Hey, this is Alison and welcome to the Inspired Budget Podcast, where we talk all things budgeting, debt, and saving money. Today we’re joined by Barbara Sloan, author of Tipped, the Guide to Financial Freedom for Service Industry Professionals. Barbara’s a personal finance expert, money coach, and former homeless teen who danced for dollars. With over 20 years of experience in the service industry and as the owner of a woman owned construction company in Manhattan.
Barbara is here today to share her insights on managing money and achieving financial freedom in the service industry. Let’s get started. Welcome Barbara to the Inspired Budget podcast. I’m so excited that you’re here today as an expert in really just helping wage workers learn how to manage their money.
Oh, Alison, I’m so excited to be here. Thank you for having me.
Of course. So I want you to tell us a little bit about yourself, about your history of really learning how to manage your money when you’re being paid, just not this like standard salary and then how it actually led you to write a book.
Yeah. So my background is I have 20 years of experience working in the service industry and that experience is very broad. I’ve worked all over the country in a number of different cities. I’ve worked in a number of different positions. I was a waitress, a pole dancer, a go-go dancer, a stripper, a cater waiter, a bartender, a flare bartender, a coyote, a sideshow, sugar, I mean, you name it.
If it was in the service industry and it earned tips. I probably did it.
Wow. Okay. So what led you to that and is that something that, like once you had your first experience earning tips, did you see like, oh my gosh, this is an amazing way to make money, or, or what had you coming back to the service industry?
Yeah, I mean, my first job that involved tips was I was a paper girl at the age of 10, and I remember around 10.
Yeah. I remember around the holidays getting like that dollar or that $5 tip and just being like, oh my God, I’m so rich. When I was in high school, I had a bunch of jobs, but one of them was working at, I don’t know if your listeners will know this, but in A&W, which is like a roller skating car-hop style restaurant that serves like hot dogs and root repairs. And I did that and I loved it. I had a bunch of other jobs and when I was, when I was 19, my dad had passed away. And I ended up purchasing the house that I grew up in. For twice the price that it had been previously sold for.
I maxed out 10 credit cards to renovate and furnish the. That I grew up in is way to honor my dad, and I got myself in a really, really bad financial situation . But somewhere between 150 to $200,000 in debt by the time I was 20. When a year later, after I was done like renovating and furnishing it, I was exhausted, miserable, deep in debt, and I ended up selling the house and moving from Detroit to California to LA.
More specifically, I got a studio apartment with three other women, and I took any job on Craigslist that paid cash because at that point I was being hounded by creditors. And so, a lot of my work was in the service industry because I wanted something easy. I needed quick access to cash. And the other thing I’ll say is that like after you lose a parent at such a young age, You just realize how precious life is.
And the service industry is one of those industries lets you be yourself, you’re able to have fun. It, it’s just, it really lets you live life on your terms. And at that time, that’s really what I needed and I fell in love with that industry, in a way that I hadn’t before.
Wow. That is incredible.
So the, the way to avoid the creditors was to not give them a job to call? Is that what it was?
Yeah. They can’t garnish wages if your wages aren’t on a W-2.
There you go. Wow. Okay. So you are in your twenties, living in California. Was it hard for you to, I mean, were you even budgeting back then? I know in my early twenties I was not budgeting. That was not none of my concern. But how were you able to, I guess like money’s coming in as cash. How are you able to. Make sure you didn’t run outta money. Like what was your mindset around money back then?
Yeah, it definitely wasn’t conscious, and this is one of my favorite things to talk about with I, I call service industry professional (SIPs). Like I have a shortened acronym for what I call them. So this is what I like to talk about with SIPs is even if you don’t have a plan under the surface, there’s some sort of plan and that’s how you’ve managed your life, right? And so at that point in my life, I had no awareness around the plan. But at what I was doing was I was frontloading a lot of my work at the beginning of the month and so I had work, work, work for work, take a bunch of crazy, probably like, not ideal gigs until I made my rent, or I made like some of money that I needed to live that month and then I could like ease off of some of those gigs or those jobs. And I think it was unconscious, but that was kind of my system at the time.
