Face it. Living below your means requires a good bit of creativity from time to time. You have to get pretty clever to stretch a buck.

But just how far can you go in matters of etiquette before you cross the line? Ask yourself these questions:

Is my choice to be cheap going to harm or insult another person?

Will my action leave a fragrance or an odor?

Be cheap with yourself, not with others. When splitting the cost always round up. Never freeload in the name of frugality. If you cannot afford to pay your way, don't go. And when in doubt, always err on the side of generosity.

On what portion of the restaurant bill do I pay a tip?

Pay the tip on the total for food and beverages before tax. It is customary to pay 15 percent for good service.

I am invited to a bridal shower I cannot attend. Must I send a gift?

No. Respond with your regrets. However, if you are invited to the wedding and cannot attend, in that case you should send a gift.

Am I obliged to give a person who gave me an unexpected Christmas gift, a return gift even if he or she is not on my gift list?

No. A simple thank you note is all that is required.

Is it standard practice to tip your dog groomer? If so, how much?

Yes. Most pet groomers are paid on commission, not a regular salary or hourly wage. Typically your tip should be 15 percent of the bill or $2 per dog, whichever is greater.

Do I have to tip the bellman to carry my bags to the room? I really do think it is ridiculous but don't like that awkward moment when he just stands there.

Yes. It is customary in our culture to tip a bellman $1 per bag, or if the bags are heavy $2 per bag—but only if you choose to use the service. You could always carry your own bags and keep the tip.

I received a gift certificate for a very elaborate day at the spa. Am I obligated to tip the staff?

Determine in advance whether a service charge is included in your gift. Call ahead to ask if your certificate includes a gratuity. If not, you should tip 10 to 15 percent of the value of the treatment to be shared between those who provided services.

My former fiance broke our engagement. What happens to the ring?

The ring belongs to the person who paid for it regardless of who broke the engagement. And both parties should return any gifts received from the other during the relationship.

When using a two-for-one restaurant coupon how do we figure the tip?

Determine what the cost would have been for the meal without the coupon. Figure your tip on this amount, before tax.

What is the etiquette to follow when having a makeover at a cosmetic counter in a department store? There is no charge for this service, but am I expected to leave a tip?

You owe nothing if you buy product or take less than 15 minutes of the salesperson's time. Otherwise leave $15 minimum.

The pastor of our church will perform our wedding ceremony. Do we have to pay him since we are members of the church and weddings are part of his job? Maybe a little gift?

Performing weddings and funerals are typically outside the scope of a minister's regular duties. Yes you must pay the officiant a minimum of $100, more if travel is involved. No, a gift in lieu of cash would not be appropriate.