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Billionaires Like Warren Buffett, Oprah Winfrey, and Mark Cuban Use These Counterintuitive Strategies to Manage Their Money

Wondering how to get wealthy and party with the one-percenters? The answer lies in coupons, bulk buys, and cheap seats.

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BY Ilya Pozin - 09 Sep 2018

Billionaires Like Warren Buffett, Oprah Winfrey, and Mark Cuban Use These Counterintuitive Strategies to Manage Their Money

PHOTO CREDIT: Getty Images

Dolly Parton freezes leftovers. Sarah Jessica Parker dresses her kids in hand-me-downs. And Warren Buffett, one of the wealthiest humans walking the planet, pays for McDonald's food with coupons.

Are these just the quirky habits of the rich and famous? Not at all. They represent the way these millionaires and billionaires acquired and retain their wealth: by managing money effectively, efficiently, and prudently.

If you want to travel in elite circles with billionaires like Oprah or "just" millionaires such as David Bach, author of 11 bestselling financial books, be ready to tighten your purse strings -- even if you have plenty of extra coinage at your disposal.

From the very beginning of my career, I focused on experiences, not material things. When I ran Coplex Ventures, my first company, I routinely paid myself last. It didn't hurt to cut luxuries like eating out; I knew I was setting myself up for a better future.

What I didn't realize is my penchant for penny-pinching wasn't unusual. In fact, many rich people who grew up in dire straits never lost their ability to stretch a dollar or seek out bargains. Though it may sound silly to think of J.K. Rowling worrying about money, she's on record as saying that she had trouble getting comfortable with the sudden influx of cash after her Harry Potter books became bestsellers.

Truly, many of the one-percenters among us aren't living as lavishly as we might assume. Humble beginnings or not, we can all learn their secrets to sitting on cash instead of spending voraciously. Anyone can wield their wealth wisdom, including the following tips, to make smarter choices when it comes to spending, saving, and investing.

1. Live below your means.

Buffett moved into his current home in the late 1950s. After purchasing it for a little more than $30,000 he settled down and never moved again, according to Business Insider. Could he afford several vacation properties or a large mansion? You bet. Yet he's not interested in moving.

Mexican business magnate Carlos Slim Hel follows the same principle of living frugally. He hasn't switched residences for four decades. Again, his choice not to bounce around or amass personal real estate has earned him a billionaire status. Even if you never hit that top 10 list, you'll do well to lower your living costs.

2. Buy in bulk.

I'm a Costco habitue and an Amazon fan because I appreciate being able to purchase frequently used items in larger quantities. As long as they won't sit on a shelf for eons or go bad, the decision to buy in bulk makes perfect sense.

Mark Cuban apparently agrees. In a Vanity Fair video, he advised buying two years' worth of toothpaste or other household item whenever you see it on sale. Sure, he could afford to grab a single tube of toothpaste whenever the old tube runs empty, but that's not the smart move. Although you pay more up front, you save on the back end.

3. Invest in a reasonable vehicle.

Don't expect to see Mark Zuckerberg speeding around in a Ferrari. According the Business Insider, the frugal Facebook founder prefers to get from point to point in his Volkswagen GTI, a far cry from a cherry red sports car packing 800 horsepower under the hood.

Evaluate the pragmatism of your own transportation method. According to Carfax, vehicles can depreciate up to 25 percent annually. Go easy on the up-front cost and try to keep your wheels on the road for as long as you can. That way, you'll get the most money mileage out of your ride.

4. Fly economy class.

Business and first class may tempt you beyond belief, but unless you can save up travel points and hack the system, always fly economy. Even Ingvar Kamprad, the late Ikea founder, flew frugally.

His belief was that just because he could do something didn't mean he should, and that included wasting dollars on luxury plane travel. It's a truth many travelers have come to realize: First class comes with perks, no doubt, but you get to your destination just as quickly if you choose the cheap seats.

5. Clip coupons.

You probably don't have time to go full Extreme Couponing. Don't let that stop you from occasionally clipping coupons or checking out discount payment apps like CrayPay that pay a certain percentage of your purchase.

Feeling a little weirded out at the thought of carrying coupons? Hey, if Kristen Bell and other stars use coupons to stretch their income, anyone can -- and should. Never think a coupon makes you look poor: It's a common way for well-off people to spend their dollars wisely.

Financial success involves more than just getting a raise or hitting the big time with an up-and-coming stock. The road to becoming and staying much more than solvent involves making smarter day-to-day decisions, including whether you want to add a sundae to that cheeseburger meal deal.

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