What do millionaires spend their money on? The average millionaire spends his or her money on expensive cars, real estate, watches, boats, and entertainment. Learn the secrets to how millionaires spend their money by reading this book.

Millionaires have certain habits that set them apart from other people. To put it in simple terms–They don’t make any financial mistakes. Millionaires know how to spend their money, and they understand the importance of saving for the future. They make daily habits out of things like eating breakfast and exercising, instead of cutting corners when it comes to something seemingly insignificant like eating cereal for lunch, which costs half as much as eating out at a restaurant.

What do millionaires do with their money?

When it comes to investment strategies, self-made millionaires were more likely to add equity investments, while those who were born wealthy typically had more real estate investments, according to the study. Diversifying those investments is key among many millionaires.

Millionaires put their money in a variety of places, including their primary residence, mutual funds, stocks and retirement accounts. Millionaires focus on putting their money where it is going to grow. They are careful not to invest large sums into items that will depreciate. A car for everyday driving, for example, will most likely lose value over time.

The key for most millionaires is to save money before spending it. No matter how much their annual salary may be, most millionaires put their money where it will grow, usually in stocks, bonds, and other types of stable investments. 

Today we are looking at findings from my first 100 millionaire interviews.

And we get to talk about spending! Yay!

After I had completed several interviews, a reader suggested asking millionaires what they like to spend money on. After all, we need to enjoy some of our money while we’re earning, saving, and investing, don’t we?

Let’s Talk Groceries

Look, we all need to eat to survive. And if we don’t want to blow the budget every month by eating out, we’ve got to shop for our groceries and make our meals at home. Your average millionaire does not have their own live-in chef. This can only mean that they, too, go to the grocery store, meal plan, and even save money with  . . . coupons. Yup, millionaires clip coupons too.

In The National Study of Millionaires, we found that more than one-third (36%) of millionaires surveyed spend less than $300 each month on groceries, almost two-thirds (64%) spend less than $450, and less than one in five millionaires (19%) spend more than $600 on groceries. The study even breaks down grocery expenses by region, area, household size, net worth, employment status and age.

millionaire grocery spending habits

You would think that your carefree attitude would increase along with your net worth. But that’s not reality.

  • Millionaires in the $1–1.99 million range spend $417 per month on groceries.
  • Millionaires in the $2–2.99 range spend $27 less, or $390 per month.
  • Millionaires in the $3–3.99 range spend $361 per month.
  • Millionaires in the $4–4.99 range spend $388 per month.
  • And millionaires whose net worth is over $5 million spend the most: $505 per month.

Check out those numbers! Those with a net worth of over $5 million spend only $88 more than those worth $1 million. Even the millionaires with the highest net worth are still spending less than the average American family. Millionaires are onto something with this spending less and saving more business.

Travel

This was the overwhelming favorite with 60% of millionaires mentioning it. It also accounted for 36% of the total mentions.

This result is probably not a shocker to most people, especially those who read the series, since it comes up so often.

That said, even I didn’t expect it to win by this much.

But it makes sense. People like to travel in general and millionaires certainly have the funds to do so.

Let’s hear why millionaires like to spend on travel.

We’ll begin with this from millionaire 50:

We love to give each other experiences, not presents.

Our big splurge last year was to fly to Colorado, land at the highest airport in the country, Leadville, spend a week with friends hiking and biking in Breckenridge.

We then took a flying, day trip to Torrington, WY to experience the total solar eclipse. Two bucket list items in one trip.

Sounds like fun, right? Colorado is awesome and I like Breckenridge in particular.

Here’s another from millionaire 70:

Vacation is my big splurge.

I take a vacation every 3 months and I like to stay at really nice hotels across the Mexico, Caribbean and Hawaii islands.

I refuse to short myself on vacation time or accommodations.

I can really identify with the quality comment. I would rather go on one nice vacation than two where I had to stay in a hostel.

I don’t need to stay at the Ritz (and wouldn’t prefer it anyway), but do like the place we stay to be nice.

Next is this comment from millionaire 77:

I love traveling. I spend about $45k a year just on trips.

I love going to a new country, learning about a new culture, meeting interesting people on my trips and, of course, the beautiful beaches!

I love a good beach myself!

Perhaps I’ll get up to $45k spending on travel myself one day, but I suspect that $20k is more my limit.

Here’s a different take from millionaire 78:

We love cruises — in fact, the header image on my website is a photo I took of the ocean from a cruise we were on. I did mention that we’re naturally frugal though and it comes into play with our cruises as well.

We don’t just pick one and go. We dig around to find a really good deal, but we always get a balcony (once you go balcony, you can’t go back!).

We’ll find a cheap flight and stay at a cheap hotel the night before. We don’t buy any upgrades on the ship and very little in the ports. But we do love the experiences and will go to restaurants in the ports and eat and drink to our heart’s content.

It’s a balance that works for us and we never feel like we’re missing out. However, it’s something that might not work for everyone and that’s OK … to each his own!

This blends both travel and the desire to get a “good deal” which I can support 100%!

