You might think that if you were incredibly wealthy, you would live a life of opulence. Yet some of the richest people in the world live frugally — and regular people can learn something from them. These celebrities with high net worths haven’t let living large mean spending large.
Last updated: Jan. 2, 2020
The Oracle of Omaha is worth over $88 billion, according to Forbes, making him the third-richest person in the world. Yet, he lives a very frugal lifestyle.
Buffett is a walking lesson in how to live frugally, which he has demonstrated by living in the same house he bought in 1958. He once told Berkshire Hathaway investors, “For the $31,500 I paid for our house, my family and I gained 52 years of terrific memories, with more to come.”
You might not think of this as what rich people do, but the Facebook founder has been seen driving an Acura valued at around $30,000. Zuckerberg also wears jeans and a T-shirt nearly every day despite a net worth of over $75 billion, according to Forbes.
Sarah Jessica Parker
Parker’s journey to fame and fortune is one of the many celebrity rags-to-riches stories. She grew up as one of eight children in a family that spent time on welfare, according to The New York Times.
But Parker has kept her frugal ways despite her fame and fortune. And she’s passing her habits on to her own children. For example, she dressed her son in clothes that have been handed down from her nephews.
His stints as the drummer for Nirvana and frontman for the Foo Fighters have helped Grohl amass a net worth estimated at $280 million. But he watches his spending and told The Red Bulletin that he drives “a family car.” Grohl told The Guardian he learned “money will kill you” after his mother had a stroke while paying the family’s taxes.
Sarah Michelle Gellar
The star of “Buffy the Vampire Slayer” has been known to grocery shop at upscale Whole Foods Market. But she has said that when she’s there, she only buys what’s on sale. She also has said that she brings her own bags because she gets a discount for doing so.
Queen Elizabeth II
Queen Elizabeth II is famously frugal, demanding all palace lightbulbs be low-wattage and turned off while not in use, reusing wrapping paper, darning frayed sheets rather than replacing them and using the same handbag for up to 40 years, the U.K.’s Express reported.
Ashton Kutcher and Mila Kunis
One of Hollywood’s richest “it” couples, Kutcher and Kunis are becoming known as frugal celebrities. They are trying to keep their children grounded by passing on their frugal habits. That includes not going overboard on Christmas presents for their children. Kunis — who grew up in Communist Russia — told Entertainment Tonight that they have asked their parents to limit themselves to one gift.
Eschewing the three-day destination wedding many celebrity couples choose, actress Kristen Bell and fellow actor Dax Shepard got married at the local courthouse. The total cost for their nuptials: $142. Bell is also a regular coupon clipper.
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The Duchess of Cambridge is well known for wearing the same outfit for multiple occasions — something most of us find pretty reasonable but which is not common among all celebrities. Maybe she picked up some of her frugal habits from the queen.
Former first lady Michelle Obama paid for her own clothes while in the White House. Many of the elegant gowns she wore were donated by their designers. When she shopped for herself, Obama often went to retail stores known for reasonable prices. On one appearance on NBC’s “Today” show, she sported a $35 dress from fast-fashion retailer H&M.
Rob Gronkowski is very careful about not spending money recklessly, writing in his 2015 book, “It’s Good to be Gronk,” that he has yet to spend a dime of his NFL paychecks or even his signing bonus. He’s lived off the money he receives from endorsements, avoiding pricey cars and wearing his favorite pair of blue jeans from high school.
Even though Tiffany Haddish is now worth $6 million, the “Girls Trip” star formerly experienced homelessness so she still lives frugally. She told People in 2017 that she drives a Honda, uses Groupons and still has a knock-off Michael Kors handbag.
“I’m probably going to be cheap with my money for a long time,” she told the magazine. “You know I’ve been homeless, so it’s like, ‘Yeah it’s here now but will it be here in five years?’ I don’t know.”
Banks — who has worked as a model, actress, author and host of “America’s Next Top Model” — is one of many celebrities who live modestly. She saves money by collecting the shampoo, conditioner and soap from her hotel rooms and using leftovers from meals the next day.
