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20 Wealthy People Who Are Surprisingly Cheap

20 Wealthy People Who Are Surprisingly Cheap

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Many people are fascinated by the idea of being wealthy. It explains why so many of us play the lottery, watch documentaries on CEOs, read books about how to become a millionaire and so on. But, if you were wealthy, how would your lifestyle change? Would you buy an exotic island, fill a giant closet with designer clothes and drive luxury cars?

When you think of wealthy people, you probably think that they all have an extravagant lifestyle. After all, we’re used to seeing certain celebrities flaunt their riches through outrageous purchases and lavish events. Surprisingly, though, some wealthy people are quite frugal. We’re talking about clipping coupons, shopping at thrift stores and doing other things that even normal folks wouldn’t do once they could afford to live comfortably. In a way, it makes sense when you think about it. That’s how these people retain their wealth. Or, maybe they came from humble beginnings and are aware that they don’t need to change anything to be happy.

The following 20 people gained their wealth through business, entertainment or inheritances. You may have heard of some of them (like Mark Zuckerberg, Tyra Banks and Leonardo DiCaprio), but you’ll be surprised by their frugal habits.

20. Mark Zuckerberg – Wears The Same Thing Every Day


When you’re a man with billions of dollars to your name, you can afford the finest threads in the world—Armani suits, leather Gucci belts, Prada Oxfords etc. But, if you’re Mark Zuckerberg, you don’t care about dressing up. That’s right—Facebook founder, Mark Zuckerberg (whose net worth is over $50 billion) wears plain, grey t-shirts, a dark grey hoodie, blue jeans and Adidas flip-flops every single day. He once posted a photo of his closet and captioned it: “First day back after paternity leave. What should I wear?” Of course, it was meant to be humorous, as there were only light grey t-shirts and dark grey hoodies shown in the photo.

So, why the simple taste in clothing? Mark says, “I really want to clear my life so that I have to make as few decisions as possible about anything, except how to best serve this community. I feel like I’m not doing my job if I spend any of my energy on things that are silly or frivolous about my life.”

19. Kristen Bell – Spent $142 On Her Wedding


You may know Kristen Bell from the teen drama series Veronica Mars, or from the Disney hit Frozen. The actress is reportedly worth $16 million, yet she’s very frugal—and not afraid to admit it. While most celebrities have over-the-top weddings (like Kim Kardashian and George Clooney), Kristen Bell spent a grand total of $142 on hers. She decided to forgo a fancy wedding dress, opting for an all-black ensemble, instead. The small wedding took place in a courthouse and the pair (Kristen and Dax Shepard) were surrounded by a few friends.

Her wedding isn’t the only thing she’s been frugal about, either. Although Kristen can afford designer dresses and high-end products, she’s been known to shop at Target for clothes and use coupons, too!

18. Leonardo DiCaprio – Drives A Prius


Leonardo DiCaprio is now known as much for his environmental efforts as he is for his acting career. He has produced two web documentaries about the state of the environment, supports numerous organizations and lives a lifestyle which reflects his eco-conscious attitude.

Up until 2013, Leo only drove a Toyota Prius. That’s a car most people in the middle class can afford! The $30,000 ride is a hybrid car, which has ultra-low emissions. He says: “I don’t fly private jets. I still have only one car, and that’s a Toyota Prius. I don’t spend money on a lot. Money is very important to me because it allows me the freedom to choose what I want to do as an actor and most importantly because I want to accumulate enough so that one day I can do something really great and beneficial for other people, for the environment, or for children.” We can’t help but admire him a bit more for saying that.

17. Warren Buffett – Lives In The Same Home He Bought In 1958


Even if you don’t follow business news, you’ve heard of billionaire investor Warren Buffett. He is considered to be one of the most successful investors in the world, with an astonishing net worth of over $73 billion. Imagine what his house must look like! Well, actually, it’s not as opulent as you may think. He still lives in the same home he bought in 1958 for about $31,000! The house, located in Omaha, Nebraska is rather modest, with five bedrooms and two and a half baths. Of course, he can afford to upgrade to a castle, if he really wanted to. But, he probably never will. After all, this is a man of simple tastes (he reportedly enjoys McDonald’s breakfasts and cherry Coke). Needless to say, he didn’t amass all that wealth by spending carelessly!

16. Charlie Ergen – Packs His Own Lunch Every Day


Charlie Ergen is the chairman of Dish Network and has a net worth well into the billions. So, you’d expect that such a prominent business person would go out to a nice buffet or at least enjoy Starbucks for lunch, right? Wrong. Mr. Ergen packs his own lunch every day! And it isn’t a gourmet lunch cooked by a personal chef, either—he simply packs a sandwich and a Gatorade. He probably spends less on food than we do! From where does this frugal habit stem? Well, Charlie says: “My mom grew up in the Depression…I don’t have a mahogany desk.”

