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Using Basic Math for Tipping

Part of the Everyday Math For Dummies Cheat Sheet

These basic tipping rules apply to meals in the $20 to $100 price range, which covers almost 90 percent of restaurant meals for two in the U.S. Apply these simple math rules to your check total:

  • Basic Rule (total between $30 and $100):

  • Multiply the first digit by 2. That’s the tip.

  • Example: $43.75. The first digit is 4. Leave 4 ¥ 2 = $8.

  • Lower-cost rule (total between $6 and $30):

  • Divide by 5 and round off. That’s the tip.

  • Example: $26.90. Five goes into this about 5 times. Leave $5.

  • Party of four (total between $40 and $100):

  • Round to the nearest 10. Multiply the first digit by 3. Everyone kicks in that amount.

  • Example: $52.50. Rounds to $50. Everyone pays $15.

If you’re not up for doing the math, use this handy tip chart. The tip range is 15 to 18 percent but if you’re feeling generous, feel free to tip more.

Total on Check Tip Total on Check Tip
$10 and below Be nice. $84 to $95 $16.00
$11 to $16 $2.50 $96 to $110 $18.00
$17 to $23 $3.00 $110 to $130 $20
$24 to $30 $4.50 $131 to $160 $25
$31 to $37 $5.00 $161 to $200 $30
$38 to $44 $6.00 $201 to $250 $40
$45 to $52 $7.50 $251 to $300 $50
$53 to $60 $9.00 $301 to $400 $60
$61 to $70 $10.00 $401 to $500 $80
$71 to $83 $12.00
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