A meal out at a restaurant means fun, relaxation, great food and at the end of dinner, that calculation everyone hates: The tip. Well, worry no more! Welcome to the Personal Creations guide to great tipping, where we’ve lined up the easiest hints and – ahem – tips for making sure you leave the right tip amount no matter whether you’re grabbing a relaxed bite to eat, sitting down at a fancy restaurant or figuring out how much give a cab driver. Read on for our five golden rules for tipping.

Know Your Facts
Hate to tip? Then consider these facts before you leave the dinner table without leaving a fair tip: Most wait staff is paid a base wage that is significantly lower than the minimum wage. Why? This is done on the assumption that their small earnings will be topped up by customer tips. Furthermore, the IRS also taxes servers and bar staff on the assumption that they have earned a portion of their wages in tips. The result? No matter whether you leave a tip or not the server will be taxed.  So, if you tip on the low side, you aren’t just committing a dinner faux pas, you could actually be charging your server to bring you dinner.

Tip With Cash
To really reward your server, dip into your wallet and tip with cash. Not only will he or she appreciate the gesture, they’ll also receive their tip faster and won’t have to wait until a restaurant owner or manager divides up credit card tip amounts.

When in Doubt, Use a Calculator!
So here comes the tricky part: How much is it acceptable to tip? Etiquette experts agree that anywhere from a minimum of 10% to 20% is the perfect amount to tip wait staff at a restaurants. That makes 18% the sweet spot for most occasions. The key to getting the tip amount right? Think about your party! If you’ve got a handful of toddlers in tow who are bound to make extra clean-up work for servers, leaving a larger tip isn’t just polite, it’s bound to be well appreciated. Next up? Turn to a tip calculator seen to the right, or load up a tipping app onto your smartphone so that you never have to rely on rusty math skills to get your final tip amount right!

Speak Up!
The food was lousy, the service was bad and nobody in the restaurant bothered to help get your order right. To tip or not to tip, that is the question du jour! Though leaving the restaurant without leaving a tip might be tempting, it’s far better to leave feedback along with a meager tip rather than simply storming out of the restaurant. That way there will be no confusion as to why you left the gratuity you did or didn’t.

Don’t Forget the Bartender
Or the valet for that matter! Our guideline? $1-2 per drink for bartenders or 15-20% of the entire tab. When picking up your car or wrapping up an evening out, leave $2-5 for valets, offer $0.50-$3 for restroom attendants and give 15-20% of the fare to cab drivers. Then, remember to deliver your tip with a smile and a simple thank you and you’ll be well on your way to tipping perfection!