15. Susan Boyle – Takes Public Transport


Susan Boyle rose to fame after her pleasantly unexpected Britain’s Got Talent audition. Her debut album, I Dreamed A Dream (2009), became the UK’s best-selling debut album in history. It goes without saying that she has at least a few million dollars in her bank account. So, you’d expect that right after getting her first big payday, maybe she’d buy herself a nice car. But, even in 2010, Susan was reportedly still taking public transport. At the time, she explained her choice, saying that she wanted her money to last. She has also been spotted shopping at discount stores. Clearly, she’s not just talented; she’s smart with her money, too!

14. Ingvar Kamprad – Buys His Clothes Second Hand


If you’re a fan of IKEA, you’ve got Ingvar Kamprad to thank. One can imagine that the billionaire lives in a fancy house, wears the best clothing and eats at the top restaurants. But, he’s another wealthy, yet frugal individual. Similar to Mark Zuckerberg, Ingvar doesn’t seem to care much about clothes. He shops at second-hand stores and is known to haggle for lower prices! He says, “I don’t think I’m wearing anything that wasn’t bought at a flea market.”

He also has a frugal method for saving on haircuts: “Normally, I try to get my haircut when I’m in a developing country. Last time it was in Vietnam.” That’s not all, though. The retail chain founder also takes the bus and drops into IKEA stores for a bite to eat when he’s traveling.

13. T. Boone Pickens – Has A Grocery Budget


Again, you would expect a billionaire to not look so closely at how much they’re spending (after all, they’d really have to make several gigantic purchases to really see a dent in their account). But, T. Boone Pickens, an oil magnate worth over a billion dollars, looks at every dollar he spends. He always brings a grocery list to the store and only carries enough cash to cover what he needs. So, if he sees a bag of chips that he didn’t plan on getting, he’s out of luck! He also admitted: “I’ve got a pair of loafers that I still wear that I got in 1957.” Most of us would stop wearing new shoes after just one year!

12. Jay Leno – Never Spent His NBC Salary


OK, Jay Leno does splurge on classic cars (he owns over 200!). So, why is he even on this list? Well, he does a frugal habit. The Tonight Show host made a promise to himself back in 1992—when he was first signed on to do the talk show—that he would never spend his NBC salary (which is around $15 million per year). Instead, he lives off the income he earns from his standup performances. That’s a pretty good lesson for all of us, isn’t it? Have two jobs, save one income. But, it’s definitely easier said than done. It probably takes a lot of willpower.

11. Tyra Banks – Separates Her 2-Ply Toilet Paper


Tyra Banks is an internationally recognized supermodel. As such, you’d probably guess that she wears designer clothing, wears top-of-the-line makeup and uses the best hair products. But, that couldn’t be further from the truth! Tyra wears simple clothes, stocks up on hotel shampoos and conditioners and uses a notebook with colored tabs to keep track of her life (instead of a fancy gadget). But, the craziest thing she does to save money? She apparently buys two-ply toilet paper and separates the sheets, to use one ply at a time.

She admits, “I am frugal. I’ve always been this way. When I was young, my mom would give me my allowance, and I’d peel off a little each week and have some to spare.” That’s nice and all, but seriously, we’re sure she’s at a point where she can at least afford to use double-ply toilet paper!

10. Teri Hatcher – Doesn’t Upgrade Her Cars


Teri Hatcher—known for starring in Desperate Housewives and Tomorrow Never Dies—has an estimated net worth of $50 million. Yet, she doesn’t feel the need to upgrade her car every year or even every few years. Nope, the famous actress will drive her car until it can hardly drive anymore. She says, “I don’t spend my money on sports cars or new million-dollar houses. I drive my cars for 10 years until they have 100,000 miles on them.” It’s good to know that she doesn’t let her things go to waste! We can all take a tip from Teri!

9. John Caudwell – Bikes To Work


John Caudwell, founder of Phones 4u, has a couple billion dollars to his name. But, that doesn’t stop him from being a penny pincher. Though he’s now retired, he used to cycle to work, instead of driving in a sports car! That’s a 14-mile ride every day! Now, he bikes 40 miles to his favorite pub. He also cuts his own hair (instead of paying a barber to do so) because he thinks going to a barber is a waste of time. Finally, he shops off the racks at Mark’s & Spencer’s (a British retailer with modest prices).

