7 Spending Tips From Frugal Billionaires


Carlos Slim Helu (Carlos Slim), a telecom tycoon and billionaire with well-known frugal tendencies, has a net worth of $60.6 billion according to Forbes. Assuming no changes in his net worth, he could spend $1,150 a minute for the next 100 years before he ran out of money. To put this in perspective, he could spend in 13 minutes what a US minimum-wage earner brings home after an entire year of the daily grind.

Granted, the world’s billionaires (all 1,011 of them) are in the debatably enviable position of having, quite literally, more money than they can possibly spend, yet some are still living well below their means, and save money in surprising places. Even non-billionaires (currently 6,864,605,142 of us) can partake in these seven spending tips from frugal billionaires.

1. Keep Your Home Simple

Billionaires can afford to live in the most exclusive mansions imaginable – and many do, including Bill Gates’ sprawling 66,000 square foot, $147.5 million dollar mansion in Medina, Washington – yet frugal billionaires like Warren Buffet choose to keep it simple. Buffet still lives in the five-bedroom house in Omaha that he purchased in 1957 for $31,500. Likewise, Carlos Slim has lived in the same house for more than 40 years. (Want to learn more about the Oracle of Omaha?

2. Use Self-Powered or Public Transportation

Thrifty billionaires including John Caudwell, David Cheriton and Chuck Feeney prefer to walk, bike or use public transportation when getting around town. Certainly these wealthy individuals could afford to take a helicopter to their lunch meetings, or ride in chauffeur-driven Bentleys, but they choose to get a little exercise and take advantage of public transportation instead. Good for the bank account and great for the environment.

3. Buy Your Clothes off the Rack

While some people, regardless of their net value, place a huge emphasis on wearing designer clothes and shoes, some frugal billionaires decide it’s simply not worth the effort, or expense. You can find David Cheriton, the Stanford professor who matched Google founders Sergey Brin and Larry Page to the venture capitalists at Kleiner, Perkins, Caufield & Byers (resulting in a large reward of Google stock), wearing jeans and a t-shirt.

Ingvar Kamprad, the founder of the furniture company Ikea, avoids wearing suits, and John Caudwell, mobile phone mogul, buys his clothes off the rack instead of spending his wealth on designer clothes.

4. Keep your Scissors Sharp

The average haircut costs about $45, but people can and do spend up to $800 per cut and style. Multiply that by 8.6 (to account for a cut every six weeks) and it adds up to $7,200 per year, not including tips. These billionaires can certainly afford the most stylish haircuts, buy many cannot be bothered by the time it takes or the high price tag for the posh salons. Billionaires like John Caudwell and David Cheriton opt for cutting their own hair at home.

5. Drive a Regular Car

While billionaires like Larry Ellison (co-founder and CEO of Oracle Corporation) enjoy spending millions on cars, boats and planes, others remain low key with their vehicles of choice. Jim Walton (of the Wal-Mart clan) drives a 15-year-old pickup truck. Azim Premji, an Indian business tycoon, reportedly drives a Toyota Corolla. And Ingvar Kamprad of Ikea drives a 10-year-old Volvo. The idea is to buy a dependable car, and drive it into the ground. No need for a different car each day of the week for these frugal billionaires.

6. Skip Luxury Items

It may surprise some of us, but the world’s wealthiest person, Carlos Slim (the one who could spend more than a thousand dollars a minute and not run out of money for one hundred years) does not own a yacht or a plane.

Many other billionaires have chosen to skip these luxury items. Warren Buffet also avoids these lavish material items, stating “Most toys are just a pain in the neck.”

What We Can Learn

Some of the world’s billionaires have frugal tendencies. Perhaps this thrifty nature even helped them make some of their money. Regardless, they have chosen to avoid some unnecessary spending (at least on their scale) and the 6,864,605,142 non-billionaires out there can follow suit, eliminating excessive, keep-up-with-the-Jones style spending. No matter what a person’s income bracket is, most can usually find a way to cut back on frivolous spending, just like a few frugal billionaires.



