Savers vs Spenders: These Pro Athletes Spend Their Money Very Differently
Across many professional sports, athletes earn a lot of money. For those coming from humbler origins, the newfound wealth can be exciting – but it can also lead to lavish spending that goes far above one’s means.
Some blow through their money buying mansions and luxury cars, while others realize that careers in sports are often short-lived and that their earnings need to last. Which ones are spenders, and which ones are savers?
Spender: Floyd Mayweather Jr.
Mayweather Jr. is the epitome of a spender – but, with an estimated net worth of $750 million, he has the wiggle room to splurge. Those who follow the sports are constantly reminded that even in retirement, Mayweather Jr. still makes it rain.
The boxer has a fleet of luxury cars at his disposal and even owns a private jet of his own. He also lives in a mansion in Las Vegas, where he loves to gamble and put large sums of money on the line with sports betting.
Saver: Jordy Nelson
After spending a decade in the NFL as a wide receiver (primarily for the Green Bay Packers), Nelson retired after the 2018 season. He earned nearly $60 million in that time, but it’s safe to say that a lot of that money is still in the bank.
He was known to fly into Milwaukee rather than Green Bay when going home because the flights were cheaper at the further airport. This family man also puts in long hours on his farm, even though he could afford to hire help.
Spender: Tom Brady
Brady has earned over $200 million playing in the NFL, and he’s still playing today after two decades on the field. Even so, he’s not the top earner in his household; his supermodel wife, Gisele Bündchen, takes that prize.
Knowing this, it makes sense that the couple is living the high life. The husband and wife also own luxury homes in Brookline, Massachusetts, Los Angeles, and New York City as well as a fleet of Aston Martins, Cadillacs, and Audis
Saver: Daniel Norris
Norris, a pitcher for the Detroit Tigers, made approximately $1.3 million during the 2019 season, on top of a $2 million signing bonus he was first drafted back in 2011. Most of that money went straight to the bank and stayed there.
Despite his wealth, he has lived in a humble Volkswagen camper during off-seasons. He also reportedly attempts to live on less than $1K per month and only deposits $800 into his account at a time.
Spender: Tiger Woods
When the PGA was struggling, a young Tiger Woods almost single-handedly brought golf back into the sports spotlight. He has made a lot of money in the process, from winnings as well as endorsement deals.
The world’s best-known golfer certainly knows how to spend. Woods once bought a luxurious $40 million property in Florida, only to tear the house down to the ground and rebuild a new one in its place.
Saver: Ryan Kerrigan
Defensive linemen who are able to get to the quarterback are extremely valued by NFL teams. That’s why the Redskins (now called the Washington Football Team) signed Ryan Kerrigan for a $57.5 million contract in 2015.
Despite earning so much, Kerrigan made sure to save a lot of that money. He shared an apartment with a childhood friend as opposed to living in an ostentatious mansion, and he drives a used Chevy Tahoe rather than a sports car.
Spender: Chad Johnson
Johnson, known equally for his antics and his skill, enjoyed the spotlight so much so that he changed his last name to Ochocinco as an ode to his jersey number. The wide receiver made nearly $50 million during his playing days.
One of the most money-draining purchases Johnson made was on his “super-truck”, which cost him nearly $100K to customize. However, he ended up selling it after realizing it only got seven miles per gallon of gas.
Saver: Kawhi Leonard
NBA champion Leonard continued to drive a 2007 Chevy Tahoe, even after earning millions of dollars playing basketball. In fact, he inked a whopping $94 million contract and that still didn’t sway him to splurge on a new car.
As he once told Sports Illustrated, the vehicle runs well and it’s paid off in full. That’s good enough for Leonard, as he had no desire to trade in the trustworthy Tahoe for something a bit flashier.
Spender: Cristiano Ronaldo
Since soccer is the most popular sport in the entire world, the biggest stars earn a sizable chunk of money. Ronaldo is one of the best to ever play, and he has a huge salary to go along with multiple endorsement deals.
Whenever he’s seen out in public, it’s easy to see Ronaldo’s wealth. He’s well known for his luxury cars, huge diamond earrings, and stylish name-brand wardrobe that make him stick out in just about any crowd.
Saver: Rob Gronkowski
Before he retired for the first time, Gronkowski was one of the best tight ends in football, earning over $50 million even before coming back to reunite with Tom Brady in Tampa Bay. Somehow, Gronkowski hasn’t spent any of that money.
