The Cheapest Rich Guys in the World: Top 5 Frugal Billionaires

By Andrew Salmon

Sure, we’ve all dreamed of being millionaires. But certainly in our best daydreams, a million or so won’t cut it, and nothing except for being a billionaire will do for a life where no expense is spared for anything, anytime.

However even the world’s richest folks can be frugal. Here are the top five cheapest billionaires. It’s up to each of us to decide whether they deserve praise, scorn, or commitment to a mental hospital for the lengths they go to in order to save a buck.

5. John Caudwell

A bit of a lightweight on this list with a net worth of a paltry $2.2 billion, Caudwell sets a new standard for frugality. He cycles 14 miles to work every day and cuts his own hair so as not to waste time at the barber, and even buys his clothes off the rack at Mark’s & Spencer’s. Is he simply an avid sportsman who doesn’t like to waste time or a penny pincher?

4. Jim C. Walton

Walton inherited his $16.4 billion dollar fortune from his dad and adds to it through the vast empire that is Wal Mart. It appears Walton also got his spending habits from Papa as well. Walton drives an old Dodge Dakota when he could probably buy Dakota, North and South. Come on, Jim, live a little.

3. Azim Premji

Has $17.1 billion to play around with courtesy of tech-services giant Wipro. One of the richest men in India, Premji drives a Corolla, flies coach and stays in company guest houses while traveling on business. He even used paper plates for his son’s wedding. As long as he didn’t pick up the rice after the ceremony we can safely chalk his frugality up to living simply.

2. Ingvar Kamprad

$33 billion should be enough for a few lavish touches around the mansion, but this creator of IKEA furnishes his modest house with the very furniture that made him rich. If he is able to assemble IKEA furniture without help then the man truly is a genius and not eccentric. Plus he drives around in a 15-year old Volvo. He even flies coach while traveling. Cheap, unpretentious or crazy, you be the judge.

1. Warren Buffet

With a net worth of $57 billion, there’s very little outside Buffet’s price range. However he still lives in the same home he bought more than 50 years ago for $31,000 and drives an ’06 Cadillac. As a champion of the Middle Class, maybe Buffet is trying to live by example.

As you can see, it’s hard to guess whether we’re dealing with Scrooges on this list or if these billionaires simply know the value of a dollar and don’t see the need to throw money around on creature comforts. One would assume they didn’t amass their fortunes without this basic knowledge and simply don’t wish to pamper themselves. In which case, they deserve our respect. Well, whatever the reason, we won’t be seeing any of these folks in a soup kitchen any time soon.

  • http://www.frugal-living-tips.com Kate

    I learnt along time ago that the rich stay rich by not spending money.

    i have spoken to so many shop keepers who tell me that the worst spenders are the richest ones.

    now does that make them mean well no i don’t belive in wastingh money for the sake of it. but i do belive that if you have a lot of money then it is importnat to spread it around the community a little after all money is useless if it just sits doing nothing.

  • http://www.fellrath.com Jamie Fellrath

    I don’t think it’s a case where they’re being stingy. I think it’s more a case where they have a mindset that they don’t need THINGS to be happy – they’d rather live through their experiences and get what they need emotionally from the challenges of running their businesses. They have no need to drive fancy cars, etc., because they’re not showing off for anyone.

  • http://www.primermagazine.com Andrew

    @Jamie – It’s easy to not need to show off with a fancy car when you’re among the top richest men in the world. ;)

    Just kidding, I think you’re absolutely right — don’t be a drone of consumerism. Buy quality things that you need or TRULY want. It’s something I’d love to touch more on here.

  • http://www.manvsstyle.com Schmidty – Man Vs. Style

    I think even if the IKEA man owned a ferrari he would still be being frugal and living well within his means. That Volvo is a joke :-)

  • http://www.mydala.com Ashish Bhatnagar

    I have read this article it’s wonderful experience reading such a beauty full article .I hope i would visit and could read such article on regular basis,Thanks for such a good article. http://www.mydala.com

  • Pingback: Tuesday Link Roundup | Cool Material

  • JOEY SCOTT

    They won’t get rich if all of us are frugal. Remember they gain profit from those who keep buying things they have stocks or holdings…Life is not about whether you have lots of money or otherwise but the contentment you feel whether you spend or not at all…

  • jai

    Well, when they did Bill gates on Simpsons, he had a line where he says, “i didn’t get rich by writing a lot of cheques’. So true.

  • Jeff Carter

    I am rich because I never spent a lot and needed less than I use. makes sense?

    LOL

  • http://www.primermagazine.com Andrew

    Jeff, That’s a great tip! :) Now we just have to convince everyone that they don’t need buy all that junk.

  • Anotherjames

    I realize I’m way late to the conversation but I need to school a few of you on economics.

    These billionaires are not being stingy Scrooges. Their money does not simply just sit in a big Scrooge McDuck vault. It sits in banks where others get to borrow it and use it for themselves. Yes, they get wealthier off the interest but others get wealthier off the profit only made possible from the cash capital derived from these guys’ billions. Walton’s 16 bil goes a lot farther for the economy than any yatch purchase. These guys are investors and sources of capital. That’s good for us.

  • Rexmart

    I think there are many young people who could take some direction from the PRO`s