calculate a tip percentage without a calculator

An everyday brain test: Can you calculate a tip without a calculator?

June 16, 2023
  •  BY 

Picture this: You've just finished eating at a restaurant, and it's time to pay. You reach for your phone to help calculate the tip, but your battery is dead. 

Would you feel confident about calculating a fair tip using mental math?

While phone calculators are handy, many of us have become overly reliant on them. So if you could use a quick refresher on how to quickly and easily calculate a tip without a calculator, keep reading.

Standard tipping percentages in the United States

In the United States, the standard tipping percentage usually falls between 15% and 20% of the total bill. This range accounts for factors such as quality of service and dining experience. For exceptional service, some people even tip up to 25%. It's important to remember that tipping is a personal choice, but these percentage ranges can help you determine a fair amount for your server.

Simple math tricks to tip with confidence

So, how do you actually calculate those percentages? Check out this quick video to learn some simple math tricks that can give you the confidence to tip without a calculator.

To recap: 

  • First, calculate 10% of the total bill by moving the decimal point one place to the left.
  • Then, calculate 1% of the total bill by moving the decimal point two places to the left.
  • When you have those two amounts, you can use them to calculate a lot more. For example, 10% x 2 = 20%. And 20% - 1% = 19%.

Practice calculating tips without a calculator

As with anything, the more you practice calculating tips without a calculator, the easier it will become. One way to do that is to download the Elevate brain training app on iOS or Android. It has a game specifically dedicated to standard tip calculations, as well as several other games that can help you brush up on other practical mental math skills. Give it a try for free today!


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