Frugality At Its Finest

Frugal Billionaire.  

Yes, these people actually exist. 

Those two words don’t always go together. It sounds more like an oxymoron to me.  Why? When you think of billionaires, you almost always think of yachts, private jets, mansions, etc. Everything is high-end and very expensive. Money is not an issue for them. Why would it be?

One of the most famous frugal billionaires is Warren Buffett.  This is a guy who is referred to as the world’s greatest investor with a net worth of around $44 billion. Yet he still lives a modest lifestyle. It hasn’t changed too much since he started raking in the dough.   He is still residing in the same house in Omaha, Nebraska, that he bought in 1958 for $31,500. Buffett is known for his simple pleasures, including McDonald’s hamburgers and cherry Coke, and his strong dislike towards technology, including computers and luxury cars.[1]

rolls royce

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Turns out he’s not alone.

Another famous frugal billionaire is Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg.  The guy isn’t even 30 yet and he’s worth more than $13 billion. Not only is he brilliant, he’s also careful with his money.  Rather than expensive tailor-made suits, his wardrobe consists mostly of hoodies.

During his honeymoon in Italy, he was spotted eating at McDonald’s (Perhaps there is some sort of connection here between billionaires and McDonald’s). He drives a $30,000 or so Acura TSX. [2] The price tag is actually not  much more than what I paid for my car. But my net worth is a LOT less than his and doesn’t even come close.

Some of you may think Ikea is cheap quality furniture, but I LOVE it.  A lot of the furniture in our house is from Ikea and I have no intention on upgrading anytime soon.  Their design concept and the idea of building your own furniture is unlike any other. The founder of Ikea, Ingvar Kamprad is rich AND frugal. He prefers to fly economy class and book flights through budget airlines.  He drives a 15-year-old Volvo and lives in a house full of Ikea furniture (I can’t imagine him having any other kind of furniture).

With regards to eating habits, fine dining is not his style. He actually prefers to eat Swedish meatballs in Ikea cafeterias like the rest of us (If you’re looking for a cheap meal out, Ikea is a great place to eat). On top of that, he also swipes salt and pepper packets.[3]

Not only is Kamprad frugal, he encourages his staff at Ikea to be frugal as well. He tells people off if they leave lights on in a room or don’t use both sides of the paper. Perhaps that may be a bit harsh rather than encouraging, but hey, sometimes you have to remind people. Frugality isn’t second nature for everyone.

Michael Bloomberg is the entrepreneur turned New York City Mayor. He’s also worth more than $30 billion.  Yet he’s been wearing the same loafers for more than a decade. [4]

This is what being rich should truly be about.  Not showing off, flashing things that your money has bought you.  Not making other people jealous.  Of course I still am a bit jealous, but that’s just human nature. These people worked hard to get to where they are today and despite their fortune, they have managed very well to avoid lifestyle inflation and achieved wealth inflation instead.

So why not be more like them rather than the people who throw their money away like there’s no tomorrow. We can learn from their habits by keeping things simple. It just goes to show you that these guys really do get the concept that less is more.”


34 thoughts on “Frugality At Its Finest

  1. The thing people need to remember is….billionaires usually got that way because they are wise with their money. It shouldn’t be too big of a surprise that they continue to be wise with their money even after their filthy stinking rich. 🙂

    • Very true, but I’m sure there are some billionaires who like to piss away their money as if there’s no tomorrow. I also like to think billionaires became billionaires because they took big risks. Bill Gates, another frugal billionaire I hadn’t mentioned and Mark Zuckerberg both dropped out of Harvard to pursue their passions.

  2. Kathy says:

    Perhaps being frugal is how they got to be billionaires, at least in part. And being frugal helps them keep their billions….until the government decides to confiscate it and re-distribute. {But enough of the political rant.} Actually, if you have read The Millionaire Next Door, most true millionaires live more frugally than those who are just millionaire wannabes.

    • I haven’t read that book cover to cover, only flipped through some sections here and there. After learning that most true millionaires lives frugally, it almost seems that becoming a millionaire in one’s lifetime is achievable when the right steps are taken.

  3. For many of us, being frugal is about a lot more than just saving money. It’s about being sensible, conserving resources, not needlessly adding waste to landfills, minimizing our carbon footprint, modesty, and the satisfaction of being quietly, vs. ostentatiously, secure financially.

    • I totally agree with you Kurt on that one. I like the idea of having that quiet satisfaction, knowing I’m on my way to becoming more secure financially.

  4. People need to understand that having money is indeed great, but squandering it doesn’t make sense, even if you make loads or little. We are currently living below our means and many of our friends are amazed we don’t spend as much as we ‘should’. Just make sure you do take care of the things you consider important in your life and be frugal with the rest 🙂

  5. Swiping salt and pepper packets? I think that almost borderline’s cheap. 🙂 But everything else for sure. Although I don’t know who would prefer flying coach over first class. If I every was a billionaire I think I’d at least indulge in that. But that’s really about comfort, not stuff. Stuff is just stuff. It has no meaning except that which we give it. You can be sensible no matter what your income.

    • I’ve never flown first class before, but if it was a long flight and I had the funds to splurge on upgrading, I totally would. 🙂

      Btw, I swipe the pens, notepads and toiletries from the hotel bathrooms. Is that borderline cheap? Why buy a pen when you get it for free? 😀

  6. I try to reuse things as much as possible. I’ve been fortunate that my body hasn’t changed much so all of my clothes from high school and college still fit. Of course, I feel a little silly wearing clothes from high school because that was over ten years ago but they work. Another area where I can usually prolong the life of items is with computers. Once a year or twice a year I’ll wipe the hard drive and do a fresh install. Keeps them running very well even when they get old (for computers that is).

  7. I have a lot in common with these billionaires except the billions. When my wife and I traveled in Europe over the years, you could catch us have a simple burger to offset the rich delicious food we were eating. BTW, J. Paul Getty used to have a a pay phone in his home for his guests. Is thqat frugal or cheap?

    • When I travelled to Europe several years ago, I did the same when it came to eating. I’m 50/50 on the pay phone though. It is frugal in the sense, it’s pay per use, but at the same time it seems cheap because you shouldn’t make guests pay for things when you invite them to your home.

  8. When it comes to my eating style, I love the basics, and if I ever came into a billion dollars, I would still enjoy the same food I enjoy today. I’m not a ‘fancy’ meal kind of guy by any means. My favorite stuff includes stuff like macaroni and cheese, pasta, hot dogs, burgers. Yes, I guess I am still a kid in some ways LOL.

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