Private jets, luxury cars, and designer clothes may seem like everyday comforts for the rich and famous, but that's not always the case. Many celebrities are frugal in spite of their wealth, an attribute often acquired during a humble upbringing. Remember, when someone is a millionaire that means they have a million dollars — not that they've spent a million dollars.
Rich, Famous — and Cheap! 40 Frugal Celebrities
Tyra Banks is well-known for her frugal ways, an attribute she says comes from being raised by a money-wise single mother. Banks has been known to bring home the soap after staying at a hotel and checks in with her accountant before making a purchase. With a net worth of over $90 million, she probably can.
Never one to mince words, Jennifer Lawrence's on- and off-screen antics have earned her admiration worldwide. Despite being worth tens of millions, she hesitates to pay for simple luxuries such as valet parking. But she can remain inconspicuous if she wants, disappearing into traffic in the VW she's had for years or in a newer, economical Chevy Volt.
One of the richest people on earth is also one of the least likely to spend his money on appearing wealthy. Warren Buffett is famous for living in the same house he bought in 1958 and driving a reasonably priced car; his latest is a 2014 Cadillac XTS, which is a savvy investment in a way. His last Cadillac sold at a charity auction for more than $120,000 (about $110,000 more than the Blue Book value). Buffett is known for his generosity, and has given away millions from his fortune.
You might not guess it by looking at his famous car collection, but Jay Leno has made a life-long habit out of holding two jobs and spending only the money he makes from one. All the money he earned from hosting "The Jay Leno Show" and "The Tonight Show" went to savings, and he has an estimate net worth of $350 million. He lives off the income he makes from comedy acts and other jobs.
Her years as a TV anchor made Katie Couric a household name and wealthy to the tune of tens of millions, but that doesn't mean she's forgotten the money-saving lessons learned from her mother. In an interview with Woman's Day magazine, she said, "Matt Lauer used to tell me that when I opened my wallet, moths flew out. That's funny but not 100 percent true. The joke implies I'm cheap, but really I'm just frugal." Couric regularly packed a brown bag lunch for work and said much of the fancy clothing or jewelry she wore was borrowed. But she is generous and has no qualm giving money to charity or spending it on friends and family.
A lifestyle expert with a net worth of $14 million and a regular on many TV shows, Evette Rios hosted the show "Freestyle," which was all about redecorating and reorganizing one's home without making any purchases. She told Parade magazine that she thinks it's wasteful to buy new things if functional used things are available. Rios is also the national spokesperson for and a regular shopper at — Goodwill Industries.
One of NFL Network's 2013 players of the year, Alfred Morris, currently a free agent, was a running back for the Washington Redskins and Dallas Cowboys. With his $3.5 million contract, he should have had no trouble affording a new car. But he chose to stick with the 1991 Mazda 626, nicknamed "Bentley," that he bought in college for $2.
In "New Girl," Jess' salary as a school teacher didn't provide much spending money. Zooey Deschanel made plenty in real life ($125,000 for each episode) but she sticks to a modest budget despite an estimated net worth of $18 million. As she told InStyle magazine, "Style isn't when you buy yourself the most expensive things. It's being creative and able to put together what you've collected."
Rock ’n’ roll legend Mick Jagger (estimated net worth: $360 million) prefers the fix-it method to buying new; he even taught his children how to repair their vehicles. His ex-wife, Jerry Hall, told the Daily Mail that he can be generous when it comes to gifts and presents, but "he's pretty tight with the day to day stuff."
Unlike her on-screen character Carrie Bradshaw, Sarah Jessica Parker leads a frugal life. She told The New York Times that her frugal mindset stems from her childhood, when her parents struggled to make ends meet while raising eight children.
A Mexican businessman and multibillionaire, Carlos Slim was the world's richest man from 2010 to 2013; he's since dropped to No. 7. He has lived in the same house for more than 40 years. He also drives himself to work, forgoes luxuries such as yachts and private planes, and buys modest clothing.
An iconic actor known for his generosity, Leonardo Dicaprio has helped raise tens of millions of dollars for charitable causes and has donated millions of his own. Although he does own a multimillion-dollar island and an estimated net worth of $245 million, the actor flies commercial airliners and has driven mainly a Toyota Prius. He does have other cars, which are pricier but still electric: a Fisker Karma and Tesla Roadster.
T. Boone Pickens is a businessman, a public voice on energy policy, and one of the richest people on earth. In spite of his wealth (more than $1 billion), in 2011 he told Politico that he wears the same pair of loafers he bought more than 50 years ago. He says he's not a coupon clipper, but instead buys the best and makes it last.
