5 Savings Lessons from ‘Top Model’ Tyra Banks

It doesn’t seem like 10 years have passed since America’s Next Top Model premiered. There’s no doubt that lot has changed since then, including the network on which the show originally aired. But one thing that hasn’t changed is the host and primary judge: the show’s creator, Tyra Banks.

Banks is a rarity among celebrities; she’s known just as much for her modeling expertise as her frugal approach to living life. So as we prepare to celebrate Cycle 20 of the popular show, let’s also take a look at some lessons in saving money we can learn from its top model.

America’s Next Top Model Brings Cycle 20 with a Twist

America’s Next Top Model first opened for business in May of 2003 on the UPN network, following unknown model hopefuls shacking up in a modest New York City loft, confessing their hardships into low-budget cameras and being judged in a less-than-stellar elimination room.

It didn’t take long for the show to become a hit. In fact, by 2005, the show had been remade in Denmark, Israel, China, Netherlands, Norway, Germany and the United Kingdom.

In the United States, the show began airing two seasons (known as cycles) per year, giving more young women the hope of turning their modeling dreams into a reality.

A decade after getting its start, America’s Next Top Model is gearing up for its 20th season, which premieres Aug. 2. This time, Banks is offering a unique chance to model hopefuls.

She’s allowing both genders to get in on the fun with America’s Next Top Model: Guys & Girls, the first time that the U.S. version of the hit show will feature male contestants.

One of the 16 contestants will gain a modeling contract with NEXT Model Management, a spread in Nylon magazine, a campaign with Guess and a $100,000 cash prize.

Great Tips for Saving Money from Tyra Banks

Since becoming a model, Banks has been a magnet for success. In addition to scoring with America’s Next Top Model, she has started her own production company, hosted her own talk show and even written a novel.

Forbes estimated in 2006 that she’d earned $18 million the previous year. Some estimate that Banks’ current net worth is somewhere in the ballpark of $75 million. But despite her enormous wealth, she’s one of the most frugal celebrities out there.

In an interview with The New York Times, she said, “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.”

So what savings lessons can you learn from a multimillionaire with thrifty taste?

1. Embrace Thriftiness

Banks enjoys leading a thrifty life. In fact, she’s admitted to taking hotel shampoo and soap from her room whenever she travels, despite being able to buy an entire shampoo company.

While you don’t necessarily need to fill your home with hotel shampoo and soap, you can clip coupons, shop in bulk, buy in wholesale stores and shop online to save money like Banks.

2. Learn How to Take the Right Financial Chances

Banks has made several investments in her career, but her most recent is a joint venture with Ashton Kutcher. The two got together to help fund TheHunt.com, a new social shopping site.

“The Hunt brings a fun and innovative approach to shopping and fashion,” Banks said in a release. “What I love most about The Hunt is that women help other women find their perfect outfit H2T [head-to-toe]. I am excited to be part of this new approach to collective retail and styling.”

The key to making good financial investments is having a purpose. So what’s your purpose to investing? Are you growing money for retirement, saving for emergencies or building a fund for college tuition?

Knowing your purpose can help you determine what types of investments (safe, risky or both) are best for you.

3. Budgeting Can Go a Long Way

During the first season of America’s Next Top Model, Tyra shared that she didn’t have a lot to work with. But being accustomed to working on a budget, this didn’t deter her. She simply chose to get creative.

“I took all this stuff from Victoria’s Secret that I had in my closet — bandeau dresses, bandeau tops, bandeau skirts,” she told HerWorldPlus.com. “I put them in a trash bag on my back on the plane because I was scared that if I checked it, it would get lost and we wouldn’t have wardrobe.”

Finding creative ways to stick to your own budget can help you save and grow your money. Whether you’re switching to generic-brand foods or shopping in thrift stores, there are plenty of ways to make budgeting work for you.

4. Get a Financial Education

Already a multimillionaire with several businesses, Banks was arguably not in need of any financial education by 2011. But she respectfully disagreed and instead enrolled in an owner/president management program at Harvard Business School.

In 2012, Banks graduated from the executive education training program, earning a certificate.

While everyone might not be able to secure a spot in a Harvard program, there are ways to independently gain financial education through free credit union and bank programs.

5. Save on Beauty with… Vaseline

You know we couldn’t let you walk away without getting one beauty savings secret from the model extraordinaire.

How can you save money on your looks and remain thrifty? You might be surprised to learn that one of Bank’s prized possessions is Vaseline.

“At night I use Vaseline everywhere: under my eyes, and on my laugh lines, lips and elbows,” she shared with Reader’s Digest in May 2007. “I swear by the stuff!”

There’s no doubt Tyra Banks has experienced a tremendous amount of success in her life. But, despite her wealth, she understands the importance of frugality. The good news is you can be just as successful at cutting corners and growing money while still enjoying every aspect of your life.

Image: Digitas Photos