65 responses to “7 Spending Tips From Frugal Billionaires”

  1. You won’t take anything with you… Bill Gates donated most of his wealth to charity and so should Carlos Slim Helu. If he cares, he CAN take Lebanon off of poverty and change the course of history and the lives of millions in the middle east.

    Then and ONLY then it would matter, whether you are a billionaire or not…

    History remembers great men and women and NOT billionaires.



      Why? So the families that have been in power and robbing Lebnan since it’s conception can steal it all?

    2. WOW! I just saw that my comment got +23

      You bunch of Communist school drop-outs

      LOL 😀

      (just kidding)

  2. walid and sebouh i join your club of modesty and simplicity.

  3. I know of some locals who do great charity work, but you never hear about them, and some on a relatively big scale. I have more respect for them than I have for those who publicize it or even worse those who do it for masked reasons like tax reductions.Having said that any good deed, no matter what the reason is behind it should be encouraged and applauded. This is also in the spirit of the month of Ramadan.

    Ramadan kareem !

    1. freddie braaaaaaaaaa i’ll be in lebanon in 6 days. gimme as many hints as you can regards your pub. is it near rehab? if so what’s it called. dont worry about offending ya libnan. look at the lingo some of these youngsters post here.

      write a post and in the middle of it write a name (rehab) in parentheses and i will know its that.

      i will come for sure to yours and my friend rabih.

      1. Although Yalibnan was gracious enough to let me know that it was OK to mention the pub (with thanks), I (for personal reasons) would like to keep it private. e-mail me my friend using the link to wordpress and set a date. The more the merrier, lets make an evening out of it, maybe face to face the discussion will be more constructive.

      2. you lost me at wordpress. i clicked on your name and it took me to a web site. do i email you on there when i’m ready to come and enjoy the evening?

    2. one more thing freddie look at what the idiot media till now has not even made a documentary on the life of or mother teresa. if theres one out there lemme know but at lest designate one day i the year and call it mother teresa day for the people to recognise her selfless work.

  4. Yep, my e-mail is on that page which I use to rant and vent my anger.

  5. cool brother i’ll holla at you soon enough. i will need to settle down and relax for a little then i will contact you.

    i’m gonna be there for a whole month.

  6. i wrote the website address down so i can holla at you when ready.

    you will know when you see me how fair i am towards all parties. i side with no one but they all have something to offer which means UNITY is key.

    1. I will wait to hear from you then. As for my views, I too side with no one, but I really doubt that the actual political class has anything to offer Lebanon.

  7. Bla bla bla charity. If I worked my ass off to get to be a Billionare, or a Millionare. I am going to use this for my own entertainment. Perhaps when I am done enjoying it with a nice Ferrari, a plastic girlfriend, and a nice mansion. Maybe my enterainment will change to be helping other people. But I will not do it because I am a good human (which really doesn’t exist) I will do it because it entertain me. Wheither it makes me feel good or makes me feel like a better person it is still my own comfort that this money is helping me accomplish which at the end. That is exactly why I slaved all my life working to accomplish.

    You can disagree with me and call me selfish (ofcourse I am selfish), but unlike any of you I probably have donated more money to charities than all of you commenting back hating me combined :).

    1. tim lol that was hilarious. you obviously dont believe in god nor do you believe in reincarnation.

      enjoy life bro.

      1. Thank you Tony 🙂

        I just hate it when someone becomes rich. All of a sudden people think that you owe them or something. It’s a capitalist world baby you want to be something get off your lazy ass and make something of yourself.