That, and that’s not a bad system because that was like you taking care of yourself, right? That’s putting your needs first. That’s you saying, okay, I have these bills, I have these responsibilities. Let me make sure I secure the cash for that first.
Yeah. And then, and then you offload shifts and you go to the beach.
Yeah, I love it. Okay. Wow. If someone is in the service in industry, what do you recommend? Like how do you recommend that? They keep track of their money and they spend their money and they save their money whenever it’s so inconsistent
In my book, which we’ll go into, but there’s like a, a, a chapter around credit and debt and like, there’s a few different ways that you can manage debt and one of them is called ostrich and that was definitely the mode that I was in. Like I had my head stuck in the sand. I was just like avoiding everything. I was avoiding creditors. I was avoiding these responsibilities. I don’t recommend that it’s not, it’s not the easiest solution. And there’s a lot of other ways that you can tackle your debt. For people who I love, I love, first of all, like I’m so excited to be here. I love what you are doing. I love talking about budgeting. Thank you so much for what you’re doing. Like the fact that you have an entire podcast dedicated to budgeting just shows everybody how uniquely personal this process is. And how much variation each person’s budget can have. I always like to start off by, and you’ve probably done this a thousand times, but I always like to define what a budget is for people. I’m always like, okay, everyone’s, it just gets so triggered by the word budget and I’m like, okay, yes, budget is just an estimate of your income and your expenses. That’s all it is. We can call it a fancy spending plan. We can call, we can call it a million different things. And it’s not even the thing that people hate the most tracking, which is totally separate from budgeting. Or like a separate element of budgeting is usually the thing that people end up paying the most. I love talking about budgeting. The way that I approach it with people who are on a fluctuating income is I first acknowledge that it’s not gonna be as easy for them. Right? Like, yes, it’s not going to be as easy for you to budget as it is. Yeah. For somebody who has a very fixed income. Mm-hmm. It’s not, and that’s okay. But we can do hard things. We can do hard, harder things. And so the way I also that, you know, remind people is every single company has a fluctuating income. There is no company that has a fixed income that they’re operating off of every single month. And yet all of these companies manage their finances. Mm-hmm. So you have to be a more educated and more diligent person in order to manage your money and yeah. That, that, that sucks, but it’s totally possible. And totally doable. So, I’m really lucky to be married to somebody who does corporate finance and financial planning and analysis, and she works for like a big, massive publicly traded company. And she’s, she’s been in this industry for a long time and we geek out and we talk about money a ton. And when I talk to her about what she does, this is, this is the strategy. You look for trends. And then you go back and you see if those trends match what your original guesses are. So you make some projections and some guesses, you track it and then you go back and see how right you are. And that is essentially a budgeting process. And it’s the same for people who work in the services industry on a fluctuating income. You make some guesses, and that’s a fun part because a lot of people approach budgeting thinking that they have to be perfect.
That’s why so many people give up.
Yeah, and I like to say the messier and the worse you are at budgeting in the beginning, the more fun it is because you get to look back and be. Oh my God, I used to think this. That’s wild. And then you get to feel how far you’ve come since you’ve started the process. And I think that that’s really something we should be leaning into. And so I like to say like, start super messy. Start super, super messy, make some wild guesses. Like, you’re the only person who’s going to be looking at this. I’ll pause by saying that when, when I wrote the chapter on budgeting, I like to re. My work, I, I worked in the fetish community for a little bit. And there’s some lessons I learned in working that with that community that I think perfectly address budgeting.
Okay. I wanna hear ’em.
Yeah. So the first rule is only people who are into feet like to talk about feet. So find your people. If you’re committing to some new financial goals or you’re trying to budget for the first time, find some other people who like to budget or who want to talk about their budget, you are gonna be so much more successful and have so much more fun when you have those people around you. So whether it’s a, a Facebook group or your resources that you provide, I’m sure your community. Get around some people who like to talk about feet or money.
