15 Millionaire Athletes You’d Never Guess Are Frugal – They ‘Live Like They’re Broke’

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It’s understandable to imagine that athletes live lavish lives. Professional football, soccer, hockey, basketball, or baseball players can get paid a lot. 

 One could use that kind of money to buy a mansion on a private island or a fleet of luxury vehicles.

 Some talented individuals live that lifestyle, but a smaller percentage go against expectations. A few of these pros are pretty frugal. Here are some notable frugal athletes.

1. Aaron Rodgers

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Image Courtesy MPH Photos and Shutterstock

Some might say that Aaron Rodgers is one of the best quarterbacks in the NFL. He’s a Super Bowl Champion and is making the money that could afford him a lavish lifestyle. 

That’s not what Rodgers seems to want, though. It seems he’s happy living a modest lifestyle. He does a lot of his work at home, like taking care of the lawn instead of paying someone. His house is pretty tiny compared to some of his teammates. 

Rodgers doesn’t go to expensive grocery stores but rather to his local grocery store. He doesn’t go to fine restaurants where people might spend hundreds of dollars. Instead, Rodgers prefers casual restaurants. There’s no doubt the money he’s making will last him for a long time. 

2. Daniel Bryan

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Image Courtesy Kathy Hutchins and Shutterstock

Wrestle lovers probably know this name since he was a former World Heavyweight Champion and one of the headliners for WrestleMania. Those who follow professional wrestling know that becoming a headliner for WrestleMania isn’t an easy feat. 

Bryan married Brie Bella, another big name in the wrestling world and another person in his household who gets paid well.

Bryan’s career wasn’t as long as other wrestlers, which is unfortunate since he did sustain an injury. 

Still, while he was wrestling, the man could amass a good chunk of cash. He doesn’t live in a mansion, and his home is pretty modest. He probably feels good about that since his career slowed down suddenly.

When Bryan gets a gift, he saves the wrapping paper if he’s able to so that he can reuse it. 

3. Alfred Morris

Those who follow professional football know Morris. Morris entered the NFL world back in 2012. He was a sixth-round pick, which is a big deal. 

When he got picked, he could have lived the life most people imagine athletes of his caliber would live. Players like Morris would start spending like there’s no tomorrow. Morris didn’t do that. 

He continued to live modestly, much more modestly than some of his peers. He didn’t change; he stayed true to himself. 

One peculiar thing about Morris is that he still keeps his 1991 Mazda. It was the vehicle he had when he entered the sport professionally. The car only cost him two dollars. He purchased it from a pastor, and he’s been maintaining it ever since. That vehicle alone shows folks how modest Morris has been living. 

4. Darrius Heyward-Bey

Darrius Heyward-Bey is the wide receiver for the Pittsburgh Steelers. Yes, his instincts for the game are impeccable, but his financial instincts are impressive, too. 

He’s been earning millions since he was drafted in 2009 and saving a lot of it. Darrius sticks to a strict allowance or budget that he and his mother worked on. 

Darrius and his mother grew up economically strapped, which helped him become a wiser person. He knows that it’s not easy to earn money, so now that he has some, he must be more diligent.

One thing he does is cancel his football season cable access when he’s playing since he won’t be home looking at it. He says he keeps things as simple as possible; he invests in stocks and pays his taxes.

5. Joe Flacco

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Joe Flacco made it big in the NFL. He won a Super Bowl and was a Super Bowl MVP in 2013. He’s an asset to his team and the sport with a contract for $120 million.

Many people with that kind of cash would probably start splurging, but that’s not what Flacco is doing. He’s saving a lot of his money, and one low-cost thing he does with his cash is going to Mcdonald’s. He’s even been spotted by fans while eating there.

6. Rob Gronkowski

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Image Courtesy Debby Wong and Shutterstock

Rob Gronkowski plays for the New England Patriots. He made about $8 million for the 2018 season. 

He’s one of the highest-paid tight ends in the league, which says a lot. The man is 29 years of age and lives a modest lifestyle, even though he doesn’t have to.

He’s been doing so well that he hasn’t touched the signing bonus he got or the NFL contract money. He’s been living off his endorsement cash, meaning he saves the rest of the money he’s been making. 

The man is so frugal that he rarely spends money on clothes. When he does buy shoes or clothes, he wears them down until they’re rags. He wears his favorite pair of jeans for a week before switching to something else.

7. LeBron James

One of the biggest names in basketball is on this list.

The basketball player’s fame went beyond the sport. By all accounts, LeBron’s average net worth is worth more than $300 million, which is quite a considerable amount of cash. 

There’s no doubt that this kind of cash could purchase most of LeBron’s dreams and desires. Folks might expect that he would buy a sports vehicle or maybe one of those luxury vehicles from Europe, but he drives his little Kia. The man even bikes to practice, saving on gas and helping the environment. 

Instead, LeBron prefers to invest in income-producing assets from wellness, movies, restaurants, and sports ownership to become the best businessman in the NBA today.

