Zooey Deschanel Never Pays Late Fees and 5 Other Smart Money Lessons From Celebrities
When you're Angelina Jolie and have Brad Pitt by your side, you can make anything look good.
That's why Angelina spent a measly $26 on a velvet dress at a thrift shop for a major movie premiere. She is a good example of taking charge of your finances: while raking in the big bucks as the face of an American fashion brand, St John, she saved by dropping tags at the thrift shop. (See also: The Surprisingly Frugal Lifestyles of 12 Famous Superheroes)
So crank up the Macklemore and Ryan Lewis, and let's learn some smart money lessons from six of our favorite celebrities.
1. Winona Ryder
If you think that a $26 dress is cheap, wait until you hear the price range for Winona Ryder. The star of Beetlejuice and Girl, Interrupted confesses to wearing $10 dresses to star-studded ceremonies. But that's not at all. In an interview with Red Magazine she admits that she wore the same dress from a 2005 film premiere to Sean Penn's Haiti gala in 2014. Winona wears a dress until it falls apart.
Smart Money Lesson: In her own words, "I know that's kind of a no-no in the fashion world, but why wear something just once if you love it?" Don't become a fashion victim and avoid buying new clothes every single season.
2. Zooey Deschanel
If you're making $9 million annually (including a cool $95,000 to $125,000 per episode of New Girl), you'd expect to get an invitation from the ultra exclusive American Express Centurion Card, aka "The Black Card." Well, not Zooey Deschanel. In court papers from her 2012 divorce with Death Cab for Cutie frontman Ben Gibbard, the actress/musician revealed that she has three credit cards and all with zero balance. Even more, two of her cards have a maximum credit line of $2,000 and one just $1,000. With a monthly budget of $500 for dining out, Zooey must be paying all meals with cash.
Smart Money Lesson: Have a credit card for emergency uses only. If you have to use it, pay the balance in full every month.
3. Tobey Maguire
Not just the ladies are frugal. For example, take the original Mr. Spiderman. While Tobey Maguire is estimated to have a net worth of $75 million, he is just comfortable wearing jeans and T-shirts. Google for non-gala pictures of him and all you will see are clothes that your neighbor down the street would wear. Tobey got his frugal mentality from his rough childhood. The star of The Great Gatsby confesses that his family lived on food stamps, used government medical insurance, and even had to wander into shelters every now and then. This explains why he is so structured in his spending and doesn't spend in frivolities.
Smart Money Lesson: Don't live beyond your means. Tobey explains his frugal philosophy: "I just never wanted to put myself in the position where my spending was so huge that I had to keep making movie after movie."
4. Mindy Kaling
The super funny comedienne is a great example of how to tame shopping addiction. Like plenty of people, Mindy loves to shop 'til she drops. She confesses to have even memorized her credit card number so that she can shop online anytime, anywhere up to three times a week. However, she keeps herself in check by forcing herself to return about 75% of what she buys. Also, she is a big believer in sharing clothes with her girlfriends. In her book, Is Everyone Hanging Without with Me?, she insists that best friends can borrow from each other anything in their closet, no matter how fancy. (See also: Refresh Your Wardrobe for $25 or Less)
Smart Money Lesson: If you have a shopping habit, kick it by returning clothes as much as possible and sharing cool clothes with your friends.
5. Kristen Bell
If somebody has the highest probability of leaving Hollywood and becoming the next host of Extreme Couponing, that has got to be actress Kristen Bell. On an interview with Conan O'Brien, she reveals: "I shop almost exclusively with coupons". Like most of us, Kristen is a major fan of big box retailers, especially Bed Bath & Beyond and is a major fan of its 20% discount coupon. Just the thought of saving $80 on a purchase puts Kristen in an ecstatic mood!
Smart Money Lesson: Whenever you need to shop, first look for coupons to maximize your savings.
6. Vincent Kartheiser
Another famous male celebrity is mindful of living on a budget is Vincent Kartheiser. Even though he plays an upper class slick ad salesman in Mad Men, Vincent is one of the 10% of Angelenos that relies only on public transportation. Yup, this big time actor doesn't own a car. He believes using public transportation is wonderful. "Instead of driving and being stressed out about traffic, you can work your scene, you can do your exercises or whatever on the bus. Everyone's got their own deal." Vincent is not alone: the average American household now owns fewer cars, returning to the levels of the early 1990s.
Smart Money Lesson: Consider consolidating into a single car and increasing your use of public transportation. You'll save on gas, create an opportunity to relax, and reduce your carbon footprint.
Any thrifty celebrities I've missed? Please share in comments!