Mariska Hargitay makes about $450,000 an episode from her role on "Law and Order: Special Victims Unit," but even as one of the highest-paid actors on television she sticks to a frugal lifestyle. Remembering her own humble beginnings, she worries about her family's financial future and makes sure to save for the time her acting career is over.
The Spider-Man actor keeps a close watch on his finances. While he's made a few lavish purchases, he prefers to dress casually and save his money. His frugal outlook allows him to live comfortably without feeling any pressure to grind out movies just for a paycheck. In a Parade magazine interview he said, "You know those Lotto winners who win big and then blow all the money? That would never happen to me."
You may not know his name, but you've likely seen one of the many duty-free stores that Chuck Feeney co-founded. He's a multibillionaire who's known for wearing a simple timepiece and flying coach because Rolexes don't tell time any better and first class isn't any faster. In an interview with Forbes magazine, Feeney said, "I guess I'm happy when what I'm doing is helping people and unhappy when what I'm doing isn't helping people." True to his word, the subject of "The Billionaire Who Wasn't: How Chuck Feeney Made and Gave Away a Fortune Without Anyone Knowing" has given away his billions.
More concerned with having a comfortable life in the long run than an ultra-luxurious one now, Halle Berry keeps a tight hold on her finances. Berry, worth an estimated $80 million, told the Daily Record that she is "not someone who has to have 10 cars and lots of diamonds. I'm pretty frugal. I save a lot because I'm always worried about when this trip is going to stop."
Keanu Reeves seems to care more about his film crews than his personal fortune, which is worth an estimated $350 million. He reportedly gave away $75 million from his cut of the "Matrix" sequels to the special effects team and behind-the-scenes talent. And an unconfirmed source says Reeves gave one of the set builders a $20,000 Christmas bonus when he found out the man's family was having financial trouble. When filming "The Devil's Advocate" and "The Replacements," he also took a big pay cut (90 percent for the latter) so the producers could afford to bring on Al Pacino and Gene Hackman, respectively.
Dave Grohl has earned fame and fortune as the drummer for Nirvana and front man for the Foo Fighters. He's reportedly worth more than $280 million. But without a high school diploma to fall back on, he's made a habit of being cautious with his finances.
An early investor in Google, Cheriton has a net worth of $6.4 billion but lives far below his means. He has lived in the same house for years, drives a VW camper and an old Honda Accord, and even cuts his own hair. He "gets offended" at the lavish spending that some billionaires partake in, and told an interviewer he has "clung on to working with the people I like working with, and teaching and research and riding my bicycle and driving my ratty old cars."
Best known for his role in "Mad Men," Kartheiser continued to take public transportation and live in a 580-square-foot apartment in Los Angeles long after he was rich and famous. He did use some of his wealth, estimated at $5 million, to redecorate the place, though; it originally had no toilet.
While on publicity tours for "Divergent" and, later, "The Fault in Our Stars," star Shailene Woodley said it was hard to dress for the flurry of photo shoots because she owned three T-shirts and three pairs of jeans — everything she owned fit into a single bag, because she gave her house to her grandmother, choosing to stay on friends' couches instead. Woodley has an estimated net worth of $10 million.
There's no reason this pop star shouldn't splurge, considering she earned $170 million in a single year doing a world tour for her album "1989." Though she does live the good life with an estimated net worth of $280 million, it hasn't changed everything; her 2016 Fourth of July swimsuit cost $13 at low-cost retailer Forever 21, and Urban Outfitters is also one of her go-to stores.
This pop singer was forced into a financial conservatorship after a public meltdown, which meant her spending was revealed in court documents when she wanted out. TMZ trawled them and found that while Spears paid $3,400 on Christmas lights while earning nearly $14 million one year, she was also an avid dollar-store shopper. The gossip rag found a receipt for $11.92 from a Pay 99 Cents Or Less store.
Several celebrities have walked down the red carpet and looked stunning in inexpensive attire. Helen Hunt, Penelope Cruz, Michelle Williams, and Amanda Seyfried have all worn clothing from the discount chain H&M to award shows and celebrity-filled parties. Sharon Stone also made headlines for wearing a Gap turtleneck to the Oscars in 1996.
Kristen Bell, Carmelo Anthony, Hilary Swank, Victoria Beckham, Lady Gaga, and Carrie Underwood have all admitted they clip coupons. No matter what your net worth is, every dollar counts.
Cheapism.com participates in affiliate marketing programs, which means we may earn a commission if you choose to purchase a product through a link on our site. This helps support our work and does not influence editorial content.