A fat salary isn't the only way someone can strike it rich. Regardless of one's income level, people who live below their means, invest wisely, and live modestly are on the path to real wealth. Here are five frugal habits that many of the upper class have adopted to build long-lasting wealth and financial independence:
Drive a modest car. Your car should only serve the purpose of getting you safely and comfortably from point A to point B--nothing more. When you pull up to a stoplight in an expensive car, you might impress a stranger. However, don't let the price tag of your car define your character or image, because at the end of the day most people could care less what type of car you drive. Let Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg, who drives a modest $30,000 Acura TSX entry-level sedan, be your role model on this one.
Buy a modest house. Warren Buffett famously still lives in the Omaha, Neb., home he bought back in 1958 for $31,500. Take Buffett's cue and don't overwhelm yourself with a large monthly mortgage payment. Buy a modest and comfortable home and use the money you save to build your savings and retirement fund.
Don't carry wads of possible. Try to avoid traveling with a wallet packed with cash. According to Bankrate.com, 86 percent of people who spend cash on luxuries like expensive cars, jewelry, and electronics are non-millionaires trying to act the part by purchasing luxury brands. Instead, follow the example of oil mogul T. Boone Pickens, who famously shops with a grocery list and only carries the amount of cash he needs to make purchases.
Don't pay full price. A great way to keep more of your money is by not paying full price on anything. Hilary Swank, who has an estimated net worth of $40 million, is commonly seen using coupons at the grocery store. Michelle Obama often opts to shop at Target or H&M rather than high-end department stores. A great way to build wealth is to have a frugal mindset and use the money you save on consumer goods to build your investments and savings accounts.
Have an action mentality. Almost all self-made millionaires have one thing in common: They are people of action. They don't sit around feeling sorry for themselves waiting for something good to happen to them, as opposed to the people who I would say have the "lottery mentality." People of action take appropriate risks, are constantly looking to improve themselves, and are addicted to knowledge, as it is the best way to gain a competitive advantage in life's financial endeavors.
Truly rich people are those who take their income and turn it into wealth by investing wisely, saving, and living frugally. People who take their income and try to use it to support an unsustainable lifestyle are those who end up in debt and are unable to retire on their terms. When it comes to money and finances, it all boils down to choices and personal responsibility. Which road are you going to take?
Kyle James owns Rather-Be-Shopping.com, which endorses frugal living and saving as much money as possible with online coupons, printable coupons, and personal finance tips.