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Money Habits of the Rich, and How They May Be Able to Help You

How do the wealthy manage and think about money? Read about millionaire habits and money habits of the rich to improve your financial success.

December 1, 2021

If you’re looking to improve your financial situation, a great place to find inspiration is in the money habits of the successful. By examining the behavior of people who've already “made it,” you might pick up a good habit or two.

Each of us is born with different opportunities, advantages and disadvantages. Some wealthy people were born wealthy — but many got there through hard work, frugal habits and a positive mindset. 

By learning millionaire money habits and other characteristics of successful people, we can all take steps towards a brighter future for ourselves. 

Money habits of the rich & famous

Most rich people spend like rich people, and their lifestyles often eat up an incredible amount of money. For instance, lots of NFL players go bankrupt after retirement, despite many earning multi-million dollar salaries.

However, there are outliers — wealthy individuals who don't spend frivolously, and as a result, see their net worth grow each year. 

To demonstrate, it’s helpful to see some real-life examples. Here are some positive money habits of the rich.

Warren Buffett: Frugal habits, avoiding debt

Warren Buffett is one of the wealthiest people in the world, with a net worth of over $100 billion ( making him the 10th richest person in the world at the time of publication). 

The famed investor lives a simple life and is remarkably frugal considering his enormous wealth. Here’s a few examples of his habits: 

  • Lives in a modest home that he purchased for $31,500 over 60 years ago. Today, it is worth around $1 million

  • Favorite meal is a McDonalds breakfast sandwich

  • Avoids debt

  • Uses coupons

  • Doesn’t splurge on expensive cars or possessions 

  • Signed the Giving Pledge, committing to donating the majority of his wealth to charity upon his death

Buffett is a self-made billionaire, yet he still lives a middle-class lifestyle. He’s an example of living well below your means, and it’s one of the reasons he has amassed so much wealth in his life. 

Hillary Swank: Clipping coupons and not taking anything for granted

Hillary Swank is an Academy Award-winning actress with an estimated net worth of over $40 million. But she came from very humble beginnings, growing up in a trailer park in Washington State, and at one point living in a car as she pursued her acting career. 

Swank’s humble beginnings instilled lifelong frugal habits in her, and to this day, she clips coupons to save money on everyday purchases. She refuses to take anything for granted and tries to cultivate a sense of gratitude for what she has. 

Charlie Ergen: Frugality in business and life

Charlie Ergen is the chairman of satellite TV provider Dish Network. He has a net worth of over $10 billion — but you wouldn't know it from looking at him.

The media magnate still packs a sack lunch to work each day (a sandwich and a Gatorade) and is notoriously frugal in his business ventures. 

The average American household spent $3,526 on dining out in 2019, according to data from the Bureau of Labor Statistics. Considering that the average restaurant markup is around 300%, that means Americans are spending $3,526 each year for approximately $1,175 worth of food. 

In other words, by adopting frugal dining habits like those of Charlie Ergen, the typical American household could save $2,351 per year on food! 

Many CEOs and bosses cut costs at their businesses, only to spend frivolously in their personal lives. Ergen embodies the frugal state of mind in both life and business. 

Millionaire habits of self-made millionaires

Billionaires and famous actresses are one thing, but what about “everyday people” that have found success and become self-made millionaires? 

Certified Financial Planner Faron Daugs spoke with CNBC, explaining some of the money habits he had observed from his self-made millionaire clients. Here are the trends he discovered.

Avoiding debt

A priority of these wealthy individuals was keeping debt down or eliminating it. Many of the self-made millionaires still had mortgages, but they did everything possible to eliminate credit card debt, personal loans, car loans and other forms of debt. 


Wealthy people often share one important habit: they make their money work for them. By investing in stocks, bonds, ETFs and private businesses, those interviewed were able to make money while they slept and build up their net worth over time. 

Want to learn more about investing? Check out our Investing 101 guide.

Multiple streams of income

Many featured in the interview had multiple sources of income — usually from a combination of employment, business, investments or rental property. Some wealthy people have found success in living off of one income source (their main job, for instance) and saving 100% of profits from other income sources. 

Want to start a side hustle? Check out these 5 lucrative side hustles

Emergency funds

Most of the clients had substantial amounts of money set aside for emergencies, such as a job loss or economic crash. Most experts recommend setting aside 3 to 6 months of living expenses in an emergency fund to be prepared. 

Need to build your emergency fund? Read all about emergency funds and rainy day funds in our guide. 

Avoiding “keeping up with the Joneses”

Many of us are tempted to try to keep up with our neighbors, friends and family. If the neighbor buys a new car, we’re tempted to buy one for ourselves. But the interviewed clients largely avoided these temptations, helping them reduce spending and focus on building wealth. 

Want to learn how to lower your spending? Read our guide on how to reduce monthly expenses

Wrapping up

Building positive financial habits can go a long way towards improving your finances — and your entire life. 

While wealthy people often have more opportunities and resources than most of us, that doesn’t mean that you can’t learn from their habits. 

By cutting unnecessary spending, paying off debt and saving for the future, you can drastically improve your financial standing and build wealth over time. 

Still carrying credit card debt but hoping to adopt a few millionaire mindset habits? Check out Tally†, a personal finance app that can help you refinance your credit card debt, so you pay it off faster. 

†To get the benefits of a Tally line of credit, you must qualify for and accept a Tally line of credit. Based on your credit history, the APR (which is the same as your interest rate) will be between 7.90% - 29.99% per year. The APR will vary with the market based on the Prime Rate. Annual fees range from $0 - $300.