Billionaire and cheap.
Those are two words you don’t often see together but the frugal billionaire is a more common phenomenon than you might think.
From John D. Rockefeller – who made his only son wear his big sister’s hand-me-downs – to Warren Buffett, who still lives in the Omaha, Nebraska home he purchased for $31,000 in 1955, billionaires have long shown us you don’t have to spend the money that you make.
The Daily Ticker brings you four of the thriftiest billionaires around today:
1. Azim Premji
Premji is the founder of Bangalore-based Wipro (WIT) and worth $17 billion, according to Forbes. The Indian tech titan reportedly monitors the number of toilet paper rolls used in Wipro facilities. And according to India Today, he used paper plates at his son’s wedding to save money.
2. Ingvar Kamprad
The founder of IKEA is worth more than $3 billion and he readily admits he’s tight with money. Kamprad flies discount airlines, drives a 15-year-old Volvo and has a house full of IKEA furniture, which he put together himself. He even boasted about firing his barber because he found another who would cut his hair for ten bucks.
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3. Michael Bloomberg
The entrepreneur turned New York City mayor is worth more than $30 billion. Yet it’s widely reported that he has been wearing the same black loafers for a decade. Bloomberg told the New York Post: “You don’t have to throw them away and get new ones, you can use the old ones.”
4. Chuck Feeney
Feeney founded “Duty Free Shops” and is worth $1.3 billion, after giving away more than $6 billion to charity. Feeney takes the subway, flies coach and buys clothing off the rack. He also made sure his five kids worked their way through college – as maids, waiters and cashiers.
He plans on giving all of his money away by 2016: “I want the last check to bounce!”
We should point out: these four billionaires are noted philanthropists, so the more they save, the more they give away. (The Giving Pledge is a commitment by the world's wealthiest to give the majority of their fortunes away to charity.)
If the richest person is the one who’s content with the least, then maybe these billionaires have it right.
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- Ingvar Kamprad