    2. Tim,

      Nobody should hate you for spending your money your way. I guarantee you though you won’t make millionaire so never mind billionaire. You ask me why my friend? I will tell you… People with your mind set (ferrari, mansions, plastic whatever) cannot save money to become rich… lol

      haven’t you read the article? Frugal lands you richness…

      1. Walid,

        Having money sitting in the bank is like having an empty house. It’s nice to look at but doing no one any good. Being a Millionare or a Billionare doesn’t mean you have that much money sitting in your bank account idling. It means your assets are worth that much. You are absolutely right I will be damned if I have a million sitting in the bank 🙂

        I wouldn’t call my self rich, or waste my time imagening what would it be like. I am well funded and certainly enjoy spending what I make on some luxury items that make me feel good, and waste money on my vanity 🙂

    3. Let him enjoy his dream.Reality sucks sometiems,lol

    4. Tim, good people do exist. Bill Gates is said to be donating, in his will, more than 90% of his wealth and only giving his family 10%. and he and warren buffet invited other billionaires to do the same.

  8. Oh and by the way “History” is about dead people. The last thing I will care about is what people think about me. You know why? BECAUSE I WILL BE DEAD!

    1. OK then everyone here who survives Tim should piss on his grave and graffiti his head stone since it does not matter to him. lol

      1. Grave and headstone that would be for my family to decide if thats ok or not. Most likely I’ll be cremated anyways.

  9. The Story of real Lebanon. Great vidhttp://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3HWEkiKzmfc&feature=player_embeddedeo, Must see.

  10. Salim should give me one million dollar and I will invest it for him in one penny stock that will give him 10 times that much by year end. Yes when you’re that rich who cares about not enjoying your lifestyles. Heck I can’t sit on a hundred dollars without going out and enjoying myself with the kids. Let alone if i had 60 billions I would definitely expand the roads in lebanon. Bring Electricity, water to every household to lebanon 24 hrs a day. I have met a lebanese billionare who was the governer of mexico and he was like that too. he lived so modest that it was buffalling and unrewarding since he didn’t want to extend a helping hand to anyone. My motto is give more than you take and you will live happy and prosperous beyond your wildest dreams. Anyway we’re proud of Mr Helou and his accomplishment and we wish him the best..

    1. Spot on Elias!!!!!!!!

      A simple check which does not put a dent in Selim’s wealth can bring electricity to Lebanon. But who would guarantee us that the donated money would not end in the pockets of the oligarchs and those animals we bring 3all majlis.

      1. First Tony, Prophet, Cathy and Walid. My id will be Elias B. instead of Elias since there was one that popped last week.

        Thanks Walid! I am so sick and tired of hearing about it. I would love given me 1 yr of total power. I would clean up the country and turn it around in no time. these leaders are so lame and so busy fighting each other. I am tired of our people trying to divide the powers between sects and religions. I am tired of leaders and their sons succeeding them. Look at some fresh faces we have like Ziad Barroud and the finance minister. They’re good and new breath fresh of air. they have done well especially Barroud and he was selected by some London Magazine of one on the list of the most distinguished man last year.

        He is young too and have accomplished so much during in short period compare to those aging ones. Anyway I agree if we give money to government to rebuild anything. It will end up in their hands and nothing spent on projects. thirty years ago i heard Kuwait gave lebanon 300 millions dollars to build electric plants and maintain the current ones. Every now and then i hear them and other countries donating money toward that purpose only. And look what happened nothing. That’s way Helou and others would not dare donate anything since he knows how they operate. Even as of late France want to sell lebanon some powerful missles but they’re saying the lebanese are divided on the issue that its holding them until the issue is resolved. My hunch is possibly who’s going end up with the weapons but who knows.

        All I can say “A house divided it can never be united”. God will only bless a united house not corrupt one and divisive one. We are so focused on wars and material and personal things then our country will never improve. All Arabs are like that and i have great admirations for Iran and its high tech capabilities. I am really amazed what they’ve done with their country and improving themselves. Sorry for the long Post.

  11. 8th Tip. Never spend your own money , invest off the backs of other people and the poor……ehm ehm, cough, hariri, cough, ehm, solideire, cough

    hariri you happen to be a billionaire, why cant you fix the electric problem? oh ya I forgot you were busy investing in people to fly to libon and vote for you, yeeeeee je me excuse 🙁

    1. Maria ehm ehm cough,

      Hariri was top 10 billionaire worldwide before he became Lebanese PM. He lost that after he became PM.

