Living Like Warren Buffett Is More Affordable Than You Think

Want to live like Warren Buffett? Learn how to become frugal.
Krista Kennell /

Trying to save more, pay off debt and make the most of your money? You might want to try living like a billionaire — but only if that billionaire is Warren Buffett.

The investor — known as the "Oracle of Omaha" — is the CEO of Berkshire Hathaway, but there's more to this American business magnate than just his job. Despite his roughly $74 billion net worth, the second-wealthiest man in the world enjoys a life with simple taste, frugal living and generous philanthropy.

"What would Warren do?" is a good question to ask yourself when modeling your lifestyle after Buffett's. The billionaire doesn't describe himself as frugal, just a man with simple tastes. "I buy everything I want in life," he told People Magazine recently. "Would 10 homes make me more happy? Possessions possess you at a point. I don't like a $100 meal as well as a hamburger from McDonald's."

Here's a look at how the brilliant billionaire maintains a frugal lifestyle. If you decide to live like Warren Buffett, who knows — perhaps you can become one of the richest people in the world, too?

Warren Buffett Lives in the Same House He Bought in 1958
Smallbones / Wikimedia Commons

Warren Buffett Lives in the Same House He Bought in 1958

Billionaires live in mansions, right? Not Warren Buffett.

He lives in the same Omaha residence he bought in 1958 for $31,500, the equivalent of roughly $270,000 in 2017 dollars. Buffett has no intention of putting his own home up for sale. "I wouldn't trade it for anything," he said.

In today's money, Buffett would have paid about $41 per square foot for the 6,570-square-foot home. But these days, you'll pay about $180 per square foot for a home in Omaha of that size and era, including one listed across the street from the multi-billionaire.

If you want to live like Buffett, consider buying less home than you can afford. Instead of paying pricey mortgage payments, you'll be able to put more of your money toward savings, retirement or vacations. And if you must take out a loan, consider getting a 30-year mortgage. It's "the best instrument in the world," Buffett told CNBC. Buffett took out a 30-year mortgage in 1971 when he bought a vacation home in California.

"If you're wrong and rates go to 2 percent, which I don't think they will, you pay it off," he said. "It's a one-way renegotiation. It is an incredibly attractive instrument for the homeowner and you've got a one-way bet."

Related: 10 Home Renovations That Will Pay You Back

Buffett Starts His Day With a Cheap Breakfast
val lawless /

Buffett Starts His Day With a Cheap Breakfast

You might assume something like eggs Benedict and mimosas would be part of every billionaire's breakfast. Or, all billionaires have a personal chef who can whip up whatever and whenever they want — right?

Wrong. Adopting Buffett's lifestyle doesn't include paying high prices for daily gourmet French toast prepared in the comforts of your own home.

When it comes to food, the billionaire investor has been known to save money by taking the fast food route. In fact, he might kick off his day with a trip to McDonald's during his five-minute drive to work, reports CNBC.

If he's feeling prosperous, he'll splurge by spending $3.17 on a bacon, egg and cheese biscuit sandwich. If the market's down, he might spend $2.95 on a sausage, egg and cheese sandwich instead. On a really bad day, he buys two sausage patties for $2.61, puts them together and washes it down with a Coke.

Buffett is also known to eat cheap when he's on the road. But forget the cholesterol-soaked bacon and eggs at a local restaurant. Buffett's travel breakfast might consist of a pack of Oreos, his friend Bill Gates — yes, his good buddy is the Microsoft founder — wrote on his blog.

"One thing that was surprising to learn about Warren is that he has basically stuck to eating what he liked when he was 6 years old," wrote Gates. "He did move past baby food, of course, but he mostly eats hamburgers, ice cream and Coke."

Buffett explained his bizarre but cheap diet in an interview with Fortune: "I checked the actuarial tables, and the lowest death rate is among 6-year-olds. So I decided to eat like a 6-year-old. It's the safest course I can take."

Buffett Drives the Same Car for Years
IFCAR / Wikimedia Commons

Buffett Drives the Same Car for Years

Although some CEOs drive around in multimillion-dollar cars, you'll likely find Buffett driving something much more modest. In a BBC documentary, his daughter said he bought cars that he could get at reduced prices, like those that were hail-damaged. The cars were fixed and didn't look hail-damaged and became a regular part of the Buffett lifestyle.

"You've got to understand, he keeps cars until I tell him, 'This is getting embarrassing — time for a new car,'" said his daughter in the documentary.

Buffett also told Forbes in 2014 about his car-buying habits — or lack thereof. "The truth is, I only drive about 3,500 miles a year so I will buy a new car very infrequently," he said.

Remember this the next you're in the market for a car: Since cars tend to depreciate quickly, it can be better for your finances if you try to keep your well-working car for as long as possible — or at least opt to buy a used car instead of new.

Also See: 10 Things to Do When Shopping for a Used Car

Buffett Enjoys Affordable Hobbies
Eric Francis / Getty Images

Buffett Enjoys Affordable Hobbies

A commitment to live like Buffett doesn't mean all work and no play. After all, even billionaires have hobbies. But compared to other famous CEOs, investors and entrepreneurs, Buffett's hobbies are much more affordable. For example, he enjoys playing bridge.

"If I play bridge and a naked woman walks by, I don't even see her," laughed Buffett during a CBS News "Sunday Morning" interview. Yep, Buffett is a self-proclaimed bridge addict, and you might even catch him playing the game about 12 hours a week.

"I one time said that I wouldn't mind going to jail if I had the right three cellmates so we can play bridge all the time," he said in the interview.

When Buffett's not counting cards or investing a ton of money, you might also find him strumming his ukulele and singing. He's played for investors, on live television and at charity events, reports CNBC. He and Gates even went viral after a video was posted on Gates' blog last summer.

Check Out: Hobbies of Warren Buffett, Mark Cuban and Other Successful People

Buffett Treats His Friends Well, But Not Extravagantly
Spencer Platt / Getty Images

Buffett Treats His Friends Well, But Not Extravagantly

What do you give a friend who's also a billionaire? Buffett's long-standing friendship with Gates is legendary. The Microsoft magnate explained on his blog what's kept their friendship strong over the years:

"I've learned many things from Warren over the last 25 years, but maybe the most important thing is what friendship is all about," he said. "It's about being the kind of friend you wish you had yourself. Everyone should be lucky enough to have a friend who is as thoughtful and kind as Warren. He goes out of the way to make people feel good about themselves and share his joy about life."

And those special touches don't have to be expensive. For example, Buffett drives personally to the airport to pick Gates up whenever he's in town, calls frequently and sends news clippings by mail that he thinks Gates and his wife will enjoy. Those special touches that mean a lot to friends just might be the best takeaway for those seeking to live the Warren Buffett lifestyle.

Up Next: How to Make Your First Million the Warren Buffett Way

Share this article:

facebook sharing button
twitter sharing button
linkedin sharing button
email sharing button

About the Author

Jodi Thornton-O'Connell

Jodi O’Connell is a freelance wordsmith based in Sedona, Arizona, who writes about everything from vacation vagary and adventure sports to real estate and pets. She spent more than a decade in Arizona’s real estate industry advising first-time homebuyers and commercial investors before indulging her passion for the written word on a full-time basis. Her articles appear on websites as diverse as U.S. News and World Report, USA Today, Hipmunk, Roots Rated, and Travelocity.

Read More


See Today's Best
Banking Offers