Unusual Money Habits of the Uber-Rich and Powerful

by Hank Coleman

Unusual Money Habits of the Uber-Rich and PowerfulHow would you spend money differently if you had millions of dollars in the bank or stock market? Would you drive a nicer car? Would you eat out at five-star restaurants all the time? You may be surprised by the money habits of the rich and successful that you can emulate.

Or would you continue living as frugally as you did before you acquired millions of dollars?

Being a millionaire or billionaire doesn’t always entail owning the largest mansions, going on luxurious cruises all the time, and owning multiple yachts. Recklessly splurging is something a lot of lottery winners do, but those who worked their way to the top  have some quirky financial habits that make them seem eerily normal.

Unusual Money Habits of the Rich and Successful

To give you an idea, here are some unusual money habits of rich and powerful people:

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Lady Gaga’s Coupon Obsession

Lady Gaga is worth $275 million, but even with money to burn, she is well-known for her obsession with coupons. The multimillionaire singer and active Twitter user once tweeted to her 64 million fans: “Why do people look at me like I’m crazy when I use coupons at grocery [stores] or try bargaining at retail?”

No matter how much money you have, clipping coupons and scouring the sales racks for great bargains are fun and frugal-minded moves to incorporate into your shopping routine.

Michelle Obama’s Fashionably Frugal Wardrobe

Politics aside, one thing we can all admire about Michelle Obama is her ability to rock chic and affordable styles and brands like Gap and H&M while she was the First Lady. Known for being the most stylish FLOTUS in recent years, Michelle Obama always surprises people with her frugal fashion choices.

She wore a $34.95 H&M dress for her 2011 interview on the Today show or wearing a $39.99 dress from Target for a press event in 2012. No matter how much money you have, affordable wardrobes never go out of style.

Mark Zuckerberg’s Cheap Car and Fast Food Frugality

When you think of the types of cars billionaires might drive, you probably imagine Ferraris, Lamborghinis, or self-driving luxury cars (we’re almost there!). For someone with a net worth of $51.9 billion like Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg, you probably wouldn’t think he’d drive an Acura TSX, which retails for just $30,000. However, this Acura is Zuckerberg’s car of choice. Sure, Zuckerberg owns multiple vehicles, but this modest automobile is his daily ride.

Zuckerberg is also known for dining on the cheap, such as his McDonald’s lunch while honeymooning in Rome. He’s not alone, either. A 2013 Gallup poll found that wealthy people eat fast food more often, which goes to show that more money doesn’t always equate to fancy organic diets and caviar with every meal.

Kendrick Lamar’s Modest Home

Although the rapper’s net worth is approximately $18.5 million, Kendrick Lamar bought a home near L.A. for a little over $500,000 in 2014. Lamar’s frugality goes against the norm for hip-hop artists, who are known for spending millions of dollars on cars, residences, and clothes. Lamar even raps about the dangers of high-cost lifestyles in his track, “Vanity Slaves,” with lines like, “The various name brands that reach the price scan, that’s not about the right price, but more like the right scam.”

Warren Buffett: Earning Like a King, Living Like a Pauper

Warren Buffett is worth nearly $71 billion, yet he still lives in the same house he bought in Omaha, Nebraska for $31,500 back in 1958. Since he already paid off the modest home years ago, he only pays about $13,800 per year in property taxes.

He’s renowned for his investment strategies and wisdom, and Buffett even has practical advice that can apply to just about anyone, like “Price is what you pay. Value is what you get.” With this in mind, we should always remember to focus on the value of a purchase; if it won’t add much value to our lives, then why bother buying it, even if it’s at a great price? 

José Mujica’s Extreme Frugality

This former president of Uruguay was known as one of the most humble politicians in the world. Not only did Mujica donate 90% of his presidential salary to the poor, but he also lived in a modest home during his presidency instead of the luxury-laden mansion of Suárez y Reyes. Even more shocking for a politician in these modern times: his net worth was approximately $1,800 when he first took office in 2010.

In discussing his role as his country’s leader and his surprisingly frugal lifestyle, Mujica once said, “A president is a high-level official who is elected to carry out a function. He is not a king, not a god. Mujica is not the witch doctor of a tribe who knows everything. He is a civil servant. I think the ideal way of living is to live like the vast majority of people whom we attempt to serve and represent.”

Surely we can all learn a thing or two from Mujica by helping others and living below our means, even if we can afford something better than what we settle. 

Clearly, you don’t need millions of dollars to live like some of these uber-rich and powerful people do. Since it’s not always about having money but rather, enjoying your life, it’s a good idea to follow in the footsteps of the people discussed above. Sure, daydreaming about a bigger home and better cars is always fun, but when it comes to long-term financial stability, even the world’s richest people understand the value of frugality.

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About Hank Coleman

Hank Coleman is the founder of Money Q&A, an Iraq combat veteran, a Dr. Pepper addict, and a self-proclaimed investing junkie. He has written extensively for many nationally known financial websites and publications. Hank holds a Master’s Degree in Finance and a graduate certificate in personal financial planning. Email him directly at Hank[at]MoneyQandA.com.


Hank Coleman has written 581 articles on Money Q&A. Learn more about Money Q&A on Twitter @MoneyQandA and @HankColeman.


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{ 3 comments… read them below or add one }

Physician on FIRE

Stories of the rich and the famous being smart with money are wonderful – thanks for sharing! A number of NFL and NBA stars have been featured for being frugal without a cause, too.

I’m glad to know I’m in good company.

Cheers!
-PoF

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Mrs. Picky Pincher

Hey, it’s good to hear that there are rich people out there that have some frugal habits!

I hate the images of celebrities and rich people blowing through their money without a second thought. That’s how you end up with millionaires who don’t even own the shirts on their backs.

I think it’s soooo important to continue living like you’re poor even if you rake in good money. That’s being truly rich; living beneath your means and having enough cash to do whatever you want with your life.

Reply

Xyz from OurFinancialPath

This was pretty entertaining! I aways like to read articles about football players living on 50k budgets even after signing multi-million dollar contact and seeing Bill Gate, the world’s richest man, driving a Ford.

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