While frugality has never been in style in Hollywood, some celebrities can stretch a dollar with the best of us – and they were doing it even before the economy took a nosedive. Here are five celebrities who always found it hip to be budget conscious:
She’s the face of L’Oreal, has her own clothing line and just launched her first fragrance, selling $3 million worth within one month. She has also racked up 16 Grammys so far and sold more than 100 million records as a solo artist and a part of Destiny’s Child. As a result, her star power has generated an income of $87 million from June 2008-June 2009, making her number four on Forbes‘ Celebrity 100 list.
Yet, the 28 year old, who out earned her husband Jay-Z by $52 million during that year, told the U.K. Mirror that she is “very frugal.” “I haven’t bought a car since I was 16 or any diamonds since I was 17,” she explained. “I have a lot of property. I’ve invested my money and I don’t have to make any more, thank God, because I’m set. I’m now able really to be free and just do things that make me happy.”
Why does she do it? “I want to have a long career, be respected and not go off track,” said the Texan. “It’s an effort to stay grounded.”
After 11 years on the force of Law & Order: Special Victims Unit and several commendations including an Emmy and Golden Globe, Mariska Hargitay is sitting pretty. The 46-year-old actress is said to be pulling down $8 million a year, according to Forbes. Still, she knows the fame game can be short and end sadly.
The daughter of sex symbol Jayne Mansfield and one-time Mr. Universe Mickey Hargitay told More magazine, “I constantly worry about money. I make a lot now, but I don’t feel that way, because I was poor and had no money for a lot longer than I’ve had it. As an actor, if this show ends next year, then what? As an aging woman, then what? I’m saving money to live on, for the future. There are not that many roles for women, and I’ve been blessed with one of the great ones.”
He made history in November when he became the first African American man to win the Country Music Association Awards’ New Artist of the Year Award. But then rocker turned country singer Darius Rucker is used to the spotlight. After all, during the 1990s, he and his band, Hootie & the Blowfish, were all over the airwaves.
Despite years at center stage, Rucker has not forgotten his roots. Raised by a single mother in South Carolina, the 44-year-old says when he’s not singing, he’s hanging with his family and doing normal things like shopping at Target and driving his three kids to school. His only splurge: a car every two years. But rather than owning a garage-full of vehicles, he trades each in for a new model.
Said Rucker to OK magazine, “Money can’t make you happy, but it makes being miserable a whole lot easier. If you’re smart and you’re cool and you like who you are before you have money, money changes the things it’s supposed to change. You don’t have to worry about how you’re going to eat next week, you don’t have to worry about your kids going to college, you don’t have to worry about that stuff. I didn’t feel any different when I had money, I don’t think I was a different person.”
Renee Zellweger has been a fashion magazine favorite since she captured Tom Cruise’s heart in the 1996 hit “Jerry Maguire.” When she’s not wearing vintage, she’s usually decked out in glamorous outfits by tony designer Carolina Herrera. However, off the red carpet, the Texan prefers to live a more down to earth life. Chalk it up to her upbringing: Even though she earned $10 million in 2009, she’s a frugalista thanks to her mom and dad. “I have immigrant parents who came to this country with nothing,” said Zellweger to the U.K.’s Daily Record. “My dad worked his ass off to support our family. He made so many sacrifices but we also had enough so I’ve never been the sort of person who takes things for granted, and I’m not an acquisitions girl.”
Zellweger, now 41, still clips coupons, remembers to turn lights off when she’s not in the room, and recycles.
No list about frugal celebrities is complete without the oracle of Omaha, Nebraska. Countless books have been written, innumerable columns of newsprint has been spent, and endless airtime has been given to every word Warren Buffett has uttered. But who wouldn’t stop to listen to a man who grew a $100 stake into a personal fortune estimated to be $47 billion. Despite all the zeros after his name, the 80-year-old chair and CEO of Berkshire Hathaway still lives in the modest home he bought more than 50 years ago for $31,500 and pays himself a base salary of $100,000 a year. Nor is he much of a big spender — he does not have a chauffeur, is giving away most of his fortune to charity, and got married for a second time in 2006 in a 15-minute civil ceremony with only two witnesses.