Being a billionaire is one of the most common fantasies in the world, but many of the world’s richest people live as though the billions in their accounts don’t mean so much. Oddly, billionaires can be very cheap. Having the power to fulfill all their desires and satisfy all their pleasures, the world’s cheapest billionaires live a simple and modest life. Whether they don’t know how to have fun with their money or they know the value of a dollar, these billionaires don’t like to throw their fortune away on unnecessary comforts.
Jim C. Walton ($42.7 billion)
Jim C. Walton is a very careful with his spending habits, despite inheriting a billion-dollar fortune from his father, Walmart founder Sam Walton. Jim drives a 15-year old Dodge Dakota pickup and has never shown any interest in fancy sports cars.
Azim Premji ($19.4 billion)
The chairman of the massive tech-services company Wipro and one of the richest people in India, Azim Premji has not changed his habits as his fortune grew. On the contrary, he is notoriously known for being cheap. Although he travels often for business, he flies economy and stays at company guests houses instead of fancy hotels. He drives secondhand cars and uses rickshaws to get around. Premji is also overly cautious with his company’s bills, always reminding his employees to turn off the lights at the office and keeping a record of the toilet paper usage.
Ingvar Kamprad ($43.2 billion)
Difficult to say whether he is being cheap or just loyal to the brand that made him wealthy and famous, but IKEA creator Ingvar Kamprad furnishes his own house with the furniture made by his company. He also drives a decades-old Volvo and has been often spotted on public buses. He flies economy class while traveling for business. Although many believe that his frugality is just a pose, Kamprad is still modest compared to most billionaires.
Warren Buffet ($79.2 billion)
There are probably very few things in the world or none that Warren Buffet could not afford as he is the third richest men in the world. Surprisingly though, his lifestyle has not changed over the years even though his fortune increased at incredibly high speed. Buffet lives in a modest house in Omaha, Nebraska, that he bought for $31,500 in 1958, and he drives a ’06 Cadillac. He doesn’t have a computer at his desk and doesn’t even carry a cellphone. He spoils himself with five Cokes a day, Cheetos, potato chips and a daily breakfast at McDonald’s.
Mark Zuckerberg ($ 74.7 billion)
Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg has remained loyal to the lifestyle he had prior to becoming one of the world’s richest tech entrepreneurs. He is always spotted in a simple T-shirt, jeans, and hoodie and has probably only worn a suit at his wedding. He married his wife in the backyard of their home in Palo Alto. During their honeymoon in Italy, the couple was seen having lunch at McDonald’s. Zuckerberg has been driving an old Acura for a while but recently got a Volkswagen with manual transmission for just $30,000.
Carlos Slim Helu ($75.5 billion)
The founder of Grupo Carso and the richest man in Mexico, Carlos Slim Helu has chosen frugality as both a lifestyle and business philosophy. He invests all his money back into his vast array of companies, while he and his family live in the same house that Helu bought 40 years. He also drives himself to work daily in an old Mercedes-Benz and he shops at his own retail stores. Helu is as frugal as a businessman, always urging his employees to adopt austerity even in times of great prosperity.
Charlie Ergen ($15 billion)
The chairman of Dish Network, Charlie Ergen has become a notorious figure of frugality during his years in the business world. He packs a brown-bag lunch with a sandwich and Gatorade for lunch every day to avoid eating out. He also prefers modest housing, and he and his wife have stayed in the same house in Denver for more than 20 years. Growing up in the Depression Era, Ergen is very careful about his money and is open to any possibility of saving some bucks, including sharing hotel rooms with his colleagues while on business trips.
Amancio Ortega ($75.3 billion)
The founder of retail empire Inditex, Amancio Ortega is an extremely private and modest person and his spending habits haven’t changed a bit even though he was recently ranked as the second-richest person in the world. Ortega and his wife live in an unpretentious apartment in La Coruna, Spain. He frequents the same local shops regularly and eats his lunch with his employees at his company’s headquarters cafeteria. For a fashion magnate, he dresses suspiciously modest, adopting a daily standard business outfit composed of gray pants, white shirt, and blue blazer.
David Cheriton ( $5.6 billion)
Founder of Arista Networks, computer scientist and tech entrepreneur David Cheriton still works as a professor at Stanford University, although he is wealthy enough not to work another day in his life. While he eats out at expensive restaurants, he packs half of his meal for the next-day lunch. He rides his bike to work and whenever in need to drive, he takes out from his garage an unimpressive 1986 Volkswagen van or an old Honda Sedan. He doesn’t like luxury cars or expensive clothes, but most shockingly, he reuses teabags and cuts his own hair.
Karl & Theo Albrecht ($50 billion)
Brothers Karl and Theo Albrecht are the owners of Aldi, a company that includes two leading global discount supermarket chains with over 10,000 stores in 18 countries. Raised by a miner father and a shopkeeper mother, they remained modest, despite the success of their business. Karl for example, owns the most unremarkable house in his neighborhood and drives a Volkswagen from the 1980s.
Huang Guangyu ($6.3 billion)
Currently in prison for insider trading, Huang Guangyu was for a long time the richest man in China. He and his family lived in a small, inconspicuous apartment in Beijing. He seemed to have no hobbies, spending money only on basic needs. It is hard to tell whether he was afraid to get busted or he took his spending habits from his family, who were poor rice farmers. Nonetheless, frugality became a mark of his public persona.