“Gronk” leveraged his personality to get several sponsor deals and has chosen to live solely off that endorsement money. He has also said that he almost never buys new clothes or shoes until his old ones are falling apart.
Spender: Michael Jordan
One of the most recognizable people on this planet, Jordan became a billionaire thanks to his incredible basketball skills. His talent attracted endorsement and movie deals, including the Air Jordan brand and the movie Space Jam.
According to one CBS report, Jordan purchased a personalized private jet for $30 million. It’s called the MJ-G550, and it has a prominent Air Jordan symbol on it as well as a custom elephant print design.
Saver: Kirk Cousins
Cousins, the quarterback for the Minnesota Vikings, has made his money in different ways than some of his peers. He became a free agent after playing in Washington, then proceeded to sign a $90 million, fully guaranteed deal with his current team.
If Cousins continues to live a frugal lifestyle, that money will never run out. When he played for Washington, he stayed with his parents during the off-season and drove an old GMC van rather than a luxury car.
Spender: Mike Tyson
Tyson retired from boxing years ago, only to recently announce a comeback at the age 54. However, his legacy and personality already bring money in – the cash earned from going into the ring is just an added bonus.
He famously purchased three tigers, one of which appeared in The Hangover with him. Each animal cost him $100K upfront and required care that costs thousands of dollars every year, but that hasn’t stopped him from spending.
Saver: Daniel Bryan
Bryan was often a headlining act throughout his WWE tenure, and in turn, he earned millions of dollars in the ring. Like many wrestlers, he worked on the independent circuit for years before finding his big break.
During those days before the fame, Bryan had to pinch pennies just to make it by. Since then, he has carried over some of his old habits, which include reuse gift wrapping paper as many times as possible.
Spender: John Daly
Daly could crush a golf ball further than most professionals. However, he also had a careless attitude that rubbed a lot of people the wrong way, which was fueled by his gambling, drinking, and smoking problems.
According to his autobiography, Daly claims that he lost between $50-60 million gambling. In 2005, after winning $750K in a golf tournament, he immediately went to Las Vegas and lost more than $1.5 million playing $5K slot machines.
Saver: Serena Williams
Williams is arguably the greatest female tennis player to ever play the game. She has won more than 20 Grand Slam singles titles, four Olympic gold medals, and has made approximately $100 million in career prize money.
When she scored her first $1 million payday, Williams deposited it all in the bank. She made that decision after learning from past financial mistakes earlier, although they proved not to be the end of the world for her.
Spender: Odell Beckham Jr.
Odell Beckham Jr. made a name for himself in the NFL with one of the most memorable one-handed catches when started with the New York Giants. Most of the time when he’s out and about, Beckham Jr. is decked out in designer clothing and adorned with diamonds and gold.
He has found himself with more time in his suits and not in uniform the last couple seasons after missing time in the 2020 and 2021 seasons because of a knee injury. In November 2021, the wide receiver’s father posted a video on Instagram showing his son not getting passed to, while Lebron James tweeted #FreeOBJ. The Cleveland Browns excused him from practice shortly after, as it looks like he will no longer be a member of the team.
Spender: Dennis Rodman
Outside of being a five-time NBA Champ as part of the Chicago Bulls, Rodman is perhaps best known for his antics outside the court. He rocks colorful hair and tattoos, once dated Madonna, and has found a friend in North Korean dictator Kim Jong-un.
Rodman spent millions on a unique heavy metal record collection that reportedly takes up two-thirds of the space in his $8.7 million home. He loves his collection so much that he once claimed he would sell a kidney to avoid selling it.
Saver: LeBron James
James is one of the highest-paid players in the NBA, proving himself to be one of the best to ever play the game. As a result, he has received several huge endorsement deals, one of which is a lifetime contract with Nike.
However, James certainly doesn’t spend like he doesn’t have a care in the world, with some of his teammates stating that he won’t pay for premium streaming music subscriptions or even mobile data. He has also been known to fly business class.
Spender: Caroline Wozniacki
Tennis player Wozniacki shocked her fans and competitors when she announced her retirement at a relatively young age. She earned over $25 million during her playing days and is worth nearly $200 million overall.
Instead of spending time on the court, she decided to fulfill a childhood dream of buying a red Ferrari. She believes that as long as you’re not doing any long-term financial damage, then it’s fine to reward yourself now and then.
