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Some readers are going to freak when they read the headline on this edition of the newsletter. They already question current tipping customs in restaurants and bars. Now, they’re having to confront the idea of tipping at counter-service restaurants – cafés, sandwich shops, smoothie bars and other places where you pick up your own food.

Tip jars used to be a thing at coffee spots and other counter-service restaurants. Now, you might be presented with the option to tip if you pay electronically with your debit or credit card. New York Times travel writer Seth Kugel recently laid out the arguments for and against tipping at counter-service restaurants. He usually tips when buying a coffee and found many others who do likewise. His conclusion is that it’s a judgement call and fine if you want to opt out.

Tipping is an often-covered topic in this newsletter because it generates such passionate responses from readers. Some feel put upon by the payment terminals in restaurants that make 20 or even 25 per cent tips an option, and they’re uneasy about paying this percentage on the after-tax amount of their bill. Being asked to tip at counter-service restaurants is just going to provoke these people even more.

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But we can’t get around the fact that tipping is becoming a bigger factor in pricing out the cost of eating and drinking out of the home. Figure out a strategy for managing this and go with it. When paying a restaurant bill, my wife and I always have a discussion to see what tip is warranted. I’m still evolving on counter-service tips.

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Student budgeting, banking, the job market and credit scores: Listen to our Carrick Talks Money call

In the latest installment of our call-in series for Globe subscribers, Globe personal-finance editor Roma Luciw and I discuss personal finance for young adults.

Rob’s personal finance reading list…

How the federal parties would help families and home buyers

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A detailed comparison of the policies that the Conservatives, Greens, Liberals and NDP have announced to help make life more affordable for families and help people who want to own a home. The comparison was produced by Generation Squeeze, a non-partisan, non-profit advocacy group for people in their 20s, 30s and 40s. It’s run by University of British Columbia professor Paul Kershaw.

Pity the high earner in a high-cost city

How a family earning $350,000 (U.S.) per year can struggle to maintain a middle-class lifestyle in expensive cities. Seriously. Can this be true of Vancouver and Toronto?

Not maxing out your TFSA every year? Here are 10 ways to fix that

One of the useful suggestions here: Switch to weekly saving from monthly. It’s what I do, too. Easier to manage.

Should you pay for your children’s post-secondary education?

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Tough talk from a financial adviser on how much parents should spend to pay for their children’s university or college education.

Ask Rob

Q: Is worth getting a consumer proposal to try to get rid of debt?

A: A consumer proposal is an alternative to bankruptcy where you draft an agreement with the help of a licensed insolvency trustee to make a partial repayment of the total amount you owe. Here’s a summary of the pros and cons of consumer proposals. A noteworthy downside is that your credit score will be negatively affected.

Do you have a question for me? Send it my way. Sorry I can’t answer every one personally. Questions and answers are edited for length and clarity.

Today’s financial tool

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This calculator shows how the power of compounding will drive your investment success over the years.

In case you missed these Globe and Mail personal finance-related stories

  • Can Carol and Calvin retire soon and hang onto their house and cottage?
  • Should you consider buying supplemental health coverage?
  • Two years in, John Heinzl’s dividend portfolio is crushing it (for Globe Unlimited subscribers)

More Carrick and money coverage For more money stories, follow me on Instagram and Twitter, and join the discussion on my Facebook page. Millennial readers, join our Gen Y Money Facebook group. Send us an e-mail to let us know what you think of my newsletter. Want to subscribe? Click here to sign up.

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