      During Hariri Senior days they fixed the power plants twice and both times were bombed by Israel because of the whole south thing. I remember them clearly. During the late 90’s I remember we had 24/7 electricity.

      Also, Hariri ehm ehm cough cough just because he’s rich doesn’t mean he has to throw his money away to gain your admiration. Even though he did throw his money away in lots of senses, but wisely. He educated thousands to increase the level of intelligence in his country….etc.

      Regarding Solideire, my family owned property DT they opted transfering them to stocks. They are actually doing pretty well, much better than rubble.

      1. nice post tim. good to know some of us can see hariri for what he is. i like hariri for sure.

      2. Tim it is a known fact that Hariri did use the borrow-and-build way to rebuild beirut which left lebanon in a high debt and budget deficit. actually our debt per capita became THE LARGEST in the world because of him.

        he did a lot of good and he put lebanon back on the map and attracted foreign investments no doubt but there was also a lot of corruption and stealing going on during his time


      4. Also Hariri’s fortune was estimated to be 4 billions dollars in 1992, and 16 billion dollars in 2005. so I dont know where you got that his fortune diminished after he went into politics..

      5. Tim when you decide to lead a country and begin a massive project such as rebuilding the paris of the middle east, power should fit in somewhere with that project.

        yes hariri fixed 2 plants in beirut ONLY but do you think it was free? the theft from jamarik, over inflated gasoline prices which…. ehm…. cough….accounts to over 60% taxation and all kinds of other thefts such as car “mekaneek” etc etc etc payed for hariris solid’ayr. When someone owns a city that was built off of other peoples money or investment, doesnt mean he is a generous leader, it means he leads a government and has the power to allocate the countries revenues to wherever he pleases.

        BTW i dont know which country you were living in but libon never had 24/7 other than beirut so balla tih’beejak

      6. akhh ya Tony, ma shbe3it min il hablani?

        bekaffee ba2a! i know you will argue with my post even though I am 100% right and Tim is on crystal meth but read your dear friend Cathy’s post, she is right too! how did hariri quadruple his wealth? let me guess, he did overtime at McKharra’s and saved up. hariri is a theif in a suit so stop worshipping this trash can!

        Speaking of McKharra’s, will you be hitting the drive thru tonite?

      7. maria lol i agree with you habeebti and with tim. you both have excellent points dear.

        i never disagreed with you at all. my agreement with tim was on his point but you are right cos i aint naiive.

        i love you maria and you know it.

        i leave tomorrow for a month so i will most likely post when i get back inshallah with good news.

        as you see sweetie i didnt argue with your post. you’re right. theres no such thing as honest power. we all abuse it.

        you might think you know me but you really dont, do you? much love girl

      8. Tony its so hard to get vexxed with you lol……..I hope you have a wonderful safe trip, I will miss you for the month as there will be no one else to give a hard time 🙂

    2. maria i will miss you too cos i have loved all the ribbing between us. you’re a real funny girl and many posters who come for a day and leave angry posts dont understand our attacks.

      politics aside you and i will make great lovers, oops, i mean friends lol.

      i love this site but what i love more is the friendship i’m developing with many.

      i will be visiting 2 pubs in gemayze thanks to ya libnan as i have gotten to know 2 good people on this site.

      i will surely miss you habeebti and dont stress too much. i cant wait for tomorrow as i start my one month vacation in my beloved country.

      i dream of shia, sunni, chritian, jew, druze, atheists, agnostics living together in peace on this beautiful haven that god created.

      lets all fight for that vision.

      1. I Dream of a day where we don’t hear Sunni, shiia, catholics, druz or maronits.

        I Dream of a day where our humanity and civility are our identity.

        I Dream of a day where all Lebanese look at each others as fellow citizens.

        I Dream of a day where we live in peace, harmony, and prosperity.

        I Dream of a day where everyone shares same responsibly and rights

        I Dream of a day where no one claims God to himself.

