Move the decimal vs. double the tax: Which restaurant tipping method is better?


When you go out to eat with family or friends, how much do you generally tip a restaurant server?

Although etiquette expert Diane Gottsman says an 18% to 20% gratuity is standard these days, there are multiple methods that people use to calculate the tip, including moving the decimal and doubling the tax.

Take a look at the restaurant bill below and we’ll explain the difference between the two…

Sample restaurant bill
Sample restaurant bill

How to figure out the tip without a calculator 

Move the decimal, double the number: With this method, find the post-tax total on the bill, move the decimal point one place to the left and double the number.

For the $38.65 bill shown above, you get $3.86 after moving the decimal. Multiply by two for a 20% tip of $7.72.

Double the tax: Taxes vary across the country, but some people choose to calculate the tip by doubling (or tripling) the tax amount. This would not work in places with no sales tax.

For the $38.65 bill shown above, take the tax amount of $3.35 and double it for a 17% tip of $6.70.

There’s another way… 

When I go out to eat, I like to keep things simple. I usually round up the total to the nearest dollar, double it and then move the decimal to arrive at a 20% tip.

Here’s how it works with the sample bill:

  • Round up the total: $39
  • Double it: $78
  • Move the decimal: $7.80


If math isn’t your thing, your smartphone can make tipping a lot easier. There are various free tipping calculators available for download that will tell you exactly how much to leave and even split the bill for you.

Do you use any of these tipping shortcuts? Tell us which one you think is best in the comments below!

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