Frugality and Fortune: Inside the Spending Habits of Self-Made Millionaires


Achieving financial success and accumulating wealth is often seen as a combination of hard work, strategic saving, and smart investments. While each millionaire’s journey is unique, there are common (and uncommon) spending habits that many self-made millionaires share. Surprisingly, frugality plays a significant role in their wealth-building strategies. Here are six things frugal self-made millionaires never waste money on.

1. Sports Equipment

Contrary to the assumption that the wealthy splurge on the best sporting equipment, many opt for more economical choices. David Ciccarelli, the founder and CEO of Lake, an online vacation rental platform, exemplifies this approach. “I won a golf bag I use and the clubs were either hand-me-downs or again, items I won in charity golf tournaments,” says Ciccarelli. “I only golf a few times a year — if that — so, I can’t really justify the investment.”

2. Financial Advisor Fees

While financial advisors can provide valuable insights and guidance, the fees associated with these services can be substantial. Jim Wang, founder of Wallet Hacks, learned this lesson firsthand. “I never waste money on a financial advisor that charges an asset under management fee,” Wang states. After paying $20,000 in management fees over five years, he switched to a fee-only advisor who charges hourly, finding this to be a more cost-effective solution.

3. Gym Memberships

Physical fitness is important, but for some self-made millionaires, this doesn’t mean paying for a gym membership. Andy Hill, a podcaster and founder of MarriageKidsandMoney, prefers free workout options. “I’ve wasted money on gym memberships and won’t do it again,” Hill says. Instead, he opts for running or free online workout videos, saving money while staying fit.

4. Hair Services

Regular visits to high-end salons can add up quickly. Despite having the means, some self-made millionaires choose to skip these expenses. Ange Matthews, a personal finance expert and wealth strategist for Happy Investor Method, styles her own hair. “I don’t spend money on going to the hairdresser since the average hairstyle for a woman of color is $200,” she explains. Matthews learned how to style her hair from YouTube tutorials, saving significant amounts of money.

5. Luxury Handbags and Shoes

It might seem that millionaires constantly adorn themselves with luxury accessories, but some avoid spending excessively on high-end handbags and shoes. Brock and Becky Waterman from the FIRE Travel Family, for example, prefer acquiring clothes frugally, often secondhand. Bernadette Joy, a debt-free millionaire and founder of Crush Your Money Goals, also avoids luxury brands. “I actually used to buy luxury handbags and shoes before I pursued financial freedom, but I did this only to seem impressive,” Joy reveals. Now, she invests in her retirement instead.

6. Streaming Services

In an era of countless subscriptions, some self-made millionaires limit their streaming service expenses. Bernadette Joy has one subscription for Asian content and relies on YouTube for other entertainment needs. Additionally, she practices “screenless Sundays,” spending the day without looking at any screens. “It’s been a great reminder that there’s so much to see out in the real world,” she says.

The habits of self-made millionaires offer valuable insights into frugality and smart spending. By avoiding unnecessary expenses, they build and maintain their wealth, proving that financial success often comes from the choices made in everyday life.

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