At least once in your life - maybe even once a week or once a day for that matter - you have fantasized about coming into a lot of money. What would you do if you were worth millions or even billions? Believe it or not there are millionaires and billionaires among us who masquerade as relatively normal, run-of-the-mill people. Take a peek at some of the most frugal wealthy people in the world.

In Pictures: 6 Millionaire Traits That You Can Adopt

Warren Buffett
Millions of people read Buffett's books and follow his firm, Berkshire Hathaway's, every move. But the real secret to Buffett's personal fortune may be his penchant for frugality. Buffett, who is worth an estimated $47 billion, eschews opulent homes and luxury items. He still lives in a modest home in Omaha, Nebraska which he purchased for just $31,500 more than 50 years ago. Although he's dined in the best restaurants around the globe, given the choice he would opt for a good burger and fries accompanied by a cold cherry Coke. When asked why he doesn't own a yacht he responded "Most toys are just a pain in the neck." (Find out how he went from selling soft drinks to buying up companies and making billions of dollars. Read Warren Buffett: The Road To Riches.)

Carlos Slim
While most of the world is very familiar with Bill Gates, the name Carlos Slim rarely rings a bell. But it's a name worth knowing. Slim, who is a native of Mexico, was just named the world's richest billionaire – that's right, richer than the uber-famous Microsoft founder. Slim is worth more than $53 billion and while he could afford the world's most extravagant luxuries he rarely indulges. He, like Buffett, doesn't own a yacht or plane and he has lived in the same home for over 40 years.

Ingvar Kamprad
The founder of the Swedish furniture phenomenon Ikea struck success with affordable, assemble-it-yourself furniture. For Kamprad, figuring out how to save money isn't just for his customers, it's a high personal value. He's been quoted as saying "Ikea people do not drive flashy cars or stay at luxury hotels." That goes for the founder as well. He flies coach for business and when he needs to get around town locally he either takes the bus or will head out in his 15-year-old Volvo 240 GL.

Chuck Feeney
Growing up in the wake of The Depression as an Irish-American probably has something to do with Feeney's frugality. With a personal motto of "I set out to work hard, not get rich," the co-founder of Duty Free Shoppers has quietly become a billionaire but even more secretively given almost all of it away through his foundation, Atlantic Philanthropies. In addition to giving more than $600 million to his alma mater Cornell University, he has given billions to schools, research departments and hospitals.

Loath to spend if he doesn't have to, Feeney beats both Buffett and Kamprad in the donation category, giving out less grants than only Ford and the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundations. A frequent user of public transportation, Mr. Feeney flies economy class, buys clothes from retail stores, and does not wast money on an extensive shoes closet, stating "you can only wear one pair of shoes at a time". He raised his children in the same way; making them work the same normal summer jobs as most teens.

Frederik Meijer
If you live in the Midwest chances are good that you shop at Meijer's chain of grocery stores. Meijer is worth more than $5 billion and nearly half of that was amassed when everyone else was watching their net worth drop in 2009. Like Buffett he buys reasonably-priced cars and drives them until they die, and like Kamprad he chooses affordable motels when on travel for work. Also, like Chuck Feeney, rather than carelessly spending his wealth Mr. Meijer is focused on the good that it can provide to the community. (For more on the benefits of charity, read It Is Better To Give AND Receive.)

The Bottom Line
The dirty little secret of some of the world's wealthiest people is that they rarely act like it. Instead of over-the-top spending, they're busy figuring out how to save and invest to have that much more in the future. It's a habit you might want to consider in order to build up your own little storehouse of cash.

If you're wondering what's been happening in financial news, catch up by reading Water Cooler Finance: Zombies File Taxes, Dead Bills Rise.

Related Articles
  1. Mutual Funds & ETFs

    4 Mutual Funds Warren Buffet Would Buy

    Learn about four mutual funds Warren Buffett would invest and recommend to his trustee, and discover detailed analysis of these mutual funds.
  2. Stock Analysis

    Markets Are Tanking: Time to Buy Like Buffett

    Learn about three value stocks Warren Buffett holds in his portfolio. See how Buffett uses market declines to find good deals on stocks.
  3. Investing Basics

    3 Alternative Investments the Ultra-Rich Usually Own

    Learn about the ultra rich and what normally comprises their net worth; understand the top three alternative investments usually owned by the ultra rich.
  4. Credit & Loans

    5 Credit Cards For the Super Rich

    Understand the difference between an average credit card and an elite credit card for the wealthy. Learn about the top five credit cards for the super rich.
  5. Investing

    Procter & Gamble Restructures, Sheds 100 Brands

    All businesses face adversity, and Procter & Gamble is no exception. We take a look at recent developments affecting this global giant.
  6. Professionals

    4 Ways Companies Can Relieve Workplace Stress

    Workplace stress can cost companies tons of money in lost productivity and absenteeism. Some of that is out of their control, but often they are the cause.
  7. Personal Finance

    College Students are Failing Financial Literacy

    Financial trends among college students are a cause for concern, prompting a renewed emphasis on financial literacy.
  8. Retirement

    Why Some Celebs Say 'No Inheritance for My Kids'

    To some of the super rich, inherited wealth is not the ultimate gift, it's a burden. Here's how their children—as well as charities—stand to benefit.
  9. Entrepreneurship

    Top 3 Most Successful African Entrepreneurs

    Discover the educational backgrounds and entrepreneurial ventures of some of the most successful and well-known African entrepreneurs.
  10. Options & Futures

    Pick 401(k) Assets Like A Pro

    Professionals choose the options available to you in your plan, making your decisions easier.
  1. Why is the Cayman Islands considered a tax haven?

    The Cayman Islands is one of the most well-known tax havens in the world. Unlike most countries, the Cayman Islands does ... Read Full Answer >>
  2. Why is Andorra considered a tax haven?

    Andorra is one of many locations around the globe considered a tax haven because of its relatively lenient tax laws. However, ... Read Full Answer >>
  3. Under what circumstances would I require private wealth management?

    An investor who is a high-net-worth individual (HNWI) may require private wealth management services. HNWIs have unique financial ... Read Full Answer >>
  4. Which US cities have the highest number of high-income households?

    According to the most recent U.S. Census report on the geographic concentration of high-income households conducted in 2 ... Read Full Answer >>
  5. Why did Warren Buffett invest heavily in Coca-Cola (KO) in the late 1980s?

    Warren Buffett found Coca-Cola an attractive investment because it had a moat and was attractively valued. Buffett began ... Read Full Answer >>
  6. Why does Warren Buffett largely avoid investing in the technology sector?

    Warren Buffett has often said that he avoids investing in the technology sector because he does not like to own stocks in ... Read Full Answer >>

You May Also Like

Hot Definitions
  1. Real Estate Investment Trust - REIT

    A REIT is a type of security that invests in real estate through property or mortgages and often trades on major exchanges ...
  2. Section 1231 Property

    A tax term relating to depreciable business property that has been held for over a year. Section 1231 property includes buildings, ...
  3. Term Deposit

    A deposit held at a financial institution that has a fixed term, and guarantees return of principal.
  4. Zero-Sum Game

    A situation in which one person’s gain is equivalent to another’s loss, so that the net change in wealth or benefit is zero. ...
  5. Capitalization Rate

    The rate of return on a real estate investment property based on the income that the property is expected to generate.
  6. Gross Profit

    A company's total revenue (equivalent to total sales) minus the cost of goods sold. Gross profit is the profit a company ...
Trading Center
You are using adblocking software

Want access to all of Investopedia? Add us to your “whitelist”
so you'll never miss a feature!