T. Boone Pickens
Energy mogul T. Boone Pickens has long been recognized as a savvy businessman and legendary tightwad. By his own admission, he has taken a detour in a conference room to turn the light off on his way out the door. He credits his grandmother with instilling this habit, saying she told him if he didn’t turn off the light when he was finished in a room, she would give him the light bill and expect him to pay it.
Star of the hugely successful “Hunger Games” movies, Lawrence continued living in her parents’ condominium even after making eight figures. “I think it would be very bizarre to live in a big mansion by myself,” she told Elle.
Lawrence eventually moved into her own digs, however. Variety reports that she bought a loft-style condo in New York City in early 2017 for a little more than $9 million — and then proceeded to place it on the rental market while she was filming “Red Sparrow” in London.
“Desperate Housewives” star Teri Hatcher has kept her cars until they have at least 100,000 miles on them. She has also baked for her daughter’s school celebrations rather than buying treats to bring in.
The longtime newscaster credits her mother with teaching her to search for bargains. According to Parade, she brings leftovers to work for lunch and borrows clothes from her friends.
One of the wealthiest country music stars, Carrie Underwood admitted she clips coupons when she goes grocery shopping. Further illustrating that there’s not that much difference between some rich and poor people, she also said she often forgets to bring the coupons with her to the store. And if you’re wondering what rich people eat, Underwood said she buys stir-fry kits and meatless burgers.
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Award-winning actress Hilary Swank lived in a mobile home when she was younger. That experience instilled frugal habits that she retains to this day, like clipping coupons.
Mexican business mogul Carlos Slim regularly appears on lists of the world’s wealthiest people, but you won’t find his home on any list of celebrity houses. His net worth is estimated at a little over $63 billion, but he has lived in the same home for over 40 years.
Conan O’Brien has a net worth estimated at $95 million. Yet, he has kept his 1992 Ford Taurus — even featuring it in a bit on his show.
With the success of the “Matrix” and “John Wick” franchises under his belt, Keanu Reeves has amassed a $360 million fortune. Yet the actor eschews having a private chauffeur — or even taking an Uber — and instead chooses to ride the New York subway.
The “Mad Men” alum was relying on public transportation and living in a single-room apartment in 2010, even after he scored a choice role in the successful drama, according to the New York Times. He’s also talked about how taking public transit allowed him to have interactions with others and to people-watch.
Lady Gaga is one of the highest-paid celebrities in the world with a net worth of $320 million, but she’s a self-proclaimed bargain shopper. The singer once tweeted that she uses coupons at the grocery store and bargains when she buys retail.
Despite being an international movie star with a $60 million net worth, Keira Knightley chooses to live simply. She confirmed to Glamour in 2014 that she lives on around $50,000 a year.
“Some of my best, most hilarious times have been in the least luxurious places,” she told the magazine.
Peter Dinklage has forgone a celebrity lifestyle for a more simple one, choosing to live in upstate New York over New York City. The “Game of Thrones” star also drives a Volvo and does his own landscaping, according to a 2012 Rolling Stone profile.
The founder of the ubiquitous furniture chain Ikea practiced what he preached when it came to the affordable, assemble-it-yourself products his company sells. When traveling, he flew in coach class and drove a 20-year-old Volvo, according to CNBC.
Tiffani Thiessen rose to fame in the late ’80s as everyone’s crush Kelly Kapowski on “Saved by the Bell,” but she still lives cheaply despite spending decades in the spotlight. The actress told The Krazy Koupon Lady that she shops on discount sites like Gilt and buys clothes at Old Navy.
Shailene Woodley’s successful acting career has netted her a $9 million net worth, but she doesn’t live in a mansion. In fact, she doesn’t own a home at all. Woodley told Architectural Digest in 2019 that she lives out of a suitcase.
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About the Author
Karen Doyle is a personal finance writer with over 20 years’ experience writing about investments, money management and financial planning. Her work has appeared on numerous news and finance
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