Voluntary Simplicity


DEFINITION of 'Voluntary Simplicity '

A lifestyle that minimizes consumption and the pursuit of wealth and material goods. Individuals choose voluntary simplicity in order to attain a simpler but more meaningful life. Voluntary simplicity is quite different from those who are forced to spend less and live a more simple life involuntarily, such as those who lose their job and cannot find work.

Also known as "simple living."

BREAKING DOWN 'Voluntary Simplicity '

In our modern-day society, people often seek to buy happiness and find that materialism often does not satisfy. Some of these people will choose to leave the "rat race" and live a simpler, less stressful life. A simpler life is less costly, so people can work less and have more time for themselves and family. Voluntary simplicity is not about living with less of what money can buy, but about wanting less.

Moving from a lifestyle of greater consumption towards a lifestyle based on voluntary simplicity is called downshifting.

  1. Elm Street Economy

    The Elm Street economy is a contemporary economic movement that ...
  2. Freeganism

    Freeganism is a lifestyle philosophy focused on adopting alternative ...
  3. Affluenza

    A social condition arising from the desire to be more wealthy, ...
  4. Downshifting

    The act of reducing one's standard of living for an improved ...
  5. Autonomous Consumption

    The minimum level of consumption that would still exist even ...
  6. Discretionary Income

    The amount of an individual's income that is left for spending, ...
Related Articles
  1. Budgeting

    Stop Keeping Up With The Joneses - They're Broke

    Conspicuous consumption could be robbing you of future wealth.
  2. Retirement

    Downsize Your Home To Downsize Expenses

    Learn how to cut your mortgage, tax, gas and utilities bills.
  3. Personal Finance

    Go Green, Save Money

    Follow a few of these simple tips to become more "green" - and keep more of it in your wallet.
  4. Budgeting

    Save Without Sacrifice

    Don't sacrifice your life for your savings - get out there and have fun!
  5. Budgeting

    Downshift To Simplify Your Life

    Learn how to ditch the rat race with voluntary simple living.
  6. Savings

    6 Millionaire Traits That You Can Adopt

    Millionaires have more in common than just their bank accounts. They share certain qualities that help them make it to the top.
  7. Stock Analysis

    Top 3 Stocks for the Coming Holiday Season

    If you want to buck the bear market trend by going long on consumer stocks, these three might be your best bets.
  8. Investing News

    This is the Fastest-Growing Consumer Complaint

    There’s no way to guarantee that your Social Security number won’t fall into the wrong hands. Here are some ways to make yourself less of a target.
  9. Investing

    10 New Apps That Help Budget For Expensive Cities

    From platforms for saving money to those that account for side jobs, mobile apps are changing spending habits and income generation in urban areas.
  10. Investing Basics

    Tiny House Movement: Making Market Opportunities

    The tiny house movement throws all assumptions about household budgeting and mortgage management out the window, and creates new market segments too.
  1. Can mutual funds outperform savings accounts?

    A mutual fund can – and should – outperform a savings account. In most cases, it should not even be a close race. Savings ... Read Full Answer >>
  2. Can I use my IRA savings to start my own savings?

    While there is no legal reason why you cannot withdraw funds from your IRA to start a traditional savings account, it is ... Read Full Answer >>
  3. Is Japan an emerging market economy?

    Japan is not an emerging market economy. Emerging market economies are characterized by low per capita incomes, poor infrastructure ... Read Full Answer >>
  4. Are Social Security payments included in the US GDP calculation?

    Social Security payments are not included in the U.S. definition of the gross domestic product (GDP). Transfer Payments For ... Read Full Answer >>
  5. How soon should I start saving for retirement?

    The best answer to the question, "How soon should I start saving for retirement?", is probably, "yesterday," and the second ... Read Full Answer >>
  6. Can I use my 401(k) as a collateral for a loan?

    Although federal Internal Revenue Service, or IRS, regulations prohibit using a 401(k) account as collateral for a loan, ... Read Full Answer >>

You May Also Like

Hot Definitions
  1. Zero-Sum Game

    A situation in which one person’s gain is equivalent to another’s loss, so that the net change in wealth or benefit is zero. ...
  2. Capitalization Rate

    The rate of return on a real estate investment property based on the income that the property is expected to generate.
  3. Gross Profit

    A company's total revenue (equivalent to total sales) minus the cost of goods sold. Gross profit is the profit a company ...
  4. Revenue

    The amount of money that a company actually receives during a specific period, including discounts and deductions for returned ...
  5. Normal Profit

    An economic condition occurring when the difference between a firm’s total revenue and total cost is equal to zero.
  6. Operating Cost

    Expenses associated with the maintenance and administration of a business on a day-to-day basis.
Trading Center
You are using adblocking software

Want access to all of Investopedia? Add us to your “whitelist”
so you'll never miss a feature!