8. Shailene Woodley – Makes Her Own Makeup


Shailene Woodley rose to fame by starring in movies such as The Fault in Our Stars and the Divergent series. Although she’s now worth millions and is widely recognized as a beautiful actress, she remains down to earth. The star makes her own makeup (such as lip stain) and soaps, packs her own lunch while filming and even shops at the thrift store. In fact, Shailene refuses to buy new clothes, except when making an appearance on the red carpet (but even then, the clothes are often donated). She even sold her house, after realizing she barely used it. Instead, she stays with family and friends.

7. Sarah Jessica Parker – Is Nothing Like Carrie Bradshaw


Sarah Jessica Parker is known for her role as Carrie Bradshaw on Sex and the City. Carrie is a New Yorker, who writes a lifestyle column and also works as a freelance writer for Vogue. Not surprisingly, she’s a fashionista, with a closet filled with designer bags and shoes. However, Sarah Jessica Parker is nothing like her character when it comes to material things! Actually, she is a bit like Carrie, since she kept all the clothes she wore on the show (to save money on clothes). She also gives her son hand-me-downs to wear! She says she chooses to live this way because she doesn’t want her son to live in a dream world.

6. Azim Premji – Drove A Toyota Corolla For Years


With a net worth of $17 billion, Azim is India’s third-richest man. But, he’s not like most multi-billionaires. That is, he doesn’t own a yacht, throw huge parties or fly first class. Instead, he reportedly walks to work, served guests at his son’s wedding on paper plates and flies economy class. It’s reported that he drove a Toyota Corolla until it was no longer in the condition to drive. When he did buy another car, it was a second-hand Mercedes. What does he plan on doing with all the money he’s saving? Well, Premji has pledged a large amount to charity.

5. Will Ferrell – Uses An Old Blackberry


Will Ferrell has never been one to show off. Really, when have you seen him flashing fancy watches or posting photos of himself with dozens of cars? That’s right—never. Kevin Hart, who stars alongside Ferrell in Get Hard, commented on Will Ferrell’s frugal lifestyle during an interview with Conan O’ Brian. He said Ferrell is “cheap as hell” and “has the first Blackberry ever made…and it’s all taped up.” He also thinks Will has “grab-bag style” which he describes as free t-shirts that companies give away. We can’t help but imagine Will being quite proud of himself for saving his money.

4. John C. Bogle – Hates Buying Things


John C. Bogle is the founder of the investment management company, The Vanguard Group. Despite his eight-figure net worth, he owns a modest house and wears a watch which costs the equivalent of three small Starbuck’s frappuccinos.

John’s upbringing was deeply affected by the Great Depression. It set off a chain of negative events—his family lost their house, his father became an alcohol and his parents divorced. This explains why he is extremely frugal. He says, “I don’t like going into stores, I don’t like the whole process of buying things. I have everything I could possibly need. I grew up in a certain way.”

3. Aimee Elizabeth – Lives On $1,000 A Month


Aimee Elizabeth is the author of Poverty Sucks! The title of her book is fitting, since Aimee was homeless as a teenager. However, she turned her life around, becoming a self-made millionaire by the time she was in her late 30s. She earned her money through real estate and investments. Aimee appeared on Extreme Cheapskates, where it was revealed that she has a monthly budget of just $1,000! Talk about living below your means! She owned a car which was in such bad shape, a mechanic repossessed it! And if you think that’s crazy, you’re in for a shock. Aimee served her ex-husband (who volunteers to clean her house) cat food, instead of spending more on tuna!

2. Scottie Pippen – Known To Be A Poor Tipper


Scottie Pippen will long be remembered for his time spent on the Chicago Bulls team. During this time, he won several NBA titles and made several million dollars per year. Needless to say, he has a lot of money and can definitely afford to tip waiters at restaurants. Unfortunately for them, he doesn’t! And this frugal habit has earned him the nickname “No Tippin’ Pippen.” It is reported that he once left a $25 tip on an $800 bill (that’s not even five percent!).  Even his former peer, Charles Barkley, once said in an interview: “There’s nobody cheaper than Scottie Pippen and Michael Jordan.” Yikes!

1. Chuck Feeney – Donated All His Money


Chuck Feeney once had a net worth of about $7 billion. Now, he only has about $2 million (which is obviously still a lot, but nothing compared to what he had before). But, his decrease in wealth didn’t occur because he spent it all on expensive toys and houses. Instead, he donated all of his money to support higher education, public health, scientific research and human rights causes. For years, Chuck (founder of Duty Free Shoppers) lived a frugal life. He would buy his clothes from retail stores, use public transit and chose the second-cheapest wine on the list. He even raised his kids to be hardworking and independent—making them work normal summer jobs.


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