I agree 100% because I think that it just allows you to, number one, learn more and feel very seen, right? Isn’t that what we want? We wanna feel seen no matter what we’re into, we wanna feel seen and connect with others. And so if you wanna work on your money, Put yourself where other people are working on their money.
Exactly. All right. And so rule number two is the things you want the most in your life should be a part of your budget. Mm-hmm. You and your life is perfect, right where you are right now to start budgeting. Toys. Substances. I, I like to, I only have one rule when it comes to budgeting. You cannot hire a hit. Yeah, you cannot budget for a hitman. You could probably still hire one, but you can’t keep records for that. And there’s consent, right? So, but anything else can be a part of your budget. Yes. You shouldn’t feel any shame about the way that you spend money, and if it belongs in your life, then it belongs in your budget. So, the things that you want most to be a part of it.
And I wanna say off of that, it’s also okay for that to change over. Because I think that as our interest changes, we change as people, the way we spend our money is going to change. And that’s okay. I think some people think, okay, it’s gonna be the same every month, forever and ever endeavor. Yeah. And that’s just not true. And it, it is this like flexible fluid document that, like you said, it really should reflect what we love and what we enjoy spending money on and our values.
Yeah, a hundred percent. All right. Rule number three, boundaries are important and they’re your responsibility to communicate. So every relationship, every community that you enter, you have to have boundaries. Saying yes is how other people get what they want. Saying no is how you get what you want. And so, when you are first starting out to budget, it might be hard because people will be asking you, or they may be trying to spend their money for your money for you. And so those boundaries are super critical in achieving your goals. And so boundaries are super important. I love that. That is so true. Yeah. And then the last rule is discretion is encouraged, right? So not everyone’s gonna be excited if you are budgeting, right? So maybe don’t tell people who might not be in alignment with your goals. Maybe don’t shout to the rooftops or to, you know, a judgy neighbor or judgy coworkers whose focus is spending. They’re not going to be approving of that, and so don’t put yourself in that position. So discussion is encouraged. If somebody’s not gonna be all about your budget, You don’t, you don’t have to talk about it. You don’t have to share your numbers if you don’t want to. You don’t have to share anything I like, I like to say budget, like no one’s watching because nobody’s watching you budget.
And then it’s like, okay, that also is a really good way for you to figure out who is not your people to share this with. If you receive a response that rains on your parade or brings you down, then those aren’t your people. That’s not your community.
Yeah. Or maybe they’re just not there yet. Mm-hmm. And maybe you living an example might, might bring them in or maybe they just need more time to, to develop their own financial goals or their own financial awareness.
And so just don’t talk about it with, with certain people. For people who work in the service industry, one of the most important things for them is tracking their income. What I often see from my SIPs who I’ve interviewed or who I, who are my clients, is that they don’t realize the potential that they have with their income. Because if you weren’t forced to track your income, or you didn’t know your annual salary, you wouldn’t track it either. And you see this, you see this on the other side. So many people don’t track their expenses. Because they don’t have to, in the same way, service industry, people don’t track their income in a lot of ways because they, they don’t have to.
And so they’ll end up at tax time. Throw a dart at the board and or they’ll say, what do you think I made? How? How? However, their systems.
That’s so true. And I think that sometimes, and I guess, have you found that people who work in the service industry, have you found that they’re shocked when they do track their income at how much money they actually make?
Yeah, and I think it’s really apparent because when you talk about your savings is the difference between what you’ve made and what you’ve spent. And so I’ll say, well, we only need one side of this equation if we’re at the year end and you have no saving. Yeah, we can either look at your expenses or we can look at your income.
And if we don’t have your income, let’s start by looking at the expenses and that’s what you made. And usually that is very shocking for people to see like, oh my gosh, I made this much money. How did I spend it all? So it’s those things that bring about awareness that help people to change.
Our industry has really terrible numbers, service industry professionals, agents to the most economically disadvantaged people in our population. And there’s a number of reasons for this, but I do think that part of it is not realizing that potential. Realizing how much you have and that you have to be a good steward over.
