8 Penny-Pinching CEOs

DATE: March 27, 2013

According to, 86 percent of people who splurge on luxury toys like jets and jewelry are actually non-millionaires trying to look the part.

Sure, some billionaires fork out cash for enormous yachts and flashy cars, but some of the world’s richest individuals are CEOs who, while not exactly tightwads, care more about how their wealth is spent.

Carlos Slim

Carlos Slim The richest person in the world, Carlos Slim Helú, owns over 200 companies and is estimated to be worth $73 billion. Yet, the business mogul drives his own car (despite Mexico’s security issues) and buys clothes on sale at his own franchises.Slim also lives in the same six-bedroom house he has lived in for thirty years.

Warren Buffett

warren buffett Warren Buffett is legendary both for his wealth—$53.5 billion—and his frugality. He famously lives in the same house he bought in 1958 for $31,500. He avoids gaudy technology and luxuries because as he says, “Most toys are just a pain in the neck.”

Steve Ballmer

ballmer Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer drives a Ford Fusion Hybrid, despite his net worth of $15.2 billion.

John Caudwell

john caudwell Retired founder and CEO John Caudwell got rich off his British mobile phone empire. With a net worth of $2.6 billion, Caudwell does own a few toys like a helicopter and yacht, but he also cuts his own hair and buys his clothes off the rack. “I don’t need to spend money to bolster my own esteem,” he told Forbes.

Mark Zuckerberg

Mark Zuckerberg Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg—worth $13.3 billion—famously wears hoodies and sandals to work, but he also lives more casually than your average billionaire.Zuckerberg, whose Facebook profile highlights “minimalism” as a main interest, drives an Acura, ate at McDonald’s on his honeymoon and purchased his home for $7 million—downright thrifty when compared to the standards of fellow Silicon Valley leaders.

Ingvar Kamprad

ingvar Billionaire Swede and IKEA founder Ingvar Kamprad sets the standard for the company’s frugal culture. With a net worth of $3.3 billion, Kamprad drives a Volvo 240 GL 9, which he described as “nearly new,” though it’s now gaining on 20 years old.He also flies economy and avoids suits and high-end restaurants.

Tim Cook

Tim Cook Apple CEO Tim Cooklives in a modest four-bedroom condo in California that he bought for $1.9 million in 2010—not much, considering his nearly $400 million stock incentive.As Cook has said, “I like to be reminded of where I came from, and putting myself in modest surroundings helps me do that. Money is not a motivator for me.’

T. Boone Pickens

pickens Oil tycoon and CEO of BP Capital Management T. Boone Pickens is worth $1.2 billion and shops with a grocery list, carrying only the cash he needs.