You can learn how to save money as a server from the awesome tips in this article – as many as 25 easy ways and tips!
You’ve had a wonderful time at your favorite restaurant.
The food was excellent, the time being with the family was enjoyable and the server was friendly but not very attentive to the refilling of drinks or to see how everything was going with the meal.
The bill for the evening’s meal is presented and now comes the decision on what to tip.
First, this company has paid $25+ million to members:
Thinking back over in your mind about the service and whether the server should receive a 10%, 15%, or 20% tip or somewhere in between?
In considering the tip you ask yourself was the service fast or slow, whether the server, in your opinion, paid enough attention to you as a guest, were they warm, genuine, friendly, or otherwise?
These questions all feed into your decision as to what size tip you want to leave.
Providing a gratuity to a server in the restaurant is an expectation directed towards the customer who eats at a restaurant.
The reality is that a server does not make a full minimum wage as a server in a restaurant but receives a small hourly wage and the hope is that that wage is supplemented by the customer’s appreciation of the service through the giving of a tip.
The tip is an incentive for the server to provide attentive and quality service to the customer.
Some individuals believe that it is not necessary as the expectation should be that the service should be attentive, friendly, courteous, etc.
They argue why should they have to leave a tip when that should be the norm for service.
At the other end of the spectrum is the reality that servers are not paid a competitive hourly wage and that tipping is part of their compensation.
Regardless of which side of the argument you land on, for the present moment, servers rely on tips to supplement their daily income.
With all of this in mind let’s explore tips that can help a server save money from whatever income they can pocket at the end of a hard day of service.
25 Easy Ways & Tips to Saving Money as a Server
1. Know about and the Benefits of Being Server
A server in a restaurant plays a critical role in providing a quality experience for a customer who is dining out.
A server is friendly, courteous, and attentive to the dining-in customer and greets them warmly as he/she begins their service to the individual or members of the family.
Other than the quality of the food, the most important interaction at a restaurant for a family to rate their experience as good to exceptional would be the interaction with the server.
Therefore, it would seem, that this important employment position within the restaurant should have the greatest opportunity to be rewarded for their care of the customer as it relates to their dining experience.
2. Track Your Income
A critical action step to take to save money as a server is to track your income.
Knowing how much you make will help you to determine what your income is and what your goals would be as far as setting money aside as part of your saving commitment.
3. Pay Yourself First
A powerful commitment towards saving money from your serving wage and tips is to pay the most important bill from your budget.
The most important bill that you should pay is a percentage of those earnings to yourself.
Just as you receive a 10% to 20% gratuity, so should you set aside 10% to 20% of the money that you receive as part of your savings.
4. Pay in Cash
A powerful spending commitment as it relates to paying your monthly bills is to pay, as much as possible, in cash.
By using cash, you will stay away from utilizing credit cards which can have a habit of building up balances.
When you carry balances month to month you are paying the credit card companies interest on those balances, which is money that is better utilized by you rather than paying these large financial institutions.
5. Don’t Use Your Coins
A practical tip in saving money through your work as a server is not to use coins when making purchases.
Sometimes, individuals will pay the exact amount by paying with currency and then bringing out their coin purse and utilizing that money to pay the exact amount for the exact amount of the purchase.
Rather than use coins, simply use another bill, and then when you get a chance deposit all of the coins that you have.
This is a simple strategy in helping you to save money by, in essence, rounding up your purchases and you will soon find out that the deposit of coins quickly adds up.
6. Deposit Large Denominations
If your tips are given to you in large denominations, rather than breaking that 50 or $100 bill, simply deposit it right away rather than using that money to make purchases and then putting the change into your wallet or purse.
This is just another little tip on accumulating your savings by depositing the larger bills rather than utilizing them.
A critical tool that should be implemented when saving money through your hard work as a server is to compile a budget.
A budget will give you an idea of how much money you can expect to earn which will be placed on the income side of the budget.
On the right side of the budget will be all of the expenses and that will give you a clear picture of what revenue is needed to cover all of your anticipated monthly expenses.
The two sides of the ledger should balance out and this is a good thing especially if you have budgeted on the expense side your 10% to 20% payment to yourself.
8. Live Below Your Means
It is always good to live below your means.
This means that if you have a certain set amount of income coming into the household you should endeavor to stay 10% to 20% underneath that income level and therefore meet the definition of living below your means.
9. Record Your Income
Another way to save money is by recording all of your income.
When you receive your payment and tips, you should keep a ledger as to the date, the amount of money that you receive, and then keep a running total for the month.
