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The average tip in Canada for all kinds of services is getting close to 14 per cent, some new research shows. Cue the complaining.

Tipping seems to agitate people. They don’t like paying extra for good service when it should be a given. They don’t like being judged if they don’t pay up, and they don’t like the uncertainty of not knowing the customary amount in various situations.

On that latter issue, here’s some help. The HowToSaveMoney.ca blog has created a helpful directory how much to tip hair stylists, servers at restaurants, bartenders and delivery people. There’s information on what these people expect in tips, and what the average tips from actual people are.

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Servers expect tips of roughly 15 per cent, although it’s noted that customers of high-end restaurants will often tip more than 20 per cent. Ten-per-cent tips seem to be the norm in barbershops, while 15 per cent is usual in hair salons.

Check out the comments on the HowToSaveMoney blog post. Like I said, tipping seems to agitate people. My own thought is that tipping is not the place to cheap out. Very few of the people cutting your hair, delivering your pizza or serving your dinner are getting rich off what they do for a living. Be as generous as you can afford.

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Rob’s personal finance reading list

Upset about Trump’s tariffs?

Maclean’s has produced a guide for Canadians who don’t want to spend their money on U.S. products while the country is engaged in a trade war with us. It has alternatives for everything from bourbon to toilet paper.

How to cut vet bills

The Cashflow Cookbook blogger writes about how much he saved by calling a few different vets for quotes on the cost of spaying his dog.

Twelve myths about coffee

Coffee is over-villainized both from a personal-finance and health standpoint. Here’s a de-bunking of some health myths. As for the idea that spending money on coffee is bad for your finances, let me point out that I buy coffee every day and it’s an A+ value. I get my coffee at the Bridgehead at Sparks and Metcalfe in Ottawa. Say hi if we cross paths.

Stop buying cleaning products for your home

You can mix up your own cleaning solutions using everyday ingredients and they’ll be both cheaper and better for the environment. Truth be told, though, we tried the baking soda and vinegar idea for cleaning the shower drain, and it didn’t fully fix the problem.

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Today’s featured financial tool

Financial resources for seniors – links to info on the CPP, OAS and lots more.

Ask Rob

Q: With Aeroplan, it is possible to book business-class travel to places as far away as Australia. Can you tell me which of the Aeroplan alternatives make this available? (Note: A recent edition of the newsletter included a link to an article on Aeroplan alternatives.)

A: For this one, I consulted Patrick Sojka of RewardsCanada. He suggested looking at any proprietary credit card program that lets you book travel yourself. “The main ones are MBNA rewards, Capital One, American Express Membership Rewards, Scotia Rewards. The ones that do not are BMO Rewards, CIBC Aventura and RBC Rewards. Apparently, RBC will let you book your own business class and then redeem your points for it – it is an unwritten option and a very poor redemption value. Also, you have your standard frequent-flyer programs that offer business-class redemptions. Best options after Aeroplan are Alaska Airlines Mileage Plan, British Airways Executive Club, Cathay Pacific Asia Miles, Japan Airlines Mileage Bank and United MileagePlus. WestJet should be offering business class this fall when they start selling the business class on their new Boeing 787s.”

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.

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