The other side of it is that people in the service industry have zero benefits, right? They don’t have a 401k. They don’t have health insurance. They don’t have paid time off. They don’t have an HR representative to help them with benefits or to automate their savings, which as you know, like most of Americans get wealthy in two ways.
One through their 401k and two through their primary residence. Both are things that are incredibly hard for sips to do on their own.
Yes. Okay. And I wanna talk about that because traditional wealth building, opportunities, like you said, 401k, HSA, I mean, all of these things are not offered to people who work in the service industry.
I mean, I’m sure that’s turned some people away from working in the service industry, but I feel like you have solutions for how to still build wealth and invest whenever those are not accessible. So what do you recommend for people who think, okay, I wanna build wealth. How do I do that when I make my money in?
Yeah, so the first thing is always an emergency fund. It’s the first thing I talk to people about. One, because I say this is the one thing that your peers who work nine to five. Also don’t have given to them. Yes, they have to build their own emergency fund from scratch. And you do too. You’re no different.
But it’s more important for you because in service work there is this power dynamic always at play. You are serving somebody else and if your rent your groceries your electric bill is reliant on any one table at a time or any one section, or any one tip at a time, then that’s not a good dynamic, right?
You can’t, you can’t put safety measures in place. So if you have an emergency fund and you are entering a guest service experience that may be unsafe or not okay, or that you feel very uncomfortable, ac. You’re gonna be able to walk away from that, or you’re gonna be able to be like, you know what?
I’m sorry, I can’t wait on you. Or, I’m sorry. Mm-hmm. What you’re asking for is not in line with the, the values of this establishment, and I’m gonna have to ask you to leave. Yeah. But if you’re reliant on that money, you’re gonna put yourself in harm’s way. You’re gonna be mm-hmm. Less likely to stand up for yourself.
Has that ever happened to you? Oh my gosh, so many times. So many times. Yeah.
Have you been in a position where like, you ha you felt like you had to say yes because your, your bills were reliant on that, and then you got to a point where you were like, no, I’ve put myself in a position where I don’t have to put up with
this a hundred percent.
And it is, it’s a game changer. It’s a game changer in how much you enjoy your work. Yes. When you’re empowered, it’s a very different job than. If you feel like you’re, you just have to keep taking it, right? Yes. It just feels like when you’re working with the general public, we all know the general public is awful.
I like to say any a bar, like when all the guests are at a bar, that’s like the comment section of a Facebook post. Oh my gosh. Terrifying out there. And so for you to be able to be empowered to say, mm-hmm. You have to. I’m gonna ignore you. I don’t care how much you tip me. You’re, you’re really infuriating or problematic, or whatever the case is, then it becomes a really different experience for the worker as well.
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Okay, so let’s say that someone’s listening right now and they are working in the service industry, and they’re like, okay, but Barbara, like what do I do to help me build wealth when I don’t have a ohk available for me? Or a 4 0 3 or anything that’s more traditional for your nine to five?
Yeah, so retirement accounts are only called retirement accounts because they’re tax advantaged.
Mm-hmm. Any account can be used for your retirement. It doesn’t have to be a tax advantaged account to be used for retirement. You could technically use a savings account for your retirement. Mm-hmm. You wouldn’t want to because of inflation. But the point is, is. Any account can be used for retirement. And so people often think that they’re excluded when they hear they don’t have access to a 401k or a 4 0 3
But for people who are, let’s say that you’re a waitress and you do get a w2, you’re you, you get that $2 and 13 cents sub minimum federal wage, which is which we should go into. You have access then to an i r. And then when you fill up that ira, you have access to a brokerage account and that those two buckets will be your retirement buckets.
Now, it’s important to say this because as we just talked about how sipps don’t track their income, you have to have claimed income in order to put money into an ira. So let’s say for example, that you’re gonna, you wanna put $6,000 into a Roth. I. You have to claim $6,000 in order to do so. So I always like to give that disclaimer when we’re talking about that.
Now, let’s say that you’re not on a W2 and you’re what’s called an independent contractor for your service-based establishment. Well, this may, a lot of establishments get a really bad rap for doing this, but it’s actually a really great feature for people. I’m like, yeah, they’re kind of screening you over, but like use it to your advantage.
