Celebrities are often stereotyped for squandering their fortunes on extravagant lifestyles filled with mansions, cars, jewelry, designer clothes, and jet-setting around the globe. Whether it’s from the easy-come-easy-go mentality, having humble roots, or just making mistakes like regular people do, plenty of stars have learned a thing or two about money the hard way. Here we’ll take a look at money lessons and rules offered up by HGTV hosts Chip and Joanna Gaines and other celebrity millionaires in the music, TV, film, and investment industries.
1. Tom Hanks
- Net worth: $350 million
- He likes not owing money to anyone.
Tom Hanks knows money isn’t tied to happiness. Although nowadays he brings in multi-million-dollar checks for each movie role, he says he would be just as happy commanding the smaller salaries from his earlier movies.
“My attitude to money? On a 1980 TV series called Bosom Buddies I made $5,000 a week. If I had made that kind of money for the rest of my life I would have been happy, honestly,” Hanks explained. “But I have been getting ludicrous sums of money for quite some time.”
The 61-year-old megastar values not being in debt. “The best part is not owing money to anyone,” he said. “Money, though, has never been my driving force. You can live in the biggest and best house in the world but it can be sh*t if you are unhappy.” Hanks has a net worth of $350 million, according to Celebrity Net Worth.
Next: An A-list actress who bargain shops
2. Jennifer Lawrence
- Net worth: $34 million
- She rents out her Manhattan condo when she’s away filming movies.
Despite being one of the highest-paid actresses in Hollywood, Jennifer Lawrence has always been frugal with money. “I was raised to have value for money, to have respect for money, even though you have a lot of it,” Lawrence said in an interview. She bargain shops, clips coupons, drives an economical car, and rents her New York City condo out when she’s away filming.
Rather than having the $9 million Tribeca condo sit empty for months on end, Lawrence opts to earn some money on the property by renting it out for $27,500 per month. The property had a renter when Lawrence left in May 2017 to film spy thriller Red Sparrow. Lawrence has a net worth of $34 million, according to Go Banking Rates.
Next: This late-night star has never spent a dime of what he’s earned on TV.
3. Jay Leno
- Net worth: $350 million
- He socked away all his earnings from The Tonight Show.
He may have earned millions when he hosted The Tonight Show, but Jay Leno has never spent a dime of that money. Leno’s money-saving ways started when he was a kid and held jobs at a Ford dealership and McDonald’s. Back then, he’d spend the money earned at one job and save the money from the other.
The habit continued throughout his life. “That’s still the way I am now,” Leno said. “I live on the money I make as a comedian, and I put all the TV money in the bank. I’ve never spent a dime of TV money – ever.” His standup comedy gigs are said to have generated between $15 million and $20 million annually. Not too shabby, considering Leno has been able to build up a $50 million, 200-automobile classic car collection. His net worth is $350 million, as reported by Bankrate.
Next: The most honored female country singer talks hard work.
4. Dolly Parton
- Net worth: $37 million
- Her advice: Don’t just wish to be a millionaire. Work hard for it.
Like many other celebrities, Dolly Parton came from humble beginnings. When the Tennessee native was born, her father was so poor he paid the doctor who helped deliver her with a bag of oatmeal. Coming from a family of 12 kids, Parton outlined her family’s poverty in some of her early country songs. Parton went on to become the most honored female country performers of all time, with a net worth of $37 million.
In a commencement speech, Parton once asked graduates if they were willing to work hard. “Because you have to work hard, in order to get anything done,” she said. “Know that up front. Dreams are of no value if they won’t have wings and feet. You can’t just wish to be a millionaire; you have to figure out how to earn it.”
Next: A top-paid NBA star who clips Sunday coupons
5. Carmelo Anthony
- Net worth: $90 million
- He clips newspaper coupons to “save a dollar or two.”
Although this NBA superstar may be worth a whopping $90 million, Carmelo Anthony admitted he buys the Sunday newspaper and tears out coupons. “I go to the supermarket, make sure I get the newspaper and tear the coupons out, save a dollar or two,” Anthony told CBS Denver, admitting people look at him in the grocery store with shock. “I’ve got the paper open with coupons, ripping them. I’m human too,” he said.
