Frugality, Resources

Frugal? Cheap? Voluntary Simplicty? Definitions!

Frugal. Cheap. Money Conscious. Saver. Thrifty. Tightwad. Voluntary Simplicity. Downshifting.

I’ve done some internet searching and I realized that there are a lot of terms for those who want to save money! Here are some basics definitions for the above terms. (Many of the terms are synonymous, and many of the philosophies related to these terms involve overlapping ideas and ideals.)

Frugal (Definition and Resource)
According to, a frugal person is “economical in use or expenditure”. Frugality involves spending less, using less, and finding multiple (unique) uses for products. A frugal person not only shops for bargains, but considers the necessity, or lack thereof, of certain products and services. A person may be frugal because he: has to be or chooses to be. (One might refer to two types of frugality: Involuntary Frugality (born of absolute necessity) and Voluntary Frugality (born of a desire, belief, or choice). (Synonym: Thrifty)

Resources: Frugal For Life (NCN Top 20 Blog!)

Cheap (Definition)

One of the most “difficult” terms to define.  Does it mean the same thing as “frugal” (one who likes to save money)?  Or, does it mean “stingy” (one who hates to or refuses to spend money, even for friends and family).  If you call someone “cheap”, are you paying them a compliment or putting them down?  Synonym: Tightwad

Resource:  Just this:  I say I’m “frugal”.  My wife says I’m “cheap”.  Maybe that will help us understand this particular term 🙂
Voluntary Simplicity (Definition and Resource)

I am just now becoming familiar with the idea of Voluntary Simplicity (also know in some circles as Downshifting). Individuals who are tired of the “rat race” of every day life chose to “slow down and enjoy the view”. Voluntary Simplicity incorporates many of the ideas of frugality and saving money, but it also seeks to have an entire “lifestyle” of simplicity. Many people choose Voluntary Simplicity for health, spiritual, economic, practical and personal reasons. (Ever wish you could just “chill out and enjoy life”. That’s what Downshifters are attempting to do.) Most Downshifter’s seek to lessen their environment impact. Voluntary Simplicity becomes a “total-life” idea and concept. For most (all?) downshifters, frugality plays a major role in their personal finance strategies.

Resource: Geek Farm Life Podcast. (A podcast about 2 geeks who moved to a farm!)

I have always (until the last 2 years) lived in a paycheck-to-paycheck family. I’ve always seen buying products as a way to “reward” myself for my hard work. As a result, I’ve been broke most of my life. Now, I’ve taken control of my personal finances and I find myself learning more and more about “why” I make certain choices and “why” I make certain other choices. I think that everyone of us could use a little bit of “frugality, cheapness, and simplicity”. If you’d like to help me and others learn more about these subjects, please leave a comment! I will update this page as I learn more (and understand more) about saving money and living simply.

4 thoughts on “Frugal? Cheap? Voluntary Simplicty? Definitions!

  1. Pingback: Not Made Of Money : Festival of Frugality #57 Is Up
  2. ~Jumping up & down with hand raised~ Ooooo, Ooooo, Frugal by necessity, that’s me, that’s me!!!

    Great post!!!

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