Frugal definition

Frugal definition – Frugality, Thrifty living, Simple living, Afluenza and Anti-consumerism explained. These terms are often closely used, but what do they mean, and what are the differences between them?

Frugality is the practice of acquiring goods and services in a restrained manner, and resourcefully using already owned economic goods and services in order to achieve long term goals.

Some see frugality on a more philosophic side – as a way of life or spiritual discipline, while others practice frugal living in order to cut expenses, have more money, get the most they possibly can from their money or to achieve financial goals.

Different spiritual communities even consider frugality to be a virtue. The basic philosophy behind this is the idea that people ought to save money in order to allocate it to more charitable purposes, such as helping others in need.

There are also environmentalists who consider frugality to be a way of life humans should adopt in order to reduce the stress on earth by restraining the use services and products.

Common strategies for frugality include:

  • Curbing costly habits
  • Suppressing instant gratification by means of fiscal self-restraint
  • Preferring cost-free options
  • Defying expensive social norms
  • Using barter
  • Reducing waste
  • Seeking efficiency


Other Terms

Frugality is sometimes used in conjunctions with other terms. These include:

Thrifting also refers to the practice of restrained or disciplined spending habits, by means of purchasing goods at special very-cheap stores, purchasing pre-owned goods, love for vintage material goods etc.

Simple Living
Simple living encompasses a number of different voluntary practices to simplify one’s lifestyle, mainly by reducing expenditure and increasing one’s self-reliance.
Some people practice simple living to reduce need for purchased goods or services and, by extension, reduce their need to sell their time for money.

Anti-consumerism refers to a socio-political movement against the equating of personal happiness with consumption and the purchase of material possessions.

Consumerism is a term used to describe the effects of the market economy on the individual.

Anti-consumerist activism draws parallels with environmental activism, anti-globalization, and animal-rights activism in its condemnation of modern corporations or organizations that pursue a solely economic interest.

Affluenza is a combination of two words: Influenza (commonly referred to as the flu – a contentious disease) and Affluence (commonly referred to as the wealth – abundance of material possession).

The combination of both words refers to the search of happiness by means of accumulating material wealth as a contentious illness.

Proponents of the term consider that the prizing of endless increases in material wealth may lead to feelings of worthlessness and dissatisfaction rather than experiences of a ‘better life’, and that these symptoms may be usefully captured with the metaphor of a disease.

They claim that some or even many of those who become wealthy will find the economic success leaving them unfulfilled and hungry only for more wealth, finding that they are unable to get pleasure from the things they buy, and that increasingly material things may come to dominate their time and thoughts.