Types of Frugality: Digging Deeper Into Why I Want to Live Frugally

As I mentioned in last week’s post, I’ve been learning a bit more about spiritual frugality. I’ve also just been thinking generally about different types of frugality. We all have different reasons for choosing this path. I think if I get more connected to my own reasons for living frugally, then I’ll be able to save more money. More importantly, I’ll be living a richer life.

Why It Matters

I recently realized that I still get shaken away from my frugality during times of financial emergencies. The crux of the problem is that my frugal living is primarily a money-focused approach. I want to save money. I want to feel financially secure. Therefore, I make frugal living choices.

However, when push comes to shove, I really need a stronger foundation for my choices than just the motivation of saving money. It’s too easy to waver. On days of weakness, I’m apt to spend more. I forget why I’ve chosen the financial path that I have. Therefore, I need to find a deeper sense of value in why I’ve selected this way of life.

5 Types of Frugality

There are probably many different types of frugality or frugal living philosophies. Here are the five common types of frugality I’ve come across so far:

1. Spiritual Frugality

As I mentioned in last week’s post, spiritual frugality means aligning your life with your particular faith. Moreover, you align your financial choices with that faith. This seems like the most deep-rooted form of frugal living. If you can always tie your financial choices back to your spiritual beliefs, then those choices will likely feel solid no matter what else is going on in life. Unfortunately, I’m not sure that is the right frugal living approach for me.

2. Eco-Minded Frugality

Many people choose frugal living because it naturally aligns well with their environmental concerns. After all, consumerism and throwaway culture are bad for the environment. Waste is bad for the environment. When you choose to avoid those things because of your concern for the environment, it aligns well with a frugal lifestyle.

This is one of the types of frugality that I can see digging into more for myself. I’m concerned about the environment. I’m willing to pay more for certain things – like sustainable food practices – even if it doesn’t always help my personal bottom line. Yet, overall, I save money because I don’t waste. Therefore, this is a good fit.

3. DIY Frugality

There are many different reasons that people choose a DIY lifestyle. They include:

  • A desire to escape the digital world and connect to hands-on analog experiences
  • Continuing traditions in family or community, such as carrying on woodworking, glass-blowing, etc. that have been done for generations
  • Survivalist mentality of wanting to not rely on others for anything

I appreciate the DIY lifestyle. I’m a crafter and I do make certain things. I haven’t dug deep into this approach as far as it relates to frugality. In fact, I probably spend more on my own crafts than is financially wise. However, it’s one of the types of frugality that feels like a good fit if I learn more and process more about how it could fit into my life.

4. Minimalism

Some people are specifically focused on decluttering their lives down to as few things as possible. The emphasis isn’t necessarily frugality, because sometimes you spend more on a particular item because it streamlines your life. It’s not about getting the cheapest price. However, it dovetails well with frugality. Generally, having less means spending less. Minimalism keeps your life and mind decluttered.


Many people choose to live frugally while emphasizing increased income in order to attain the goal of early retirement. I understand and respect this perspective. However, it’s too money-focused for me to feel deep enough in terms of what I’m currently exploring. That’s not true for everyone. I think you can have deep goals for what you want to do in early retirement that will keep you motivated in frugal living. That’s just not the right fit for me.

I’m not sure what the right types of frugality are for me, yet. However, I believe that digging deeper into my core values will help me improve my relationship with money overall. How do you approach frugal living? What drives, motivates, and sustains you in that practice?

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