember that this is your waiter’s or waitress’s profession. They rely upon tips to pay their household expenses, car payment and other bills. If you pay them less simply because you pay less, you are hurting them financially. If you enjoy your dining experience, thank them — don’t short them in their pay.
Read More: How to Save Money When Dining Out