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 this: Is my choice to be cheap going to harm or insult another person?
A good rule of thumb is to be cheap with yourself, generous with others.
Here are a few common cheapskate etiquette guidelines to follow:
When splitting the cost of something, always round up. Never freeload in the name of frugality. If you cannot afford to pay your way, don’t go. When in doubt, always err on the side of generosity.
When eating out in a group, how can I ask to pay my portion of the bill and not have it “split evenly” without seeming cheap? Ask the server for a separate check before you order or position yourself to accept the bill from the server. Fully calculate what you owe including tax and a fair tip, rounding up. Place your money on the check and pass it along.
When using a restaurant discount coupon, how do we figure the tip? Determine what the cost would have been for the meal without the coupon. Calculate your gratuity on this full amount, before tax.
Do I have to tip the bellman to carry my bags to the room? Yes. It is customary in our culture to tip a bellman $1 per bag, or if the bags are heavy $2 per bag. You can always carry your own bags and keep the tip.
Should I tip my beautician if I am not pleased with the result? No. A tip is a reward for good service above and beyond what is required. Do not reward bad service.
What about home delivery? 10-15% of the bill, $2-5 for pizza delivery depending on the size of the order and difficulty of delivery.
Where is it required to leave money in a tip jar? Nowhere. You may want to tip occasionally if that person or barista behind the counter went out of his or her way to provide a little something extra or if you are a regular customer.
What is polite when having a free makeover at a cosmetic counter in a department store? If you buy a product, you owe nothing. Otherwise, leave $15 minimum.
I received a Gift Certificate for an 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 10-15% of the value of the treatment to be shared between those who provided services.
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? Performing weddings and funerals are typically outside the scope of a minister’s regular duties. You should pay the officiant a minimum of $100, more if travel is involved. A gift in lieu of cash would not be appropriate.
My former fiancé broke our engagement. What happens to the ring? The ring belongs to the person who paid for it, regardless of who broke the engagement.
Got questions? Sticky situations? Post them below in the comments section. That will give everyone in the audience an opportunity to weigh in.