If youve ever bought a Powerball lottery ticket and fantasized about how your life would be fabulous if only you would win, it may be comforting to know that some of the super-rich live pretty much the way you live right now. At least some of the time.
Multi-millionaires and billionaires obviously have the capital to do whatever they want, wherever they want, as often as they want. Many, however, opt to live modestly, focusing on growing their businesses and maintaining their wealth instead of how to spend their money.
Some ultra-rich celebrities shop at Walmart, Target and the Dollar Store, eat at McDonalds, style their own hair, prepare their own meals, drive old cars, shop for cheap coach class travel and live in the same modest house theyve owned for decades.
A few well-documented examples:
Warren Buffett, chairman and CEO of Berkshire Hathaway (net worth $82.3 billion) lives in a stucco house in Omaha that he bought for $31,500 in 1958.
Mark Zuckerberg, founder and CEO of Facebook (net worth $74.2 billion), drives average cars – an Acura TSX, a Volkswagen hatchback and a Honda Fit, all valued under $30,000 each.
Tony Hsieh, Zappos CEO (net worth $780 million), lives in a 240-foot Airstream in a trailer park.
Michelle Obama (net worth $40 million) drives herself to Target to shop.
Understanding how the very rich stay that way is the key to finding more wealth and peace in your own life. Here are a few habits of the rich that you can adopt:
Live Below Your Means
The overnight millionaires who quickly lost it all forgot the simple concept of saving. They spent as much as they could as fast as they could and wound up in worse financial shape than ever. Dont go into credit card debt, hoping youll make more next year and be able to catch up. Set a budget below your means and stick to it.
Live in a Modest Home
Just because you can trade up doesnt mean you have to. If youre happy and comfortable where you are, stay. Maintain your home well, update your décor as needed and it will rise in value.
Hunt for Freebies
Your email inbox is probably crowded right now with offers for free or super cheap products. Accept them and use them. Also search the Internet and print ads for buy-one, get-one deals on products you normally use.
Curb Your Restaurant Habits
Eating out, even at modest prices, adds up. Keep tabs for a month on your restaurant meals, including carry-out, and youll be surprised at how much this habit costs. Preparing food at home is much more economical and you can control the portions and the calories.
Start a Side Hustle
If you want to save more money, make more money. What can you do in a few hours each week to bring in extra cash? Turn your hobby into an income stream? Take on freelance projects from your business colleagues? Think about your talents and interests and how you can turn them into profits.
Make a Grocery List and Stick to It
Impulse purchases ruin a grocery budget and the supermarket is designed to grab you with attractive displays in aisles and on end caps. Plan your meals, make a list of only what you need and stick to it. Shop alone if others in your family tend to lure you in the wrong direction.
Buy Only What You Need
If your closet is already stuffed full, dont buy more hangers. Buy fewer clothes. Quite likely no one remembers if you wore that same shirt last week, as long as its clean and in good repair. When it comes to high-ticket items like a new car, if yours is reliable and in good shape, why trade it for the latest model?
Go for Simple Entertainment
Concerts, movies, plays and attractions with admission fees all cut into the budget. Opt for free or low-cost leisure-time pursuits like concerts in parks, movies on TV, free programs at the library, exploring nature and a potluck dinner with family and friends, followed by board games.
Bank that Raise
When you get an income boost resist the impulse to spend more than usual. Bank the extra cash and save it until you really need it.
None of these frugal habits may really turn you into the next Bill Gates or even a millionaire. But simplifying how you think about and spend your money will help you live a comfortable and more relaxing lifestyle, much like the rich and famous. Plus, youll find yourself with extra cash and maybe even on the road to wealth.