8. John Urschel

John Urschel is another person to mention because he’s striving to live financially wise. Since he began his career in the NFL, Urschel’s goal was to make sure he lives a comfortable life when he retires from the NFL.

Everyone knows that a career in the sport is short. One sign that Urschel lives sensibly is the vehicle he owns. It’s nothing but a simple Nissan Versa, which is pretty modest, especially compared to the cars his teammates drive. 

Urschel doesn’t spend too much money. He spends time at MIT during the off-season, improving his understanding of mathematics. There’s no telling how Urschel plans to use his learning skills. Maybe he wants to budget better, or perhaps he’s thinking about what he might do after his NFL career is over. 

9. Jordy Nelson

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Image Courtesy Allison Herreid and Shutterstock

This guy is making millions playing for the Green Bay Packers. He signed a contract not too long ago worth $39 million, which is a significant amount. 

If Nelson were like other players, this amount of cash probably wouldn’t last, but Nelson is an intelligent man. He is working at his family farm, even though he makes this money; that shows his dedication to his family. The cash he’s making doesn’t affect him. 

Sometimes, people who make this kind of cash forget what hard labor looks like. Nelson knows hard work and hasn’t stopped being a helping hand to his family. Nelson sometimes works the farm when he’s injured, which shows the world how much he values hard work. 

10. Bryce Harper

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Bryce Harper isn’t making the money other players make on this list because he’s still relatively young and inexperienced. However, he’s still making a few million. 

He saves the little he makes. Maybe Harper is pragmatic since he hasn’t landed that huge contract yet, or he’s just frugal. 

One thing he’s most proud about is his deal with Chipotle. The baseball star loves going to this restaurant where he doesn’t have to spend much money. He loves going there so much that the restaurant recognized him and is now giving him free burritos for life. 

Harper was happy about this, and it’s a similar deal as Bonner with the sneakers. There’s no telling how frugal Harper is being, but he’s excited about saving a little cash on food for life.

11. Kirk Cousins

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A man playing for Washington, making about $20 million a year, isn’t expected to buy a busted old van, yet that’s what he did. 

The person is Kirk Cousins, and he purchased the vehicle from his grandmother. Kirk could have a pretty lavish lifestyle, but he opts to stay simple. 

During the off-season, Kirk doesn’t spend money on living expenses; he prefers to head to his parent’s house and live in their basement. 

12. Prince Amukamara

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Image Courtesy Debby Wong and Shutterstock

Prince Amukamara is royalty; he comes from a Nigerian royal bloodline, yet most people wouldn’t know that primarily because of his spending habits. Amukamara has been playing for the New York Giants as a cornerback for some time, and he’s still considered a rookie. 

He thinks that one big mistake rookies make is spending too much money, which is something he wasn’t going to do. Amukamara took his time looking for a deal on his SUV. 

He saved thousands by visiting a couple of dealerships and paying cash to save money. He prefers to spend money on things he needs rather than things he wants. He purchases the priciest meal from In-and-Out, which is about $10 or less if he isn’t that hungry that day.

13. Daniel Norris

He’s a famous sports star who recently signed a $2 million bonus to join the Blue Jays, so he has money to burn, but he doesn’t do that.

He lives in his camper van when he isn’t pitching during the off-season. It’s not even an expensive camper, just a modest Volkswagen camper van that cuts his living expenses significantly. 

Many people would be surprised to see him living in a van instead of a mansion. Like most homeowners, he doesn’t even have many gadgets since his living space is tiny. 

14. Antonio Cromartie

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When Antonio Cromartie was drafted into the NFL, he spent like there was no tomorrow. The man spent $5 million on homes, cars, and jewelry. 

It didn’t seem like he cared about his spending until he realized the checks would stop coming when he retired. The life of an NFL player is short. 

Once he figured this out, he changed his attitude about money and how he spends it. Almost overnight, he started saving like crazy. He fully funded his retirement account. He knows he’ll be fine if he lives till 100. He has enough cash to take care of himself and his family, giving everyone a comfortable life. 

Cromartie has taken his life lessons a step further. He now teaches young athletes how to avoid money mistakes like those he made early on in his career.

15. Rod Smith

Rod Smith is a big name for anyone that follows the Denver Broncos, where he played for a long time before retiring.

Some folks that retire from a professional sport don’t have a great retirement. Much of their cash is gone since they spent too much of it during the height of their careers. But that’s not what Rod Smith did. The most significant expense he made during his career was his home, and it was pretty modest compared to his teammates. 

That’s not all, though. Smith also made it a point to never spend money on expensive restaurants, clothes, or jewelry. To Smith, the most important thing was to look good in the field and to have a lovely house. 

Everything else he considered a waste of money, and he didn’t want to waste his cash. Thanks to his spending habits, he’s now living a very comfortable retirement life.


Some of the most famous athletes are billionaires yet don’t like spending money. They all do it for different reasons and ways, but the outcome is the same. They save more than they consume and invest the difference.

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John Dealbreuin

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