The star small forward for the Oklahoma City Thunder brings in $26 million for the current season. He attributes his frugal tendencies to his humble New York roots. His net worth is $90 million, according to Celebrity Net Worth.
Next: It’s not about the money for this singing sensation – so she doesn’t spend it.
6. Lady Gaga
- Net worth: $275 million
- She’s happy when she’s not spending money.
It’s not just Carmelo Anthony people are looking at strangely. Lady Gaga has had the same experience. Despite her extravagant and flashy concert costumes, the pop queen said in 2012 she rarely bought things for herself with her earnings. She’s reported getting strange looks from other people when browsing the sales racks at stores.
“I didn’t get into this business for the money, so I don’t spend a thing. But I am so happy. I am not bankrupt. Actually, I spend no money at all,” the pop queen said in 2012. “It’s really funny because my manager often calls me and is like, ‘Did you lose your credit card? Did you cut it up? Did you lose it?’ He is like, ‘Why don’t you spend any money?’ It’s because I don’t. I have not gone crazy,” she said. Her 2017 estimated net worth was reported as $275 million.
Next: You’ll be shocked at how rarely this pop sensation shops for clothes.
7. Justin Timberlake
- Net worth: $230 million
- He shops for clothes just once a year.
He may have an estimated net worth of $230 million, but pop star Justin Timberlake is admittedly careful with money. “I will just say that I am pretty frugal,” Timberlake told The Guardian. I’ll probably shop [for clothes] for myself once a year, and that will last me for the rest of the year. What was it that Prince said? ‘Money can’t buy you happiness but it can help pay for the pursuit.’”
Other than making music, the “Can’t Stop the Feeling” singer also earns money from acting roles, endorsement deals with Bud Light and Sony, and his Sauza tequila line. His estimated net worth is $230 million.
Next: A singer realizes you can have too much money.
8. Miley Cyrus
- Net worth: $160 million
- She believes more wealth doesn’t buy more happiness.
Singer Miley Cyrus came to fame when playing Hannah Montana on the hit Disney show of the same name. Since then, the “Wrecking Ball” singer has starred in films, recorded albums, gone on five concert tours, and been a coach on The Voice. All this has added up to a reported net worth of $160 million.
Cyrus has become known for bucking trends and playing by her own rules. So, it may come as no surprise that she shuns the theory that money can buy happiness. “People in this industry think, I just gotta keep getting more money, and I’m like, what are you getting more money for?” she told Marie Claire in 2015. “You probably couldn’t even spend it all in this lifetime … It’s a never-ending cycle. Getting more money, having more hits, being the lead in the movie – those things might stimulate you, but they don’t make you happy. I’ve experienced it all already, and I’m telling you firsthand, it doesn’t.”
Next: The most successful investor still lives in his starter home.
9. Warren Buffett
- Net worth: $85 billion
- He makes saving money a priority.
American business magnate Warren Buffett is one of the most successful investors of all time. Not only is he an expert investor, but he also is chairman and largest shareholder in investment company Berkshire Hathaway. Bloomberg reports the savvy investor has a net worth of $85 billion.
What does Buffett do with all of his disposable income? He saves it, of course. “Don’t save what is left after spending; spend what is left after saving,” Buffett once advised. The philanthropist, worth $63 billion, still lives in a modest home in Omaha, Nebraska, which he bought for just $31,500. And his taste in food is equally frugal, with his food of choice being a cheeseburger.
Next: An actress worth $90 million has her kids in hand-me-downs.
10. Sarah Jessica Parker
- Net worth: $90 million
- She wants her children not to have money worries.
She’s probably best known for her role as Carrie Bradshaw in the HBO hit series Sex and the City. Sarah Jessica Parker has been acting since the age of 8 and now has a reported net worth of $90 million. However, she grew up as one of eight children in a family that was on welfare. This shaped her views on money and made her extremely cash conscious, Parker said. “My friends know me so well, and they know how terrified I am of being broke, and they think it is hilarious and humorous,” she said in 2000.
The actress’ frugality has led her to bring home outfits she had worn on Sex and the City. In addition, she admitted almost all of her kids’ clothes have been hand-me-downs. She told The New York Times, “The thing I want most for my children – I would like for them to not be aware of money, which means I have been very aware of my financial situation,” she said.