Saver: Jeremy Lin
Lin didn’t disappoint while playing for the New York Knicks, piling up crazy stats and even carrying his team to some wins. Being of Asian descent, he really stood out as a true underdog story and he accrued millions of fans all over the world.
Before he signed his first major contract, Lin would regularly sleep on a teammate’s couch. He didn’t let the overnight fame get to his head, though, as he went on to rent very normal apartments and bought all of his furniture from IKEA.
Spender: Gilbert Arenas
Unfortunately, Arenas will likely be remembered for having a gun in the locker room than for his playing time in the NBA. His career would’ve been much longer and he would’ve made even more money had that not happened.
While he was active, Arenas burned through much of his earnings. Some of the purchases made during his career included insanely expensive train sets, luscious landscaping, and even a shark tank in his home.
Saver: Trey Burke
Selected ninth overall in the 2013 NBA draft by the Utah Jazz, Burke literally became a millionaire overnight. But even with the lucrative contract, he chose to receive an allowance of around only $5K per month.
In hindsight, the move proved to be a smart decision, as he was demoted to the D-League while a member of New York Knicks. However, Burke worked hard and managed to claw his way back into the league thereafter.
Spender: Deuce McAllister
McAllister is one of the most beloved figures among New Orleans Saints football fans. He was a member of the famous 2010 team that won the Super Bowl, and he’s also earned a spot in the Saints Hall of Fame.
Upon retirement, he banked on his popularity in Louisiana, which help him succeed in other business endeavors. McAllister opened a restaurant and a car dealership in New Orleans – unfortunately, they both fizzled.
Saver: Giovani Bernard
Running backs are some of the most valuable players on an NFL team, yet they aren’t paid the most and their careers are usually short. While the best earn a lot if they keep injuries to a minimum, many are done after just a few years.
Bernard, a back for the Cincinnati Bengals, has defied odds and has played in the league for nearly a decade. Oddly enough, he still lives in a small apartment and drives a used minivan – no doubt to save once his playing days have ended.
Spender: Lionel Messi
Messi is right up there with Ronaldo when it comes to international superstar soccer players. He has made enough money over the years to make almost any kind of purchase he wants, whenever he wants to.
His nearby neighbors couldn’t afford their homes and offered to sell them to him. After initially refusing, he eventually gave in and bought all the properties, which were added on to his already giant complex.
Saver: A.J. Francis
Unlike many of the people on our list, this former defensive tackle wasn’t a big-name player in the NFL. He bounced around from team to team each season before he eventually called it quits back in 2018.
Despite his past as a pro athlete, Francis has worked an Uber driver in the past for extra income. He recently ventured into the world of wrestling to try and earn more for himself, and he’s currently under contract with the WWE.
Saver: Ryan Broyles
Broyles only ended up playing three short seasons in the NFL after starring at the University of Oklahoma. Luckily for him, he didn’t lead an extravagant lifestyle after making it to the professional league.
During his short stint with the NFL, he lived as though he were making $60K per year, despite banking much more than that. While his contract by no means short-changed him, he didn’t want to burn through it all at once.
Saver: John Urschel
Urschel retired from the NFL lineman at a younger age than most, even though he was successful. Perhaps a telling sign of what was to come came when he took his summers to go back to school and study math at MIT while playing for the Baltimore Ravens.
Set to graduate with a prestigious Ph.D. in the spring of 2021, Urschel clearly has a vision for his life after football has come and gone. He still rolls in a Nissan Versa to save money, despite his athletic past.
Saver: Andrew Chafin
Chafin, originally drafted by the Arizona Diamondbacks, is a pitcher who finished this last season with the Chicago Cubs. He has earned millions of dollars over the years, yet chooses to not live lavishly.
He once said he’s pretty simple off the field. Not a fan of dense urban areas, he’s happier living out in the woods and enjoys the peace and quiet – as well as the significantly lower cost of living.
Spender: Ben Simmons
Simmons, an NBA player, has been connected to ultra-influencer Kylie Jenner romantically. Anybody who knows anything about her knows that she lives the lush life, so Simmons has to splurge just to keep up with her
Proof of his lavish lifestyle is evident in the pictures Simmons frequently posts onto his Instagram account. By some accounts, he’s also been known to pull up to a game in a Rolls Royce while holding a Burberry bag.