10. Capture Your Expenses
A journal should also be utilized that records all of your expenditures.
This is separate from the budget and is a running log of all of the purchases that you make with your money.
For example, if you buy a gourmet coffee, you will reflect that in your spending journal noting the date of purchase, at what coffee shop you made the purchase, and what was the amount.
This tool will help you to realize where some of that mystery money goes at the end of the month and you wonder what happened to that extra 22 $50-$100 a month.
11. Customer is King
As a server, you are well aware that the customer is the king as it relates to your receiving a generous tip for the service that you provide.
This does not mean that you have to put up with poor behavior but certainly need to accommodate the dining needs of the customer.
12. Don’t Ignore
One of the primary rules to maximize any tips that will be received from the customer is not to ignore them.
As quickly as possible, you, as a server, should begin to engage the customer which in turn will maximize any possible tips offered at the end of the dining experience.
13. Checks are Important
As with anybody, it is sometimes hard to separate your personal life from your business life.
We are all human and experience challenges in our everyday lives and their effect on us can sometimes spill over into our workplace.
For a server, this is especially critical that you can leave those types of events at the entranceway of the restaurant.
When a customer dines out, they want to be served by an individual with an engaging personality and not one that will dampen their eating out experience.
It seems rather harsh but unfortunately, is true in that you need to check your challenges and not allow them to overflow into the customer dining area.
14. Separate Accounts
A potential practical tip on saving your money could be the possibility of opening three separate checking accounts.
This could add to your discipline of restricting your money spent to specific expenses in your budget.
As a suggestion the three separate checking accounts could be intended strictly for entertainment, the second checking account could be only for expenses, and the third checking account and the money deposited would be strictly used for emergencies.
15. Nest Egg
Another powerful tip in saving money from your tips is to set aside a specific amount of money received that will be utilized for a nest egg.
Many professional financial advisors suggest strongly to their clients that 3 to 6 months of savings should be set aside in an emergency fund.
The financial goal of the fund would equate to your monthly expenses multiplied by the number of months that you want to have covered.
Again, this company has paid $25+ million to members:
If your monthly expenses are $1,000 a month then your goal would be anywhere from $3000 to $6000 to set aside as your nest egg.
This fund would be strictly used for emergencies, which could be defined as an illness, layoffs, money needed for emergency repair, etc.
16. Quality Restaurants
Although not a 100% guarantee, the reality is that if you work at a higher-end restaurant then the associated tips that you receive as a server will most likely be more significant.
This possibility is based on the fact that higher-end restaurants attract more affluent individuals, higher-priced meals are served which all that up to larger bills being presented to the customer at the end of the meal.
This may equate to larger tips and more savings.
- How to Save Money Even While Living Alone
- How to Save Money When You Have no Money
- How to Save Money to Buy an Apartment
- Best Reasons Why You Can’t Save Enough Money
- Best Reasons to Save Money as a Teenager
Saving more money also is in direct proportion as to how much you work.
As a server, it is important to take advantage of as many lucrative shifts in the restaurant business as you can.
This means working on the weekend and working in the evening hours when restaurant-goers are more likely to eat out.
18. Estimate Your Income
As with any plan of action, it is important to know what you are working with.
For a server trying to save as much money as they come from their tips, this is also an important question to have resolved.
Given your line of work, it is a bit difficult to anticipate what your income will be as it can vary.
However, if you can analyze and record your income over a 3 to 4 week period, you can use this as a ballpark expectation for your income and you will roughly know what you have to work with.
19. Estimate Your Expenses
With your expenses, it can be a little bit more clear-cut.
Some expenses are known as fixed expenses and include line items such as rent, insurance, utilities, cell phone, etc.
With these expenses, there is not much fluctuation month to month.
The other expenses can be discretionary or non-fixed and can include entertainment, clothing, subscriptions, etc. With these expenses, you may be able to trim or cut back and realize savings.
20. Side Hustle
Being a server is a demanding job that requires you to be, on the most part, on your feet the majority of the day and walking back and forth in the restaurant serving the customers.
At the end of the day, you are most likely exhausted.
However, if you can grab sleep when you can there is a possibility of getting an extra job or by working at home through the use of technology.
To help supplement your income you could check out freelancing websites such as www.upwork.com and see if there are jobs offered that would be a good fit for your skillset and allow you to work from the comfort and relaxation of your home.
21. Take a Challenge
As a way to incentivize your savings commitment and reach your goal, you can take on several challenges.
For example, you could take the 100-envelope challenge in which these envelopes are numbered 1 to 100 and placed in a box.
