So You Want To Be A Waiter

The best book on waiting tables that you have never read – yet

Tips for waiters about personal budgeting

The great blog, “Tips on improving your tips” (see ye olde blogroll for permalink) has a nice article on budgeting for waiters, which can be read here:

I just wanted to add one thing – it’s important for American waiters to always remember that for a vast majority of them, they’re going to owe taxes on April 15th.

For those who work in states that pay an hourly wage significantly lower than minimum wage, such as $2.13 – $4/hr, it’s especially important to remember this. Many of us don’t ever see a dime on our paychecks. But we don’t always remember that this is because we’re in the hole with income tax withholding and that each shift that we work puts us a little bit deeper in the hole.

I’ve written about this in the past, but it bears repeating – a good rule of thumb is to set aside 10% of tips for tax purposes. Money you never see is money that is saved and not spent.

This is easier said than done, as I can testify. It’s so easy to use that envelope full of cash for an emergency or some sort of impulse purchase. After all, it’s an envelope full of cash! It’s always whispering to you everytime you add to it.

But be strong. If you put aside 10% religiously, you might even find that you’ve got extra left over after you’ve fulfilled your tax obligations.

These days, you can make it easier to never see the money if you pay into the IRS’s EFTPS system. This is an electronic accont that you can access online. You can make deposits whenever you like. I talk about it more in depth here:

Another alternative to the cash-filled envelope is to open a separate savings account and try to avoid the temptation to plunder it. It might help when you see the amount grow “on paper”.

However you do it, budgeting for taxes is a very important part of a waiter’s budget decision-making process.


One response to “Tips for waiters about personal budgeting

  1. tipsfortips May 8, 2010 at 1:53 pm

    Amen. Guest’s get a little cheap around April 15th even if they paid their taxes months before. This is definitely not the time to try and play catch up.

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