By Wendy/ July 31, 2017 1:05 pm EDT/Updated: May. 6, 2020 4:56 pm EDT
Once you become a huge star and start making serious money, it’s generally assumed that your life changes completely. Certain people covet a fancier lifestyle, though others may shy away from it. But what if megastar celebrities’ fame and fortune, while welcome, didn’t alter their lives in any considerable way? What about the super-famous guys and gals who still shop at Whole Foods, don’t bother with personal assistants, and happily clip coupons in order to ensure they always get the best deals?
Here are some of the biggest and most well-known names in the business who, in spite of their massive Hollywood careers and considerable wealth, have managed to stay down to earth and live like normal people.
Easily one of — if not the — most famous late-night talk show hosts of all time, with a chin that won’t quit, the incomparable Jay Leno has built up a considerable following over his 30-year career, along with some major bank. His estimated net worth, at the time of writing, is around $350 million. However, much like several other entrants on this list, Leno learned how to save in his formative years, reportedly working two jobs in his youth: one for bills and spending money, and the other strictly for saving purposes.
Since retiring from The Tonight Show (the wages for which he reportedly put entirely into his savings accounts throughout his run), Leno has lived purely off the proceeds from his lucrative stand-up career, which is presumably a lot easier with all that extra money stashed in the bank. He might have a serious predilection for buying classic cars, but the funnyman has allegedly “never spent a dime” of his late-show money, “— ever.”
Sarah Jessica Parker
She’ll always be Carrie to most of us, a Sex and the City character who, in spite of submitting maybe 1,000 words of copy a week, managed to live in a $700-a-month apartment in NYC while purchasing copious amounts of designer shoes and heading out for cocktails practically every night. According to The Richest, Sarah Jessica Parker, the actress otherwise known as Carrie, is worth an estimated $90 million, so if she wanted to buy a new pair of Louboutins every week, she could.
However, in a 2008 interview with Parade, Parker extolled the virtues of working hard for your money, revealing how she dressed her son, James Wilkie, in hand-me-down clothing throughout his younger years. This was thanks to Parker’s “older nephews” and the fact that her mother saved all of her brother’s childhood clothing, which meant she had no real reason to buy her son anything new, noting at the time that she didn’t think she had “ever bought him any clothes.”
Sarah Michelle Gellar
Another hugely famous actress and well-known TV star who learned to live frugally thanks to her difficult upbringing is Buffy herself, Sarah Michelle Gellar. Gellar, whose father left the family when she was a young child (the huge star credits her mother with teaching her to live modestly) isn’t ashamed of using coupons and striving to get the best deal wherever she shops.
When she’s not busy saving the world from encroaching vampires — or, more often these days, being a mother to her two kids — the actor told Self magazine that she frequently uses coupons and regularly buys fish at Whole Foods only while it’s on sale. “I use coupons all the time. Why should you pay more for something that someone else is paying less for?” she proudly told the magazine.
It’s difficult to imagine the self-styled multi-hyphenate business mogul, supermodel, Harvard Business School grad, and creator of “smizing” as a simple-living, regular person. In reality, Tyra Banks learned a lot from her mother, who traveled with her and assisted in Banks’ early career as a model, instilling in her life lessons about making money last as long as possible.
In a 2008 interview with The New York Times, the model-turned-businesswoman openly described herself as “frugal.” As a kid, Banks confessed to saving a little bit from her weekly allowance and admitted that her only real indulgences these days are food (notably, trips to The Cheesecake Factory) and luxury toiletries (she’s been known to stock-pile fancy hotel soaps). Banks even admitted to Forbes that she often asks her accountant whether she can afford to buy something, which seems crazy for a woman worth an estimated $90 million.
He’s a member of two of the biggest rock bands of all time, but Dave Grohl still lives like a jobbing musician — albeit without traveling around the country in a rickety old van. Although his stints with Nirvana and the Foo Fighters have netted him a cool $225 million, Grohl is still fearful of spending too much, too fast.
In a 2003 interview (via Business Insider), Grohl confessed that, in spite of having plenty of money to live off, he’s “afraid to spend it.” The multi-instrumentalist and hugely popular rock singer is reportedly wary of ending up broke because he never got his high school diploma. The lack of a safety net makes Grohl cautious about his considerable wealth, particularly as he has a family to take care of (three kids to date). As long as the Foos continue selling out arenas worldwide, however, he has no real reason to worry about his career slowing down any time soon.
The old adage still applies, it would seem: money doesn’t buy you happiness. Maybe true happiness comes from good family values, state schooling, and playing it safe in case your career falls apart. If Buffy doesn’t want to pay more for her shopping than everyone else, why should we?
On the other side of the coin, if you are Johnny Depp, happiness is $30,000 a month worth of wine and a sweet cannon-firing for your friend’s ashes worth $3 million. To each, their own and all, but it has landed him in what’s being termed as “financial turmoil.”
So, when you eventually hit the big time and become a huge star, consider taking a page out of these celebs’ super-frugal, down to earth books and remain true to your roots. That, or go cannon shopping. Whatever you’re into.