Okay? If you’re an independent contractor, you can write off your health. You can write off a ton of expenses. You get access to a set IRA where you can actually put in even more than most tax advantaged retirement accounts. And so, like I said this in a recent interview, I was like, if your employer’s gonna screw the screw, you let them screw you the whole way and become that 10 99 worker, because there’s a lot of advantages to that.
Mm-hmm. There’s a lot of write-offs that you can do. You have to get a good C p A, but then, yeah, set IRA would be a great option for you for retirement accounts, and then always, always a brokerage accounts available to you no matter what. Yes, I
love that and I love that because you’re exactly right. So many people think, oh, I don’t have this available for me, so I can’t say for retirement, but it’s not that way at all.
It’s just finding a different way to save for retirement, which is not bad. It’s just
different. Yeah. And I think also when people think about retirement savings, they look at people who earn more. Mm-hmm. And they’ll say, oh, this person earned six figures. They’re gonna get to a million dollars. A million dollars is so, so hard for mes that seems like impossible.
Your income or your expenses rather, is what dictates what you need to accumulate for retirement. So if you are a, if you’re somebody who spends 50,000, A year, then you don’t need to accumulate what somebody who makes a hundred thousand dollars and spends a hundred thousand dollars Yes. Is gonna need to accumulate.
So it’s, it’s gonna be just as easy, difficult as it is for the other person who’s making six figures mm-hmm. To get to that same level of retirement so you’re not behind. And that’s what I like to encourage people and give them hope. Mm-hmm. Like you’re in the same place that somebody else is. Yes.
Starting from scratch and using small numbers to build. I
love that and I love that. It’s like, just take the first step of getting to know your money, getting to know your numbers, and finding solutions that work for you. Yes. And like basically what you said is don’t compare yourself to others cuz you live a different life.
You are your own unique person. It is personal and we’re not doing like these cookie cutter retirement plans. You can come up with your own plan that works. So I
love that. Yeah. Oh my gosh. Okay.
You had mentioned the wage. I wanna hear your thoughts on tipping’s a, a hot topic right now, especially with people.
Putting out tipping things for what typically has not been service industry, but then also receiving this lower hourly wage. Do you think that that’s right? Do you think that the government should be increasing that? Is it reasonable you ask someone? I haven’t worked in a tipping industry in forever. It feels like.
Actually, no, it was not that long ago. Cause I’m super young. We’re gonna say, we’re gonna say that. Is that reasonable for someone to earn that $2, what you said $2 and 13 cents plus tips to live off of? Or do you think that one or the other needs to be raised? We should be tipping more or they should.
Workers should be paid more from that business Establi.
Yeah, so we talked about the fact that service industry professionals age into the most economically disadvantaged population in this country. This is more so than than veterans. The numbers are terrible. People who are currently retired service industry professionals live solely off of social security.
That is truly terrifying when you think about the fact that these people did not claim their income and that social security isn’t income, a partial income replacement
benefit. Hold on. I want you to talk about that. Yes, because some people that might have just like gone over our heads. Social security is based off of the income
that you claim.
Yes. It’s a partial, it’s a partial replacement benefit that is based on your income. And so when you are not
service in industry are not. Claiming a high income or you’re only getting paid $2 an hour and that’s what’s on your w2, then that’s what you’re paying into for social security. Exactly. So what you think, if you’re like this nine to five person and you think, oh, I’m gonna make okay, money from Social Security, someone in the tipping industry or the service industry.
Is not making the same
amount as you are. Let’s walk the example forward. In 2020, the average, the average for people in all industries in 2020 for social security was $20,000 for people who claim their income in full. Hmm. If you can’t imagine living on $20,000 people in the service industry, that reality is eight, $9,000 a year.
Wow. Their annual benefit. Mm-hmm. And they live solely on that. If they’re retired, it is. Wow. The numbers are. So that $2 and 13 sub minimum wage, it’s laughable. It’s insulting. We don’t have to go into the history of tipping, but I’ll let you know that it, it’s based on some really problematic policies in which it’s.