        I Dream of a day where we all identify with one sect called Lebanon,

        A sect, where there is no rituals, traditions or customs.

        A sect, that considers religion as an individual and personal matter. It’s a freedom sect where everyone may define their own path. A sect where individual may believe or disbelieve as He/She likes, without interfering with other’s belief or disbelief.

        A sect, that sings songs of harmony and love.

        A sect that, as Gandhi put it “welcomes war as much as it loves life with freedom.”

        .A sect that feels comfortable appearing as it is, and where everyone is proud of whom he /she is, and where we can all be proud of our Lebanon.

      2. prophet i love your dream bro. its really not that far off. many are trying to achieve it but we must start by laying down our arms.

      3. Tony, the day will come to disarm. We have a lot to do before we get there.

      4. prophet i absolutely agree with you which is why someone, some good and shrewd advisor other than aoun needs to advise HA of their maneuvres brother.

        thye’re really hurting themsleves with all their speeches and all their bullying. its not right.

        though many intelligent people know that its not the right time to disarm and you get the incident with the parking lot where HA doesnt come out and punish its members nor does it apologise or help the local merchants fix their stores, it puts a dent in their reputation.

        not all members of HA should carry weapons and they shouldnt go unpunished for their crimes.

        what happened in the parking lot though its isolated and non threatening, think of the parents worrying about their children or even worrying about their livelihood that they’re working so hard to make ends meet.

        think of the neighborhoods who might be trying to live with each other and this happens that puts a divide between them.

        it shouldnt take an Einstein to tell HA to keep its weapons at the broders. it has some very wreckless advisors and some confused vision of their party.

        they need to restrategise and come up with a new platform that will appease the lebanese people first and foremost then the government.

        lebanon first before egos and weapons.

      5. At least spell Druze and Maronites RIGHT ya rasuul.

        I think you are trying to single us out 😛 intentionally by misspelling those two religions.

        Second, change your name. Hasn’t it been said Mohammed khaatem el anbiyaa’ so ndaeb… lol

      6. Walid, I just realized how far my dream is. By Misspelling two sects, I’m suddenly being accused of intentionally doing so. LoL

        The story behind my name is very simple, Walid. I love the Prophet by Gibran, and I wish I could live by its teachings and principles. If you’re asking about my real name, I’ll tell you, it’s. Toufic.

      7. elak ya tawfiq wasssssssssuuuuuuuuuuuuuup maynG

      8. wulak ahlaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaan be Toufic. lol

      9. Ya ahlaaaaaaaaaaa be walid,

  12. Cathy,

    Borrow-and-build, I am not sure where you wanted him to get the money to build else. Fact, Lebanon has 0 resources to invest in else than tourism and trade. If your country is rubble and war torn I doubt either of those economic sectors would flourish. Like any business man that wants to start a project you take a bank loan and start the project you wish (especially the fact that he’s PM not owner of Lebanon).

    His plan in all aspects was a complete success, but again their were variables in his equation unaccounted for such as HA and Israel going off and blowing things up once a while. Tourism and business REQUIRE stability. I am not going to start a multi-million dollar company in a country where someone one might blow up my investment any day. Yes, their are people out there doing it, but it’s not my niche nor is it many other business minded people.

    Also, Regarding his fortune increase, after year 2000 Almost all of the Hariri businesses were handled by his sons without his interference but in general matters. Considering the inflation and the business boom from 1992 to 2005.

    Cathy, like my previous hidden comments their is no such thing as a “noble human” their are humans with common interests with their sorroundings that should be taken advantage of. For example if your neighbor owns a lawn mowing company it’s in his benefit that his neighbourhood lawn is all green, fresh and cut. I am more than certain that he is willing to give you a good discount for his service.

    When I was a kid I used to support Hariri not because he gave me something or I was looking for him to throw me a bone (I was 14) I did it because I beleived in his mission.

    If the image was not clear: Hariri was a business guru, mainly construction. If you bring a customer to your house poorly constructed and maintained and say “let me have the contract” you know his answer. For him it was crucial to fix up Beirut, and that doesn’t only benefit him, but benefit EVERYONE in the country.

