Living a Frugal Life – With Billions in the Bank

by Justin Weinger on August 18, 2011

Most of us get by on modest incomes, so the idea of living frugally is pretty much a no-brainer and is something many of us choose to do out of necessity.  After all, in a tough economy you’ve really got to stretch your money to get the most out of it while being able to still stash some away for a rainy day.

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Despite having billions, these guys don't burn through money.

Based on this, one would think that the more money you make, the less apt you are to be frugal.  And multi-millionaires and billionaires?  There’s no way they would live in modest homes, drive beat up old cars, or fly on something other than a personal jet, right?

Think again!

Some of the world’s wealthiest people have taken to living a frugal life despite their vast fortunes – which may explain why some of them were able to get so much money in the first place (read: they understood the value of money and investing).

Here are some of the world’s frugal billionaires, some of whom are very well known people:

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Must be nice being frugal AND the world's third richest person.

Warren Buffet – He’s the world’s third richest person with a fortune of over $50 billion and, along with Bill Gates, is one of the world’s foremost philanthropists, having either already donated or pledged billions of dollars to charities.

He is also famously known for living in the same Omaha, Nebraska house that he bought for $31,000 in 1958, has shunned all the toys that would likely come with being insanely rich and, most recently, having an Op Ed published in the New York Times where he writes about how taxes on the super-rich should be raised and raised immediately.

Oh, and being the greatest value investor – meaning he buys good stocks/companies that are currently undervalued and holds the stock for a long, long period of time – of all-time certainly doesn’t hurt his case, either.

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IKEA's founder, Ingvard Kamprad drives a 16 year old Volvo!

Ingvard Kamprad – The guy who started Ikea – a value, put-it-together-yourself furniture company – always flies coach and, when he isn’t flying, drives an old Volvo 240 GL.  He’s of the belief that his customers aren’t jetting around the world in private jets or driving flashy cars, so he shouldn’t either.

And, considering he famously practices what he preaches, it’s not as if this some sort of marketing tactic to get the “common folk” to shop at his stores.

Apparently, he was also so frugal as a business owner that he would insist people uses pencils down to the nub and use both sides of a sheet of paper.  To many of us this sounds crazy, but, to Kamprad’s credit, he used this frugality to help build a fortune of over $6 billion.

John Cauldwell – This guy is a real rags to riches story: he started off as an auto-repair shop owner who got into cell phones in 1987, right before they really caught on, ultimately amassing a fortune of nearly $2 billion!

Oh, he also rides his bike to work and cuts his own hair.  Yep, you read that correctly, a billionaire who could easily afford to pay someone $100 for every hair on his head that they cut, is so frugal that he cuts his own hair.

I’m sure the list goes on and on, since not every billionaire is like Larry Ellison, buying yachts and homes worth many multi-millions of dollars.

All I know is that one day, I’d like to be a frugal billionaire, too!

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