17 Billionaires With Surprisingly Frugal Habits



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Bargain Billionaires

A striking number of the world's richest and most famous people lead surprisingly low-maintenance lifestyles. Shunning luxury cars, extravagant homes, and designer clothes and jewelry, these billionaires believe that just because you can buy anything you want doesn't mean you should.

Bill Gates
Frederic Legrand - COMEO/shutterstock

Bill Gates Gives Big, Spends Small

Worth: $89.1 billion

The Microsoft founder, worth $77.4 billion, once revealed at an event that he was wearing a $10 watch. Gates also was known for flying coach for many years, in accordance with company policy. He may have his own plane now, but he apparently still likes to wash dishes.

Amancio Ortega
Dusko Despotovic/Contributor/Sygma/Getty Images

Amancio Ortega Eats in the Employee Cafeteria

Worth: $86 billion

The world's richest retailer, and the wealthiest man in Europe, Ortega can be surprisingly stingy. When he overtook Bill Gates briefly to become the world's richest person for 2016, the press pointed out that Ortega eats in his staff cafeteria, and wears the same blazer and shirt every day.

Warren Buffett
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Warren Buffett: Same Old House and Salary

Worth: $74.7 billion

The Oracle of Omaha is one of history's most successful investors, and when it comes to lifestyle, Buffett's decision-making is just as firm. He still lives in the house he bought for $31,500 in 1958, and his $100,000 annual salary from leading Berkshire Hathaway hasn't changed in 25 years.

Carlos Slim Helu
Carlos Slim Helu by Secretaría de Cultura Ciudad de México (CC BY)

Carlos Slim Helú: The Billionaire Everyman

Worth: $65.3 billion

Though he controls the biggest telecom firm in Latin America, Helu drives his own car, spends most of his free time with his family, and buys clothes off the rack at his own retail stores.

Mark Zuckerberg

Mark Zuckerberg's Cheap Wheels

Worth: $63.9 billion

Just four human beings on Earth are richer than this Facebook founder. It's no secret he shuns pricey suits in favor of basic gray tees, hoodies, and jeans, but he is just as tight with his transportation. In 2014, it was reported that he drives a Volkswagen Golf GTI. The 2017 model has an MSRP of $25,815.

Steven Ballmer

You Could Probably Afford Steven Ballmer's Hybrid

Worth: $32.7 billion

The longtime Microsoft CEO was the pioneering computer company's 30th employee. His position helped him amass a fortune, and he could buy any car he wants -- but reportedly drives a Ford Fusion hybrid, which sells for about $25,295 today (although most aren't personally delivered by the company CEO).

In With the New
Scott Olson / Staff / Getty Images News / Getty Images North America / Getty Images CC

Karl Albrecht: Bargain Basement Ransom Payments

Worth: $25.9 billion

The Aldi co-founder was the richest person in Germany when he died in 2014, and his life mirrored the global grocery store empire he helped build: no frills. When his brother and Aldi co-founder Theo was kidnapped, he negotiated a bargain ransom and wrote off the payment as a business expense.

Francois-Henri Pinault
Francois-Henri Pinault by Raphaël Labbé aka Leafar (CC BY)

Francois-Henri Pinault Drives in Limited Style

Worth: $20.8 billion

The owner of brands such as Gucci is married to A-lister Salma Hayek and has a child with a supermodel. He also boasts one of the world's most extravagant art collections. Yet he reportedly drives a Lexus hybrid that starts at just $52,000.

Charles Ergen

Charles Ergen: Dishing Up Bagged Lunches

Worth: $18.6 billion

The Dish Network chairman and CEO began his company by selling satellite dishes out of his truck. He packs his own lunches (sandwiches and Gatorade) and until recently shared hotel rooms with colleagues during business trips.

Azim Premji
Azim Premji by World Economic Forum (CC BY)

Azim Premji Keeps Tabs on Toilet Paper

Worth: $17 billion

Workers under this Indian software services business magnate have reported, albeit anonymously, that his well-known frugality doesn't stop with his personal life. He reportedly counts how many rolls of toilet paper his employees use and insists they turn off the lights when offices aren't in use.

Christy Walton

Christy Walton Lived Normally for Her Son

Worth: $6 billion

Christy Walton married into the Wal-Mart fortune. Seeking a normal childhood for her son, she and her husband raised him out of the limelight in an old California home -- which she recently donated. She was widowed by a plane crash in 2005.

David Green

David Green Flies Just Like You

Worth: $5.8 billion

Like so many of the world's wealthiest people, the Hobby Lobby founder, religious philanthropist, and political activist doesn't travel by private jet -- or even in first class. According to Business insider, he flies commercial, sometimes even in coach.

David Cheriton

David Cheriton Is His Own Barber

Worth: $5 billion

Thanks to an early $100,000 investment in Google, Stanford professor David Cheriton has plenty of money. But still lives in the same home in Palo Alto, California, that he owned long before Google was founded. And he cuts his own hair.

Ingvar Kamprad
Roger Tillberg/shutterstock

Ingvar Kamprad: Self-Assembled Wealth

Worth: $3.5 billion

You wouldn't know the net worth of the founder of Ikea and his family by looking at the efficiency-obsessed furniture pioneer's lifestyle. He flies economy, and drove the same Volvo for 20 years, until he believed the car had reached the limits of safety.

John Caudwell
John Caudwell

John Caudwell: Average Clothes and Homemade Haircut

Worth: $2.3 billion

After building a British cellphone empire, this self-made man -- now retired -- went on cutting his own hair, buying clothes off the rack, and biking to work. (He did own a Bentley, though.)

T. Boone Pickens
Albert H. Teich/shutterstock

New Clothes Don't Suit T. Boone Pickens

Worth: $1.2 billion

The legendary 1980s corporate raider and oil magnate is famously frugal. He buys new business attire once every five years, and owns just 10 suits. When he goes to the store, he tries to bring exactly the money his purchase will cost.

Related: 4 Ways to Teach Your Kids About Frugality

Chuck Feeney

Chuck Feeney: 'Giving While Living'

Worth: $2 million

The co-founder of the DFS network of duty-free stores has a mere $2 million -- because he gave away $7.5 billion. The world's most generous philanthropist told The New York Times that he refers to his quest to give away his fortune before he dies as "giving while living." Notoriously frugal throughout his life and career, Feeney traveled in coach and carried his reading materials in a plastic bag.