How to Keep Your New Year’s Resolution

Written by Dana Gorski, Social Media and Content Coordinator

Woman with arms raised at sunset on the beach

Whether your New Year’s resolution is to lose weight, spend more quality time with your family or stop smoking, it can be hard to keep! I once heard a comedian joke about how gyms are the most crowded right after New Year’s Day and then attendance shrinks as time goes on, clearly referring to how people deter from their New Year’s resolutions. According to the Statistic Brain Research Institute, only 8% of people who make New Year’s resolutions actually achieve their resolution, 49% of people have infrequent success and 24% of people fail on their resolution each year. You can be a part of that 8%! Stick to your New Year’s resolution with these tips:

Plan Ahead. If you’re trying to work out more, pack your work out bag before work every day so you can swing by the gym on your way home or during your lunch break. Looking to spend more time with your family? Schedule a time on your calendar.

Support from a Friend. Have a friend hold you accountable. If you let a friend know what you are trying to do, they can help keep you on track by checking in on you.

Take One Step at a Time. You’re not going to reach your goal overnight! Take your time and gradually work towards achieving your goal.

Avoid Tempting Situations When Possible. Avoiding situations that will tempt you to break your New Year’s resolution is not always plausible, but can be beneficial if it can be done. For example, if you are trying to eat less sweets, do not grab coffee with a friend at a donut shop!

Write down your Progress. By tracking your progress, you can see how much you’ve improved. Seeing this will help keep you motivated. You can also see where you’ve been lacking which will help you make beneficial changes.

Don’t Be Discouraged: You may run into a bump or two along the way. That doesn’t mean you should give up! See what you can learn from these bumps in the road and continue to move forward.

Achieving your New Year’s Resolution can be difficult, but you can do it! BBB is here to help! Check out go.bbb.org/akorww today!

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How Much Should You Be Tipping at a Restaurant?

You’re enjoying a fun dinner with friends and it comes time for the check. You all go through the usual routine of putting a card or cash in and giving it to your waiter. The pause in conversation happens when your bill comes back and it’s time to sign and leave a tip. You might be one of those people who can do all of the mental math in your head, or you might bring out your phone calculator. You might even be someone who just eyes what everyone else is tipping (I’m guilty of this)! Regardless of how you go about tipping, we are all wondering the same thing each time the bill comes back: how much should I tip?

Here is how I understand tipping:

  1. 10% tip – You are disappointed with the service you received. Maybe your food was too cold or your waiter had a poor attitude.
  2. 15% tip – The service was standard and you are content with your experience at that restaurant.
  3. 20% tip – You are extremely happy with your visit and are pleased with your server. The food was great, it arrived on time and your waiter was attentive.

Various publications say the same thing. J.D. Roth from Business Insider states: “15% for adequate service, 20% for exceptional service. For poor service, leave 10% or less. It’s okay to leave nothing for exceptionally poor service, but only if you’re sure it’s the waiter’s fault.” Roth also advises how much you should tip in other food service areas, such as takeout, bartenders and baristas.[i]

On average, I tip 15%. That’s me, but what do other people usually tip when dining out? BBB asked people this question via Facebook and found that the majority of people (50%) tip 15% when dining out, 40% of people tip 20% and 10% of people tip 10%.

Chart for Tipping Poll

If you live in Western Washington, you know that Seattle is gradually raising minimum wage to $15. How does this affect the amount you should tip? Depending on the restaurant, you may not need to tip. A few restaurants are eliminating tipping and instead increasing their prices (gratuity is then included in the new price). [ii] Other than changes like that, I did not come across new tipping standards in my research.

As you can see, there is no set amount you are required to tip when dining out. It all depends on the service and your experience. Use your best judgment. If you are having a hard time making up your mind when it comes time to sign the bill, I would say a 15% tip is a safe bet.

How much do you tip? Let us know in the comments section! Do you agree with the general tipping standards mentioned above?

[i] http://www.businessinsider.com/this-is-how-much-you-should-tip-for-every-service-2012-8

[ii] http://www.seattletimes.com/life/food-drink/to-tip-or-not-to-tip-soon-that-may-not-be-up-to-you/

Buying Smart at the State Fair

We’ve waited patiently all summer, and the state fairs in Alaska, Oregon and Washington are almost here!  Cotton candy anyone?  Whether you’re looking forward to the cute farm animalsFerris Wheel for Blog, exciting rides, or the delicious food, the state fair is arguably one of the best parts of summer.  And who could forget the live concerts featuring names such as Jason Derulo and Keith Urban?  My personal favorite at the fair are the elephant ears!  The fair offers something for everyone, especially shoppers looking to snag some great deals from local vendors.

Many of us will make an entire day out of the fair.  With so much to see and do, how could you fit it all in a few hours?  You might find yourself in the commercial vendors section of the fair, where you will see an overwhelming amount of products to purchase.  Before you make any purchases at the fair, keep these smart buying tips in mind:

  • Do your research. With a smart phone, look up a company’s BBB Business Review on bbb.org.
  • Make sure you know the company’s refund and exchange policy before you buy. If possible, get the policy in writing.
  • Know where the company is located.  Ask for the company’s physical location and telephone number, in case you need to return or exchange an item after the fair.
  • If time allows, shop around first so you can compare prices. Keep in mind that the least expensive item may not always be the best value.
  • Don’t be pressured to buy on the spot. After the demonstration or sales pitch, take some time to think about whether or not you are getting a good deal and if the purchase is necessary.
  • Ask the vendor if a sale price will be honored after the fair or event. If so, you will not feel pressured to purchase the item “on the spot.”
  • Be familiar with the limits of the “cooling-off rule.” It’s important to note that the FTC’s “Cooling-off Rule,” which allows people three days to cancel a purchase, does not apply to the following purchases at fairs: Purchases under $25, insurance, securities, real estate, motor vehicles, or arts and crafts.

Be sure to check out our Facebook and Instagram pages for the latest updates and consumer alerts. If you see a vendor at the fair displaying their BBB Accreditation seal, take a picture and send it to us at socialmedia@thebbb.org to be featured on our Facebook page for Find the Seal Friday (#FTSF).

Here are the state fair dates:

  • Alaska: Aug. 27 – Sept. 7
  • Oregon: Aug. 28 – Sept. 7
    Washington: Sept. 11 – Sept. 27

Enjoy the fair and stay safe!