We’ve been on three cruises and like them a lot as well. I’m thinking a fourth might be in our near future.

And here’s a final thought from millionaire 95:

Vacations. In the last 15 years I have probably spent $20K-$50K a year on family vacations. My kids have been to over 35 countries and 5 continents.

Great times, experiences and memories.

The memories are priceless. Our trips are always among the most discussed memories in our family.

Let’s Talk Restaurants

To the average person, a millionaire could just walk into a restaurant and pay for everyone’s meals without blinking an eye, right? Come to think of it, they could probably find the owner and make an offer on the restaurant itself—in straight cash! But instead of making these extravagant purchases, the average millionaire is actually going out to eat and spending way less than we would ever think.

If you haven’t caught on yet, these millionaires are frugal with their money. They worked hard for their money, and they’re not going to spend all their hard-earned dollars in one place.

On average, Americans spend $3,365 per year on eating out.3 That’s more than $280 per month! The average millionaire spends $267 monthly on eating out.4 And if they use coupons, it goes down to $222.

How Millionaires Spend Their Money

We’ll give you a second to digest that. Yup—millionaires do actually use coupons when they go out to eat too! Who said the love for bargains has to end when you’re rich?

 Cars

Pretty stereotypical that millionaires love their cars, huh?

But there’s a big drop off here from the previous two responses. Only 15% of millionaires mentioned cars.

Let’s begin our comments with a response most people would probably expect when they hear “millionaire” and “cars.”

Here are thoughts from millionaire 39:

I have a Ferrari, Porsche and old Corvette.

My philosophy is to enjoy my cars now because when I retire I will get rid of the exotic cars (keeping the old Corvette) as they do drive up my monthly expenses.

And another from millionaire 58:

I love German cars and always have 2 for myself.

I’m wondering what someone does with multiple cars? Drive them on different days? As it is, I only drive my car once a week or so these days!

What’s the point of wealth if you can’t treat yourself? From millionaire 67:

In addition, after driving a small import for about 14 years, I recently paid cash for my dream car: a domestic, convertible sports car.

Finally, here’s more of what ESI Money readers would come to expect from a millionaire car owner — having a great car but buying right and making it last. From millionaire 99:

Luxury cars … however, I keep them for a very long time and buy them pre-owned.

My rule of thumb is to get a vehicle 3-5 years old at about 50% the original MSRP.

I currently own a luxury SUV (16 years old) and a luxury car (11 years old). Together, they are still worth about $30k.

I normally pay cash for my vehicles, but I did get a 5 year loan on the car because the rate was 1.49% (paid it off this year).

My next vehicle will probably be a pre-owned Tesla and I will probably downsize to just one vehicle.

I can appreciate a good car, I just don’t think I’d like to own one. I’d be worried someone with an older car like me would ding it.

Wine

As promised, we’re now coming to wine.

Some say it’s hard to eat a great meal without a great wine, so you’d kind of expect this to be high on the list.

That said, only 9% of millionaires mentioned wine as a splurge.

Millionaire 48 listed it with the following:

I secretly would like to own a large wine cellar. That can become a very expensive hobby but we are trying to keep it in check by keeping it to one bottle a week and a few special occasions a year.

Good food and good wine are our secret splurge.

Millionaire 49 is a wine collector:

I have approximately 50 bottles of wine (nothing too expensive, I bought all of this while visiting wineries during our travels).

And finally a more frugal response from millionaire 85:

I enjoy the taste of good wine, and I do splurge on expensive bottles now and then.

I also like to save it and let it mature in my full size wine refrigerator.

Saving, aging, and anticipating is part of the fun, and it keeps me from drinking it too often which is good for both my health and my pocketbook.

I’m not a wine drinker but I’m sure many of you can relate to these thoughts.

Clothes

Surprised by this one? I go back and forth whether I expected this one or not.

Only 7% of millionaires mentioned clothes, so it’s not a big percentage of the responses.

Millionaire 41 left the following comment:

I also splurge on clothes, partly because of my management type job, partly because I like cute shoes!

And millionaire 79 agrees:

I love buying new clothes, especially when they’re driven by losing weight! Wearing a new suit to work with a new shirt and tie is exhilarating.

Uh, OK, we will have to agree to disagree.

Wearing a suit and tie anywhere is not exhilarating to me, but this is coming from a guy who wears shorts and athletic gear most of the year, so take my comments with a grain of salt. 

Other splurges

Here’s where we get to see a bit of personality/diversity in the millionaire ranks.

All the other items are:

  • Art/art supplies
  • Bikes
  • Boats
  • Books
  • Concerts
  • Dark chocolate
  • Firearms
  • Gardening
  • Golf
  • Home
  • Motorcycles
  • Outdoor gear
  • Skiing
  • Sporting events
  • Sports
  • Tech
  • Watches

Conclusion

A Millionaire is not what you think. Millionaires are not all flashy people with cars, boats, and multiple homes across the globe. The reality is that many millionaires lead pretty simple lives.

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