Famous and Frugal: 15 Celebrities Who Are Tight With Money
When Good Charlotte wrote their hit song “Lifestyles of the Rich and Famous,” they probably didn’t do so with a vision of world-famous actresses rifling through bargain bins at Ross in their heads. Instead, they (who are all now rich and famous, too) were calling attention to the Malibu mansions, Lamborghinis and Ferraris, and million-dollar sitcom contracts and syndication deals. But even among the rich and famous celebrities, there are those who are exceedingly frugal.
For example, did you know many multi-millionaires simply can’t let go of their couponing habits? Or that tech billionaires still like to argue with hotels regarding in-room charges? Some famous athletes refuse to tip servers. It seems a bit strange — having all the money in the world but remaining so stingy with it.
Being frugal does have its advantages. And for some people, frugality has proven to be a way that actually paves the road to a better life. Many celebrities, though rich now, grew up under drastically different conditions. Keeping that in mind, perhaps their stinginess is a deep-rooted way of making sure they don’t return to their roots.
So, who are some of these people? They include actors, athletes, and business icons. Frugality knows no bounds, as you’ll see on the following pages. Here are 15 celebrities who are famously tight with their money, starting with one of the biggest names in Hollywood.
1. Leonardo DiCaprio
When he’s not playing the Wolf of Wall Street or battling the elements and giant bears, Leonardo DiCaprio is living the good life as one of the most famous celebrities in the world. He’s a rich man — he owns his own private island, after all — but in some ways, he’s frugal. He won’t fly on private jets, for example. He also drives a Toyota Prius, a thrifty option given that he could have just about any other vehicle on the planet.
And let’s not forget about one of the biggest names in sports …
2. Michael Jordan
Michael Jordan has faded from the public spotlight since his retirement, but he’s still mind-bogglingly rich. In fact, he’s the highest-paid athlete in history. He earned more than $1.7 billion during his playing days. But he’s not a high-spender. He’s actually notorious for being cheap — and a bad tipper. According to former rival Charles Barkley, Jordan also refused to give money to the homeless.
3. Lady Gaga
Lady Gaga is a relatively new celebrity, at least compared to many others on this list. But she’s made a significant amount of money over the past several years — money that she doesn’t part with easily. Exhibit A: She loves coupons. That seems like a strange habit for a multi-millionaire, but it’s true. She’s a couponer. And she likes to bargain when shopping for clothes. She has even tweeted about it.
Being labeled as “cheap” is one of this famous golfer’s better qualities …
4. Tiger Woods
Tiger Woods might not have quite as much money as Michael Jordan (though he’s close), but he’s evidently another professional athlete who’s frugal. That, according to some people, is one of his better qualities. Several reports have surfaced over the years referring to Woods as “cheap.” He’s a man whose game is to get the most out of the least (in terms of strokes, anyway), and that carries over to expenditures, too.
5. Ed Sheeran
Ed Sheeran is one of those rare, real rags-to-riches stories that everyone dreams of living out. He’s now a multi-millionaire and worldwide phenom, and he can basically have whatever he wants. But he has kept his spending habits in check. He reportedly only gives himself about $1,200 per month to mess around with. He also uses the same bank account he’s had since he was a teenager.
6. Mel Gibson
Although he’s been relatively quiet over the past several years, Mel Gibson has certainly made his mark in the film industry. Braveheart, the Lethal Weapon series, and Signs are just a few titles that helped him earn millions. Gibson surely likes to splurge in some ways, but there’s at least one in which he’s exceedingly frugal: transportation. Gibson reportedly drives an old Toyota Cressida — a surprising choice for a guy with hundreds of millions of dollars.
7. Warren Buffett
Warren Buffett is the second-richest person in the world. He’s also not interested in flaunting that wealth, either. Buffett lives in Omaha, Nebraska, in a modest house and neighborhood. He also drives a modest car. Buffett earns a salary of $100,000 per year and hasn’t taken a raise in a quarter-century. If there’s one famous person (maybe not a “celebrity” in the traditional sense) who is frugal, it’s Buffett. He also enjoys a McDonald’s breakfast everyday on the way to work.
8. Mark Zuckerberg
Mark Zuckerberg is yet another business icon who doesn’t really fit the traditional celebrity model. But he’s an incredibly famous public figure — and an incredibly rich one, too. The founder of Facebook is worth billions, but that doesn’t mean he can’t act like a cheapskate from time to time. He’s reportedly declined to leave tips at restaurants and has fought hotels over minuscule charges on his bills.
9. Mick Jagger
There haven’t been many celebrities over the years quite like Mick Jagger. The Rolling Stones’ singer and father of eight, now in his mid-70s, is notoriously stingy. Jagger has had very public battles with his ex-wife and stepchildren over finances, for example. And one particularly explosive charge against him is he would actually bargain with prostitutes to get a better price.
10. Sarah Jessica Parker
All of those years on Sex and the City, among other projects, earned Sarah Jessica Parker some hefty paychecks. She’s not willing to part with that money easily. Growing up, Parker’s family was on public assistance — perhaps one of the reasons she’s so tight with money as an adult. She lives a modest life these days and is always on the hunt for deals — or freebies.
11. Keira Knightley
Keira Knightley is a world-famous actress, but she lives more or less like the rest of us. She has a net value of roughly $50 million, but in order to keep herself in check, she only lives off of $50,000 per year. Apparently, she does so to remain grounded, saying by leading an extravagant lifestyle, she’s afraid she’d lose touch with those who can’t or don’t.
12. Kristen Bell
Yet another famous actress who lives well below her means is Kristen Bell. Along with her husband, Dax Shepard, Bell lives a life of relative modesty. Our chief example? She once wore a $45 dress from Target to an event. Not only that, but her wedding to Dax Shepard apparently only cost $142. They jokingly referred to it as the “world’s worst wedding” and simply had friends join them at a courthouse.
13. Tobey Maguire
You remember Tobey Maguire. He was in Pleasantville. And he was one of the guys who was Spiderman. He’s a very famous and successful man. And these days, he’s famous for one other thing: frugality. Maguire says his conservative approach to finances comes from his upbringing, during which he didn’t have much money at all — something he has in common with others on this list.
14. Halle Berry
You might never forgive Halle Berry for Catwoman — more specifically, the infamous basketball scene. But remember, she’s just like everyone else. She shops at CVS for wrapping paper. Berry is also known to scour bargain bins and sale racks looking for a deal. Like other celebrities, this apparently stems from watching her mom struggle with money as a child.
15. Hilary Swank
Hilary Swank is worth an estimated $40 million these days. But that wasn’t always the case. She grew up in rough conditions, famously living in a trailer park as a child. Today, she’s one of the more famous couponers out there, always hunting for a bargain. And like several others we’ve already discussed, this all ties back to those tough financial situations she lived through at a young age.