It came about post-slavery and it was a loophole that employers use to be able to continue to profit on the backs of their black, brown, minority, uneducated workers. Mm-hmm. And part of those problematic policies are still in place, and that is that $2 and 13 cents sub minimum wage, which definitely, in my opinion, needs to be the first thing to go, uh, the first among many things to go, like, I have a policy wishlist.
And that’s, that’s definitely the, that’s number one. It’s number one.
I love it. Yeah. Okay. I just wanna say, I love that you have a policy wishlist, cuz I think like other people might have like a bucket list of places they wanna travel or a wishlist for things they wanna buy, but I love that you have a policy wishlist that is incredible.
Yeah. Yeah. We should all have a policy wishlist for something that we are passionate about. Let’s do it. Yeah, I think we should. I think like we have to care about those types of things. Yeah. Okay. So you think that should be raised, do you think? Cuz okay. As someone, I’ve never owned a restaurant or anything, but I feel like it’s not right on the business owner to have to pay so little and then that like person is relying on tips really to supplement most of their income.
I’m not here to defend employer. But I will say that they’ve had a hard couple of years. Yeah, that’s true. They’ve had a hard couple of years. And also this is a really difficult industry to run. Mm-hmm. When you look at the numbers of how restaurants succeed or more likely fail, It’s not a profitable business.
But at the same time, these industry, this industry, it’s a keystone industry. It supports our communities, our economies. It lifts up all of our real estate valuations. I mean, like this is, there’s over 5.5 million people who work on a tip based income in the second largest employment sector in the us.
This is not going anywhere. Yeah. And so it’s small work that has to be done. If we did away with that sub minimum wage, Federally employers would be responsible for pre providing that $7 and 25 cent. Mm-hmm. Standard minimum wage, which is still not a ton to live off of. Right. And so tips would still be a part of the equation.
Mm-hmm. Tips are mm-hmm. Always going to be a part of the equation because this is a service-based experience. Right. We, it’s subjective. Right. Your employer is not able to go around and gauge the level of service that you’re giving to your guests. Mm-hmm. Your guests are the only people who can evaluate their subjective experience, and that’s why tipping is the only industry with this two-part payment.
Mm-hmm. And so, yes, a portion of that and a much higher portion of that needs to come from the employer. Right. But I also think that a much higher portion needs to come from the guests as well. Mm-hmm. For a myriad of reason. Our tipping standards have not changed, and yet we’re still experiencing inflation.
We’re still experiencing the same numbers of this community. That is, they’re twice as likely to experience poverty, right? Mm-hmm. So we’re just, we’re abandoning this community that we really rely on to take care of us, to service us. Now, I’ll say that majority of service industry professionals are operating on luxury service.
I think that’s something really important to keep in mind when you’re somebody who’s in a service-based establishment. You are there receiving a luxury service, right? Going to a bar, you’re going to a restaurant, you’re going to a spa, you’re hiring movers, you’re getting your hair done. Mm-hmm. It’s a luxury service, and if it’s not in your budget to participate in a luxury service, then there are other options for you.
Mm-hmm. If tipping is not something you can. Don’t participate, don’t go into service-based establishments. Go to the grocery store. Scoop your own ice cream, make your own copy. Yes, cut your own, cut your own hair. Move yourself, right? Mm-hmm. You know, you don’t have to to do that, but what’s really problematic is going into a service-based establishment where someone is receiving that $2 and 13 cents and forcing them to work for without that portion of the tip.
Mm-hmm. It’s a social contract we all know, right, right. That, that’s part of the agreement when you go into these establishments. And so mm-hmm. But I’ll also say for anyone who’s listening and is confused, tipping can feel confusing. Mm-hmm. And so to, to provide a little clarity, I’ll say, first of all, tipping should always feel good.
Yes, I’m, I’m an employer as well. I own a construction company here in New York City. I love being an employer. I love how much I get to pay my, my staff. Mm-hmm. I love being able to take care of those people, and that’s what everyone gets to do when they go out to a service based establishment and tip.