Every day, you select an envelope with the number representing the amount of money that needs to be put in the envelope.
At the end of the 100 days, you will have saved that amount of money or over $5000.
You could also work with a coworker and challenge each other to save a set amount of money with the individual saving the least cooking the winner a meal.
22. Envelope System
Another practical way of saving money is to use a different type of envelope system.
With this envelope system, you can create three separate envelopes.
The three envelopes are labeled as expenses, discretionary expenses, and savings.
Figuring out what percentage of your anticipated income is broken down over these three categories you then take the money that you earned and if 60% of your income is devoted to expenses you then place 60% of your income into the envelope labeled expenses.
The same process is then taken for the remaining two envelopes with the associated percentage of the money needed to cover the costs.
All in, the expenses should total 100% and the income that you earn should be expanded over the three envelopes in total or at 100%.
23. Deposit Ones
Another way that you can save money from your tips as a server is to zero in on a specific currency denomination and do not spend that but save it.
The best denomination to use would be a one-dollar bill.
Every time you receive a one-dollar bill, do not spend it but put it away in some sort of container that will inspire you to put money into it but also difficult to access the money once it has been placed in there.
24. Unique Piggy Bank
A great way to incentivize your savings is to select a unique piggy bank.
The savings container should not only inspire you to save but would be difficult to access the money once it is placed in the container.
For example, if you wanted to save for a dream vacation, you could put your money in a clear wine bottle and watch the money accumulate.
To know how much money you have in the bank you could keep a running spreadsheet of money that is placed into the wine bottle.
Therefore, to get the money out you would need to break the wine bottle to retrieve the money.
25. Financial Journal
Often, we as individuals will spend a dollar here or a dollar there, and eventually, we wonder where all of the extra money that we should have at the end of the month has gone.
The best way to manage this expending of “mystery money” is to keep a spending journal.
Just invest in a cheap spiral notebook and record every financial transaction that you make.
The transaction should reflect the date that the money was spent, where it was spent, and the amount.
For example, if you stopped by a gourmet coffee, write down in your financial journal the date, the name of the coffee shop, and how much it cost for that caramel macchiato.
I don’t know whether it’s my Scottish background or whether I am just frugal, possibly a nice way of saying cheap, but I never like to spend money that I didn’t have to spend.
Of course, all that changed when I got married to a woman who comes from a different perspective and background.
She has an affinity for those who work hard for a living especially those in the hospitality service.
A case in point was the first time that we spent a night in a hotel.
Unaccustomed as I was to proper etiquette as it relates to tipping, she guided and educated me along the way about tipping individuals that helped us with our luggage, providing a gratuity to the service individual who took our bags up to our room, and then when we checked out she asked if I had left a tip for the housekeeping staff?
This was also foreign and new to me, and it seemed that any discounts that I was able to get for a night’s lodging were soon negated by all of the tipping that was going on.
Although I was not fussy about tipping everybody for all of the services, they provided my wife taught me to understand that these individuals relied on customers such as us to provide for their family and that the gratuity was part of that process of extra payment that they relied on in a competitive business.
Although I appreciated her instruction and teaching on the subject of tipping, I am more comfortable carrying my bags, cleaning up after myself in the hotel room, and carrying my baggage from the car to the hotel.
Saving Money as a Server FAQs
What is the Average Salary of a Server in a Restaurant?
According to Payscale.com the average hourly salary for a restaurant server is $9.94.
What is the Average Salary of a Server in a Restaurant With Tips Included?
The average salary of a server including tips, according to Indeed.com is $13.99 per hour plus $100 tips per day.
If taking these figures as somewhat accurate, that would be $211.92 per day or $26.49 per hour.
Of course, this will fluctuate from geographical location to geographical location and, of course, some days in the restaurant industry are busier than others.
You Can Do It
As it relates to earnings, a server can have a good day, or a server could have a bad day.
The challenge is that there are so many factors that can affect the gratuities that you receive.
The reality is that as a server you are a hard-working individual and your dedication and service to others will serve you well in regards to your commitment to saving money.
Most likely we have heard those feel-good stories where a waitress has been given a significant tip by one of their customers.
Unfortunately, these stories are too few and far in between.
The reality for you as a server is that you work hard during your shift and provide the best care for your customer that you can.
Like your customer, you want to provide optimum service regardless of whether there is a tip or not.
You want to provide for yourself and your family and save as much money as you can from your hard work and efforts.
Utilizing these tips and more you are provided with a good menu of possibilities to choose from to realize your commitment to saving for your future.
Again, this company has paid $25+ million to members: