The Discount Dozen: 12 celebrities who are frugal just like you
1. Eva Longoria
Her wedding to San Antonio Spurs point guard Tony Parker in 2007 reportedly cost $1.5 million, but Desperate Housewives star Eva Longoria knows the value of the dollar. After all, she scored a lot of freebies to give to her 200 guests, including Felicity Huffman, Sheryl Crow and Mario Lopez. For example, Van Cleef & Arpel gave away 18K yellow gold charm bracelets worth $700 each. Other companies that ponied up stuff in exchange for publicity included L'Oreal, Cole Haan and Bebe. Then there's the $2 million Longoria received from OK magazine for giving them a photo exclusive on the extravaganza. But then the frugal gene runs in her family. She says her dad would take her and her three siblings camping with no food. "He would tell us that we could live off the land," the 33-year-old told fans of The Oprah Winfrey Show. "I can skin a deer, a pig, a snake. . ."
Tyra Banks is well on her way to becoming Gen Y's Oprah Winfrey. The California native has parlayed a successful modeling career into a mini-media empire, which includes such hits as America's Next Top Model and The Tyra Banks Show.
Yet, despite a fortune estimated at $75 million, the 34-year-old is an avowed penny pincher. "I am frugal," she said in a June 1 New York Times Magazine profile. "I've always been this way. When I was young, my mom would give me my allowance, and I'd peel off a little each week and have some to spare. " Banks, whose culinary tastes runs toward Cheesecake Factory and who is known to stock up on hotel soap, is determined to grow her bankable empire and her bank account. Next up: a deal with Warner Brothers to develop more projects.
3. Sarah Jessica Parker
Sarah Jessica Parker is best known for playing Sex and the City's Carrie Bradshaw, a woman who would forgo food in order to afford her Manolo Blahnik shoes. But in real life, the 43-year-old isn't such a slave to fashion. In fact, she used to get sick from buyer's remorse and return items the next day. She even dresses her 5-year-old son, James, in only hand-me-down clothes. But then Parker knows what it's like to face adversity. Her family had such a hard time keeping their heads above water financially that they were on welfare for a time. Says Parker today, "Just because mommy and daddy are rich and famous, that doesn't mean he should ride the gravy train through life. . . . I want [James] to be normal."
4. Mick Jagger
After some 45 years as frontman of the Rolling Stones, Mick Jagger has amassed a fortune estimated to be more than $300 million. But Jagger, who won a scholarship to the prestigious London School of Economics, is well known for being tight-fisted. He reportedly pulled out of buying a painting by bandmate Ron Wood because the $140,000 price tag "scared him off."
He's so gun shy about spending his cash sometimes that his ex-wife, model Jerry Hall, once complained, "He always wanted me to pay for everything to do with the house and the children. He's generous with gifts and presents, but yeah, he's pretty tight with the day-to-day stuff." While Mick denied it, he does acknowledge that as a child of the 1950s, he was "taught to be frugal. We don't like to throw computers away as soon as they don't work -- apart from out of the window in frustration. We like cars to be repaired instead of junked."
5. Paul McCartney
Paul McCartney is worth more than $1 billion, despite a $48.7 million settlement with ex-wife Heather Mills, but he's not likely to advertise it. In fact, the ex-Beatle is known to prefer to save a penny rather than spend it. At a birthday party for Mills seven years ago, he made the guests pay for their drinks. He favors flying economy class and wearing non-designer duds even though a daughter is fashion designer Stella McCartney. He's so frugal that Stella reportedly called him "a tight bastard" for sending her and her three siblings to local state schools rather than posh private ones. Nor is he resting on his investments. McCartney continues to record and tour: he headlined Quebec City's 400th anniversary celebration.
6. Tobey Maguire
Don't let Tobey Maguire's youthful appearance deceive you: the 33-year-old knows where his money is. After seeing his price jump up to $26 million a picture thanks to three Spider-Man mega-hits, Maguire is firmly ensconced in the multi-millionaire's club. But judging from his clothes -- he's usually snapped wearing lived-in t-shirts and jeans -- he's not exactly Men's Vogue material. The first-time dad prefers it that way. "You know those Lotto winners, who win big and blow through all that money? That would never happen to me," says Maguire, who credits his poverty-stricken childhood as the impetus for his quest for financial security. "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."
7. Halle Berry
Halle Berry can make a fashion designer millions simply by wearing a gown on a red carpet. After all, she's one of the world's most photographed women. Still, this fashion icon would sooner hit the sales racks than fly to Paris for a couture fitting. Berry, whose mom struggled to raise her and her older sister after their father walked out when she was four, is an unabashed saver. "I am pretty frugal," say the twice-divorced Oscar winner and new mom. "I save a lot because I'm always worried about when this trip is going to stop. So I'm saving for that day so I can have a life that is secure and comfortable."