    Regarding the stealing and the corruption, you know we are still talking about Lebanon 🙂 I am not sure when has it been in the history of lebanon we had a non-corrupt government. Back in the day he never got to pick up his cabinet, it was pre-choosen for him by “phantom power hands”.

    Personally? I think Hariri’s talents were wasted on Lebanon. Someone like him if he was somewhere like US or Canada he probably wouldn’t have gotten involved in politics and gave Bill Gates, and Warren Buffet a run for their money.


  14. Maria,

    I would rather not respond back to someone that when reaching a point of not knowing how to respond she goes to personal attacks.

    Have a good evening everyone.

    1. Tim is this the best comeback you got? I responded with a real answer and you didnt…..I guess your answer to me is the easy way out.


  15. maria i think tim is crying cos you told me he’s on crystal meth. dont worry habeebti, some people cant take some jabs.

    take it easy on him habeebti, hes tres sympathique cherie

  16. Lol if u knowme you would be shocked I am not going down to her level. But when it comes to something of this sort I would rather not. Simply out of respect to this website.

    Tony, just like you before caling me an israeli, I would rather keeping it civil and debating with respect keeping personal jabs out of it.

    1. tim i commend you. a secret i’ve learned a long time ago my friend tim. taking the high road at times serves you well but, there are times when taking the low road to spread your wisdom, serves the masses.

      i learned many years ago tim when i was 16 that in order for me to fir in south carolina when they didnt know what an arab looked like or even talked to one, i had to first study the columbians.

      how they dressed, how they talked, how they walked and thanks to my present career which i keep a secret, i developed the southern accent and dressed down to fit in and what a success that was.

      i’ve faced many rude people in my times bro and have felt the same like you by staying civil but at times, when i’ve lashed back and used the same lingo, they back off.

      calling you an israeli is not an insult and neither is saying you’re on crystal meth. if you’re an israeli its what you are and we dont think alike thus theres no insult there.

      maria said you’re on crystal meth kinda like someone saying you’re out to lunch with your coment.

      if you think these are insults tim then you’re definitely not lebanese cos boy do we jab at each other day and night bro as you see with maria and i we dont care about the back and forth, cos at the end of the day, we’re online friends which is all that matters.

      if i called you israeli tim then its most likely the words you type that describe your point of view.

      maria did have good points and so did you and its up to your genius to convince her otherwise cos even foul mouthed people have opinions and maria is very knowledgable of the lebanese history.

      if you read past her jabs,you will be able to see she a lot to offer.

      have a good day tim you israeli cystal meth addict lol 🙂

  17. But they are also battling the demons of meth addiction – working hard to stay sober for themselves and for their family. Melissa’s story. “My mom didn’t use drugs. She raised me well. But she was murdered in 2001 

  18. But they are also battling the demons of meth addiction – working hard to stay sober for themselves and for their family. Melissa’s story. “My mom didn’t use drugs. She raised me well. But she was murdered in 2001 

  19. 5thDrawer Avatar

    Who spends $45 on an ‘average’ haircut ??

    1. prophettt Avatar

      5th,don’t Forget to tip the cutie that washes your hair too.lol. 

      1. 5thDrawer Avatar

        Always do my own wash. Haircut to me is just that. Damn hard to find a good barber these days … and Italians were best. 🙂 Fortunately there is one good one in Tripoli ..
        Now .. if we talk massage …

  20.  Avatar

    Who spends $45 on an ‘average’ haircut ??

    1.  Avatar

      5th,don’t Forget to tip the cutie that washes your hair too.lol. 

      1.  Avatar

        Always do my own wash. Haircut to me is just that. Damn hard to find a good barber these days … and Italians were best. 🙂 Fortunately there is one good one in Tripoli ..
        Now .. if we talk massage …

    2.  Avatar

      5th,don’t Forget to tip the cutie that washes your hair too.lol. 

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