Voluntary Simplicity living a full life. I absolutely love the term Voluntary Simplicity and the lifestyle it represents. I preach Frugal Living as the key to reaching financial independence. It was easy for me to gravitate to Voluntary Simplicity to see what it is all about. Mainly to try to understand if it was more than frugality by living with purpose and disciplined spending. Living below our means, becoming debt free, and turning into a super-saver. All so my wife and I could retire early.
”Voluntary simplicity is about coming into alignment with what’s more important — more material possessions or more time. It is about having more time and more choice because the essence of it is financial independence,” Mark Zaifman, contributor to “Your Money or Your Life.”
I go on and on about frugal living to reach financial independence. Based on the above quote there are obvious similarities between simple living and what I preach about frugal living.
Frugal Living and Voluntary Simplicity (Simple Living) Similarities
- Concentrating on what truly makes us happy. Cutting from the budget all the rest as waste.
- Pushing ourselves to challenge our frugal living or frugality thresholds. But without being left feeling like we are living a deprived life.
- Saving and investing our way to financial independence.
- Embracing our frugal Living lifestyle as our way of living free and on our terms.
I have found that all the frugal living tenants are the same solid elements of Voluntary Simplicity. But I believe Voluntary Simplicity goes a step farther than Frugal Living.
Voluntary Simplicity Goes Farther by Encompassing Non-Financial Aspects
I am convinced frugal living and financial independence will lead to living a better life. But Voluntary Simplicity not only includes that better life but also a happier and better ME. Voluntary Simplicity isn’t about anything we left behind or used to do. It is all about what we want to become. For me it is the life I am retiring to. I may have preached embracing our frugal living as our new lifestyle. But Voluntary Simplicity goes farther.
- We are also happy and content about the choices we made and continue to make in our frugal living.
- It’s about being responsible. Taking responsibility for ourselves and being self-reliant.
- It’s about concentrating on what is really important to us and our family.
Even without having goals of financial independence or early retirement. Voluntary Simplicity concentrates on the YOU factor in living and how you look at life. Financial gain can obviously be the result from this simple living mindset.
Voluntary Simplicity includes all the financial parts of Frugal Living that will benefit us. But it also covers what we become and grow into as we live this way. A lifestyle that benefits our “soul” for no better term to use.
Once we reach financial independence, Voluntary Simplicity continues. It requires us to constantly access ourselves for our priorities. Reassessing what it is that is truly important and brings happiness to us.
Assigning happiness based priorities helps us stay content about the life we have chosen to live. There is no room for prolonged frustration in Voluntary Simplicity. Frustration is easily discovered and remedied through our constant self-assessments.
Voluntary Simplicity does not include Deprived Living.
Some people believe Voluntary Simplicity means living a deprived monk-like existence. Where you only buy absolute necessities and you can’t enjoy modern conveniences or non-essential activity. Where if you do, you can’t be considered as living within Voluntary Simplicity. That is BS!
There is no one way for Voluntary Simplicity or one size fits all approach. My form of simple living isn’t even set in stone or static to hold up as my personal definition. That is because I am always growing and learning. I am always improving myself and changing as my self-assessments of true happiness priorities change.
- Simple living is a mindset that moves away from money and towards happiness, passion, and importance.
- It’s about challenging consumption in this consumer culture through spending discipline and purposeful thought about purchases.
- It is about challenging your frugal living threshold without breaking it to avoid feeling like you live a deprived life.
- It’s about being happiness focused. About clearing waste from your lifestyle. It’s about placing a higher value on our time and how we want to live instead of making or spending more money.
Changing Your Mind Changes Your Life.
In closing, Voluntary Simplicity includes your understanding what has true meaning to you. Then living a life as close to it as you can. It’s a total mindset change. One if reached will improve your life and yourself.
There will always be extreme flavors in any movement. That is OK if that is what makes you tick. But don’t get hung-up in comparisons with others. Don’t allow their simple living version to scare you off from taking steps to become part of the Voluntary Simplicity movement.
It’s about your life and progress. It includes eating better and naturally. It’s about exercising to increase health, being green or at least greener. It is all about slowing down to enjoy the moments that slip by when we are on busy auto-pilot.
The fun thing about early retirement is having the time to be curious and learn about new things, new concepts, and new ways of thinking. This is my take on Voluntary Simplicity and how I apply it to my lifestyle.
If you want to learn more there are sites dedicated to this subject. Just do a search and go explore.