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.

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