Next: An iconic 80s actor reveals money anxiety.
11. Ted Danson
- Net worth: $60 million
- He has an attitude of gratitude.
Anyone who remembers watching the iconic show Cheers (which ran 1998-2004) associates actor Ted Danson with the character of Sam Mallone, a former relief pitcher-turned bartender. After Cheers, Danson went on to appear in other TV shows and films. His acting career has helped him accumulate a net worth of $60 million, according to Celebrity Net Worth.
Danson didn’t always have much money, however. His childhood was a time when money was tight. “The unspoken message I got as a child was that we had nothing,” he told AARP. “We didn’t have TVs. I looked like a ragamuffin.” This caused the actor to feel anxiety about money throughout life, he said. His way of coping? “Usually, when I have a fearful thought, I flip it into gratitude … My philosophy is that you are a tube for money. It just comes through you, and as long as you don’t panic, stay happy and grateful, appreciate what you have and know what you want to do, it’ll come.”
Next: A hit TV show host credits her mom for her $90 million net worth.
12. Tyra Banks
- Net worth: $90 million
- Her advice: Plan for the end at the beginning.
Fashion model-turned-businesswoman Tyra Banks is known just as much for being frugal as she is for her modeling expertise. Over the years, she has appeared on the covers of GQ and Sports Illustrated, modeled for Victoria’s Secret, and acted in movies. She is the host of long-running hit TV series America’s Next Top Model. Her net worth has been reported at $90 million.
Banks says her best advice has come from her mom, Carolyn London, and she even credits London with her financial success. “Plan for the end at the beginning,” is one such piece of advice Banks received from her mom, who also said, “There’s a limit to modeling. That phone is gonna stop ringing. Have a plan before it stops.”
Next: A former president overcame $120,000 in student loan debt.
13. Barack Obama
- Net worth: $40 million
- He advises spending on things that will increase your income.
When former President Barack Obama and his wife Michelle graduated from law school, their combined student loan debt was $120,000, the Harvard alum admitted. However, the two were able to pay the loans off in just 10 years. “We were lucky because we’d gone to a law school where we knew we could earn it,” he said. “It remains smart to spend on things that are going to increase your productivity and your income over the long term. In the same way that law school paid off for Michelle and I.” Celebrity Net Worth reported Obama to have a net worth of $40 million.
Next: A platinum recording artist looks back fondly on her poorer days.
- Net worth: $5 million
- Her belief: “There is no correlation between happiness and amounts of money.”
You may know Kesha for her hit songs “Tik Tok” (2009) and “Timber” (2013, with Pit Bull). In all, the singer has three albums and four headlining concert tours under her belt. By 2013 she had sold more than 76 million records worldwide. Her net worth has been reported as $5 million.
While she’s been in a highly publicized legal battle and reportedly ran out of money at one point, the singer released her third studio album Rainbow in 2017, which included the hit “Praying,” to critical acclaim. She talked of poorer days before her musical success and eating at restaurants that gave out free tacos to those who ordered shots of tequila. “One of my favorite memories in my entire life is sitting in that crappy bar with my friends eating free tacos,” she told The Guardian. “There is no correlation between happiness and amounts of money.”
Next: How the Fixer Uppers learned from their mistakes
15. Chip and Joanna Gaines
- Net worth: $8 million each
- They learned to have a nest egg after scrounging for Chip’s bail money.
They may have a cult-like following due to their hit HGTV home-renovation show Fixer Upper, but Chip and Joanna Gaines have experienced money problems just like many Americans have. More than a decade ago, Chip was thrown in jail for having $2,500 in unpaid tickets. The tickets were issued after neighbors had called police for the couple’s dogs roaming the street in front of their home.
Chip’s bail was $800. Joanna struggled to pay it by emptying the cash register and safe of her small retail store. She realized they were “right on the edge of a real financial struggle,” and vowed never to let it happen again, she wrote in her 2016 book The Magnolia Story. The experience helped instill in Joanna the importance of having an emergency fund. “I think for me, the best lesson is always having a nest egg on the side,” she told Business Insider.
Today the two have an estimated net worth of $8 million each.
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