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Has Tipping Reached a Tipping Point?

Making sense of when and how much to tip as we head into a new year.

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If you’re in the U.S., you’ve probably noticed a sharp uptick in the businesses now asking you for a tip, thanks to touch-screen payment systems that are programmed to automatically suggest gratuity amounts. These days, it’s not uncommon to be prompted for a little extra moula when buying groceries, grabbing a coffee or picking up takeout. For consumers, adding a tip has become as simple as touching a button — though for many, the choice is fraught with guilt and pressure.

So when is it really appropriate to tip — and when is it okay to save your bucks, especially considering the rising cost of consumer goods? Read on to explore the question from every angle, including advice to help you navigate the economic, psychological and moral aspects of the new tipping culture.

Image by Catherine McQueen/Getty Images.