When a bar of soap is too small to use, I wet both the old and the new soaps and stick them together to avoid throwing away the sliver of soap. I grew up thinking everyone did this. Please let me know if you think this is cheap?
No I don't think that's cheap, it's frugal. Besides it's your soap, you've paid for it and it's not like you're depriving other people of anything. I think the difference between being cheap and being frugal is that being frugal is doing things to save money where you can but not to the detriment of others. For example, being frugal is eating from the set menu or using a coupon to save money. Being cheap is taking your own containers to a buffet and loading them up.
Not sure I'm explaining this right.
You sound right on to me.
For example - taking the bone out of a ham, freezing it until later, and using it for soup instead of buying tinned soup - frugal.
Being served ham at an event, and sneaking the ham bone out in your purse - cheap.
Repairing your clothes instead of discarding them because of a small tear - frugal
Taking things out of the lost and found bin because they are your size - cheap
Washing your own car instead of taking it someplace - frugal
running out in a rainstorm with a bucket and a bar of soap to wash the car - cheap.
Cheap is mean spirited, taking advantage, using most people's good manners to get away with something outrageous because you know that no one will challenge you.
Frugal is that old WWII era saying "Use it up, wear it out, make it do, or do without" - not buying or using unnecessary things because you want your money to go to something else.
My dad always complains about cheap people. His definition is a bit skewed, I think - he calls people cheap who won't spend money the way HE would spend it, not just people that are taking advantage - but I agree with the general spirit of what he says. Frugal people are frequently quite generous - with their time, their talents, and sometimes with their money, when it's for a good reason. Cheap people aren't generous. It's not in their nature.