You are getting to take, you’re getting to participate in somebody else’s livelihood, and that should feel good. It should always feel good. I love that. For most people when they’re confused, I would say a lot of the iPad situation is confusing people right now. Right? It is. That’s mostly happening in a counter based establishment, right?
Mm-hmm. You’re, you’re going to pick up your pizza. Yes. You’re gonna pick up your takeout. Mm-hmm. And that iPad flips around and you see. 30, 40, 80%, right? Yeah. Let’s just say that’s what’s up there. First of all, call bad actors out. If that is what is on the iPad. Be like, can I see your manager? Come on now we know.
Yeah. These are not measure it tipping amounts with what we as a society have accepted. Mm-hmm. So yeah, there, with this new iPad situation, there are gonna be bad actors, but we have to handle that at a, at a grassroots level. Mm-hmm. We have to handle that at a community level. If you are at a counter, let’s say you are picking up a pizza, People who work behind counters are not subject to that $2 and 13 cent sub minimum wage.
Okay. I will say that this is where it’s getting
confusing. Yep. And I will even say, I think about this in my like children’s eyes. I have a son who’s about to be 11, or by the time this airs, he’ll be 11. I have one that’s eight. And I feel like, how do I teach them? When you’re supposed to tip and when you’re not supposed to tip.
When they see that constantly as an option, essentially for it feels like everywhere and everything almost. And then how do I know? It’s like I wanna tip when I’m supposed to tip and I wanna tip well when I’m supposed to tip well. But if someone is making what they’re supposed to make and I’m not supposed to tip, or I am going somewhere and I’m un hit unexpectedly, Request a tip.
How do I know when I’m supposed to, when I’m not supposed to? Basically like how do you know if they are getting paid that and they’re relying on that versus I’m just doing it because they, it was something that was like above and beyond when you packaged up my to-go order or something.
Yeah. I think some of it is we can apply some standards and some of it is go ahead and ask, you’re, you’re, you’re a consumer being engaged.
Ooh. That makes it uncomfortable. Consumer. No. We are all part of a society. We have to have conversations to get things done. And if you’re unaware, let’s say you’re, let’s say you just came into some money and you’re just starting to go out in luxury services. Mm-hmm. You need to get informed on that. And if you’re not finding the answers on a quick Google search, which you could do a quick Google search.
Yes. So those answers are there, but then ask, go ahead and ask like, Hey, this is my first time at a spa. What’s, you know, and usually you’re asking. Receptionist who’s not part of that tipping process. Mm-hmm. You can say, Hey, this is my first time at a spa. What’s the, what’s the tip? What’s the tipping protocol here?
What’s the standard? Mm-hmm. They’re gonna happily answer that. They’re gonna give you a range. Okay. So, for most people to clear up the confusion, for most people, the most common forms of tipping are gonna be at bars and restaurants. In beauty and body services. Okay. And in tran and in transportation service.
That’s it. That’s, those are the big three. And if you screw something up, That’s okay. Let’s say that you get a piano delivered. Again, if you have the money to get a piano delivered, then you should be aware enough to know that you have to tip your piano movers. But let’s say you’re not. Mm-hmm. Once off, it’s gonna be okay.
You’ll, yeah. They’ll either have the conversation with you where they’ll say, actually, like, this is one of those situations where a tip would be appropriate if we brought the piano in unscathed and we set it up. Mm-hmm. It all looks good. And then, and then you can have, oh, I wasn’t aware. This is my first piano.
Right? Like, mm-hmm. Yeah. But for, for most situations, it’s the same as it’s always been bars, restaurants, clubs, spas, movers, delivery people. Mm-hmm. That’s, that’s the majority of it. Yeah. And for these iPad situations or these counter situations, which is throwing everybody off. Yes. Even if they’re only making the $7 and 25 cents, that’s still not a lot.
Yeah. So if you’re gonna throw them a couple bucks, because in addition to handing you your pizza, they also packed up extra napkins and utensils and gave you ranch dressing and crushed red pepper and Parmesan and all of these other things, like if you throw them a couple bucks. Again, this is your community.