8. Jay Leno
To keep The Tonight Show at the top of the nighttime talk show heap, NBC pays host Jay Leno $27 million a year. Still, after 17 years, he's on his way out. But don't feel too badly for him. He's being actively courted by competitors like ABC and Fox, and will likely land an even bigger payday. Then there's the income he makes from appearances. Fortune magazine estimated in 2004 that he was bringing home about $15 million a year. Despite his multi-millionaire status, the only flashy thing about him is his collection of cars and motorcycles. "When I was a kid, I always had two jobs -- I had one job which the money went in the bank and the other job that I lived off of," he said back in 2004. "I still do that to this day. I have yet to touch a dime of my Tonight Show salary. I live off the money I make as a comedian...Maybe it comes from having parents who grew up during the Depression."
Yet, his penny-pinching ways got him into hot water with his writers during the writers' strike. While Conan O'Brian promised staffers who were pink-slipped by NBC that he would cover their salaries out of his own pocket, Leno only did so, and on a week-by-week basis, after being shamed by all the bad press.
9. Sarah Michelle Gellar
Growing up, money was tight at Sarah Michelle Gellar's house. It got tighter when her dad walked out when she was just six. Things are better now. In show business since she was four, the 31-year-old has been able to graduate from soap opera star to cult icon thanks to her seven-year run as Buffy the Vampire Slayer. And in recent years, she has been making some headway on the silver screen with such movies as The Grudge and Scooby-Doo. Despite all her success, the New York native remains careful about her money. "I take my reusable bag to Whole Foods so I get a discount," Sarah, who now goes by Sarah Michelle Prinze, told Self magazine in 2007. "I go to Bloomingdale's on double reward days. And I always print my dry cleaning coupons before I go." To her money is about security. "The main thing I want to do is make sure that I can take care of myself and my mother," she said in 2000.
10. Teri Hatcher
Teri Hatcher has been a Hollywood star for more than 20 years. The 43-year-old is currently on the ABC hit Desperate Housewives, and during the 1990s, she was Lois Lane on another ABC hit, Lois & Clark: The New Adventures of Superman. But there have been lean years in between. As she recounted in her memoir, Burnt Toast: And Other Philosophies of Life, she was a divorced single mom with self-esteem issues in a business that caters to the young. Luckily, she was never one of those celebrities who had to file for bankruptcy. She credits her childhood for her frugality. "I feel like your value system is created when you're a child and I am not sure it ever really changes," she has said in 2005. That same year, she told People magazine that she wasn't the type to splurge on cars or houses. "I drive my cars for 10 years until they have 100,000 miles on them." Her one indulgence: travel. "The only thing I really did was take a fantastic trip to Africa with my daughter."
11. Dave Grohl
He was in the one of the biggest bands of the 1990s. And soon after its demise -- when its frontman Kurt Cobain committed suicide -- ex-Nirvana drummer Dave Grohl formed another successful band, the Foo Fighters. But this hard-working music veteran does not lead the rock 'n roll life. Grohl, who has been married to Jordyn Blum for five years and welcomed daughter Violet in 2006, lives the typical life of a suburban dad. In fact, the jeans-and-t-shirt-wearing 39-year-old says the millions he's acquired remain, for the most part, untouched. "You can't take your lifestyle for granted," he said in a 2003 interview. "I've got tons of money, but I'm afraid to spend it. Knowing I don't even have a high school diploma to fall back on, I'm going to be really careful with what I've got." For example, he didn't buy his first BMW until he was 34. So while he has a large L.A. house with a recording studio, Grohl is not likely to end up bankrupt like some of his musical brethren.
12. Leonardo DiCaprio
After Titanic broke box office records in 1997, Leonardo DiCaprio was catapulted into the ranks of Hollywood's leading men. And his paycheck has reflected that since. According to Forbes, the 33-year-old is one of few actors who can get studios to pay him $20 million for R-rated dramas. As a result, he made $45 million last year. But other than shelling out $2.5 million for an island near Belize in 2005, the environmental activist tends to live on the cheap. "I don't pay lavish expenses," he has said. "I don't fly private jets. I still have only one car, and that's a Toyota Prius. I don't spend money on a lot." So whom is he saving it for? Charity! "Money is very important to me because it allows me the freedom to choose what I want to do as an actor and most importantly because I want to accumulate enough so that one day I can do something really great and beneficial for other people, for the environment or for children."