Frugal and Famous (Infographic)

Sometimes I think it’s valuable to remember the distinction between real life and make-believe. Some of the most popular television characters don’t always demonstrate the best qualities; they’re irresponsible with how they treat themselves, their finances, or their bodies. I found this infographic really interesting because it shows that dichotomy between some famously not frugal characters and the real-life actors who play them. I think there’s a correlation between success and frugality—in these actors’ cases, it’s funny that they’ve gained so much success portraying characters so different from themselves in that way.

Check out just how these actors (all of whose net worth is in the millions) contrast the characters they play. It turns out living beyond your means is a lifestyle probably best contained to the small screen.

frugal and famous infographic


  1. Quite the comparisons and LOVED it. As we try to be more frugal, we tend to get caught up in these “fake” characters think they have the ultimate lives.

    I LOVE my frugalness and when someone compliments on something I’m wearing, which is always from a thrift/vintage/second hand store, I tell them where I got it and what I paid for things (my weird mind remembers those anal details). I always look “nice” and “trendy” and I get lots of questions about where I shop, etc.

    Awesome post!!

  2. Interesting graphic, I think the ‘frugal scenarios’ in this graphic portray the actors as ‘cheap’ rather than frugal.

    I believe there is a difference.

    1. Eva – Using product and then taking it back.
    2. Sarah – Questionable as to whether the glasses were stolen or not.
    3. Jeremy – Giving someone a product rather than money.

  3. Kristen Bell is another frugal celebrity. I saw a televised interview of her once where she said that she always buys restaurant gift certificates for a portion of their value on restaurants(dot)com and that she’s not afraid to use a coupon even though she gets some odd looks 🙂

  4. This was great! I think it’s easy to get caught up in characters on tv or in the movies and feel like you need to keep up to look put together. Not true!
    Another celeb that doesn’t spend a lot (but without a character that spends a lot) is Zooey Deschanel – according to ( she only spends 23% of her income each month!

  5. This post is a good reminder that actors are not their characters.

    I feel these examples of frugalness were poorly chosen. Eva wears dresses on the red carpet then returns it all the next day. Sarah steals movie props. I don’t think many servers would appreciate a DVD instead of money for their tip, as Jeremy left. DVD’s don’t help pay the bills.

    I don’t think any of these examples are what we should aspire to.

  6. Some of these stories where celebrities get something for nothing show the celebrity doing things that would be considered criminal, inconsiderate, or dishonest for a normal person.

    If a janitor or caterer took more than $4000 of crystal from a movie set, it would be called “felony theft”, not “enterprising”.

    In the USA, a restaurant server is paid less than minimum wage. The server relies on tips to make up the rest, and is taxed based on the government’s estimate of the money he or she “ought” to have earned based on the average income for restaurants of the same type. A video given in lieu of a tip might be worth money (if there’s a way to legally sell it), but if so the money earned from the video sale is also taxable income. The non-money tip may also hurt the restaurant owner, who is required by law to pay the server minimum wage when the tips fall short.

    A garment returned after it’s been worn hurts the retail clerk, who loses a commission, and the shop owner, who will be unable to sell the worn merchandise but who must still find a way to pay the clerk for the time he or she spent waiting on the customer.

    I can’t help but notice that in the case of the returned garment and the non-cash tip, and possibly the crystal as well, the person taking the financial hit most likely has a net worth far, far lower than the “frugal” celebrity who was cleverly enjoying something for nothing at the less wealthy person’s expense.

    For a normal person, “frugality” means not spending money we don’t have. For a celebrity, “frugality” appears to mean financing a higher standard of living at someone else’s expense, by seeing to it that you get the benefit of someone else’s resources and labor while lining up a less important person to take the financial hit.

      • The waiter got nipped! The retailers, however, I thought they lend things as long as the actor/actress mentions who designed it. It is still a valuable knowledge to know that they aren’t the high living big spenders that one assumes them to be.

  7. Loved the graphic. As an entourage fan, the piven vs. gold was well, golden! But sometimes reality is stranger than fiction.

  8. I agree that most of the celebrity examples posted actually define frugality as being exploitive of the less fortunate. So, what else is new?

  9. That’s brilliant work! I am working on an infographic myself and its really not easy to make it interesting/entertaining/informative all in one.

    Well done!

  10. I would question the motive behind extremely wealthy people being overtly Frugal? Do they genuinely want to save money or is it to make it appear they are in touch with the common person?

  11. I love your blog. Tons of great advice and you look much bigger than me, but I’d be honored if you could link up at least one of your posts on saving money or living frugal. After watching FOX business news I wanted to do something! The link up starts 8/1 bright and early and runs all month long. Hope to see you there. Sarah