Mm-hmm. These are, these are people who are earning minimum wage who just provided you a service. If they went above and beyond, throw them some money. Yeah. And if they didn’t, okay, well then use your discretion.
Right. I love that. I love that. And I think also just all of this comes back to awareness. We can tip confidently and feel good about it when we know where our money.
And when we feel like we have control and peace of mind over our money, which comes all the way back to budgeting and facing your truth and, and looking for the patterns in your money. So thank you Barbara. This has been so informative and I think that whether or not the person who’s listening is. In the service industry, they know someone who is and they or they know someone who might be in the future.
So I think this is incredibly helpful.
At the end of my episodes where I interview guests, I’d love to ask three questions just to get to know you a little bit better. Ooh. Don’t think too hard about them, but the first one is, what’s one thing you’re looking
forward to? I’m looking forward to my nephew’s wedding and some That’s okay. Upcoming travel.
Yeah, my, my wife and I are celebrating our 10 year wedding anniversary in June, and we’re gonna go to Paris for a week. Oh my goodness.
Congratulations. That’s gonna be so much fun. Oh, and where’s the wedding going?
The wedding is in upstate Michigan.
Oh, fun. And the second question is, what’s one money mistake you’ve made that you would tell everybody
to avoid payday loans?
Rent a center, which I guess now is like buy now, pay later, right? Mm-hmm. Yeah. Yeah. I would stay away from payday loans and buy now. Pay later systems.
Yeah, very like predatory. And how old were you when you made that mistake? Was that like when you were in your early twenties?
Yeah, early twenties. For sure.
And then the last one is not really questioned at all. Just finish this sentence. My favorite thing I’ve ever spent money on is
typically I say books, but most recently I bought a projector and that has been my favorite little gift for like fun little movie date nights. And it’s a really good fun, really good projector. The technology has come a long way and projectors, I was very surprised.
That’s awesome. Where do you project it? Like where do you take it and project it outside?
Yes, so I live in New York City, so it’s, I live in a tiny apartment and my bedroom’s really tiny, and so I don’t have space for a tv, but I put a little projector on a shelf above my bed and it projects like a movie screen in my bedroom, which is really cool.
That’s awesome. Who needs to go to the movies anymore when you have something like that? I personally love that they have started releasing movies onto streaming services a lot sooner. Well, thank you Barbara. It’s been so good talking to you. Let us know where all the listeners can find you and where they can pick up a copy of your new, of your, not your new book, but your book Tipped.
Yeah so it just came out in August, so I guess it’s still kind of new, but the book is available on Amazon. You can just type in tipped or Tipped book.
The full title is Tipped, the Life-Changing Guide to Financial Freedom for waitresses, bartenders, strippers, and all other service industry professionals. But I think you’ll get there with just tipped. People can find me on the socials all under at Tipped Finance, or you can reach out to me at my website, WWT Tipped Finance.
I do one-on-one coaching. I do money talks. If you have a restaurant, a bar, a club, a beauty or body service, and you want me to come talk to your staff and help you with retention, that’s amazing. I’m happy to do those as well. Yeah, so reach out to me. I, even if you’re a service industry professional and you wanna share a win with me, you found some retirement bucket that you’ve started.
I’m, I’m so happy I get so excited. So please share your wins with.
Well, thank you so much. It was so wonderful, and, um, I’ll link to all of that down below in the show notes.
Alison, thank you so much. Thank you for what you’re doing. I love this.
Thank you. I hope you enjoyed today’s interview with Barbara, and if you are someone who works in the service industry or if you know someone who does, then be sure to check out her book Tipped.
As always, if you’re enjoying the Inspired Budget podcast, it would mean the world to me if you would actually share this episode. With a family or friend. You can do that by clicking the share icon in whatever podcast player you’re listening to and actually text this episode or any other one that you really liked directly to them.
This is a great way for the Inspire Budget Podcast to reach new listeners. Thank you so much in advance. I’ll see you next Thursday for a brand new episode. Bye for now.