Saver: Glover Quin
As an NFL defensive back, Quin has averaged over $6 million per year in salary. Even though he likely doesn’t have to in order to have significant savings, he has put aside 70% of his money since he was drafted in 2009.
A man with a plan, Quin said he always wanted to save as much as he could and spend as little as he could during his playing days. The goal in doing this was to build a better future for himself and his family once he couldn’t play anymore.
Spender: Dwyane Wade
This future Hall of Famer spent plenty of money as he built his impressive resume in the NBA. The bigger the contracts and endorsements got, the flashier the lifestyle got for the man nicknamed “The Flash.”
Later down the line, Wade married successful actress Gabrielle Union. Together, the two are known for their passion for high fashion, and they can often be spotted attending exclusive fashion shows together.
Saver: Matt Bonner
Bonner never took the NBA by storm, but he was a key role player that consistently stuck around. While perhaps the minutes and stats weren’t always there, he was always able to keep a roster spot and earn a paycheck.
Over the years, he made a concentrated effort to save his money, since he wasn’t receiving a superstar salary. He would use public transportation often and wore New Balance shoes because they were cheaper than Nike.
Saver: Andrew Luck
Luck, a former number NFL draft one pick, shocked the sports world when he decided to retire prior to the 2019 season. He was still in the prime of his career but wanted to spend more time focusing on life outside of football.
During his days of quarterbacking with the Indianapolis Colts, he still used a flip phone to communicate, because he didn’t want to be connected 24/7. That little phone served as a reminder that it’s nice to get away from everything every now and then.
Spender: Russell Westbrook
Westbrook is the self-proclaimed fashion king of the NBA, and that becomes evident the moment you see him in the flesh. He walks down the hallways of the arenas like they’re fashion runways, decked out in the nicest clothes money can buy.
On top of having an impressive wardrobe, Westbrook has a clothing line of his own. So if he ever can’t find a particular outfit that he likes, he can always just pay designers to have it made for himself.
Saver: Carmelo Anthony
Anthony’s NBA all-star days are behind him, and since then he has found it difficult to land a lasting role with a team. Before he knew it, he was unemployed and watching the season slowly go by from his home.
During this time, he practiced to keep his body in shape and used coupons clipped from the newspaper to keep his finances in check Anthony finally clicked with the Portland Trailblazers and helped them reach the playoffs.
Spender: Lewis Hamilton
A rising star in the world of racing, Hamilton recently won his seventh Formula One title, tying the great Michael Schumacher. In part due to his professional success, the champ has been linked to ladies like Nicki Minaj, Gigi Hadid, and Rihanna.
Any man associated with such major stars cannot go through life living like a commoner. Hamilton splurges his earnings on luxury real estate, fancy cars, extreme sports, and a private jet to keep up with others in his ultra-rich social circle.
Saver: Joe Flacco
Joe Flacco was once a prominent Super Bowl-winning quarterback. While his glory days are likely over, he’s still in the league collecting a decent paycheck as the backup quarterback for the New York Jets.
Back in the day, when he signed a record-breaking contract for more than $120 million, Flacco decided to go out to celebrate. But instead of going to a fancy restaurant, he chose a neighborhood McDonald’s.
Spender: Shaquille O’Neal
Within an hour of signing his first NBA contract in 1992, Shaq went on the shopping spree of a lifetime. First, he bought a Mercedes Benz for himself, then proceeded to buy both of his parents nice cars, too.
In the end, Shaq ultimately blew through an impressive $1 million in a single day. After that extreme moment of weakness, he vowed to be more careful with how he spent his money moving forward in life.
Saver: Jeff Teague
Teague has made millions of dollars over the course of his career in the NBA. The veteran has been leading teams to victory for a decade, most recently signing with the Milwaukee Bucks after stints in Boston and Atlanta.
While he was playing in Indiana, he decided to live at home with his parents, as he grew up in the area – Teague stayed in the basement for the course of the season. Maybe that’s why he only stayed with the Pacers for just one season.
Saver: Kyle Larson
An up-and-coming star driver in NASCAR, Larson won rookie of the year all the way back in 2014. He’s still under 30 years old, and he has a long future ahead of him in the lucrative world of racing.
Even with years of steady income ahead of him, Larson is still frugal and would rather fly coach than first class. He also said he likes to rack up miles with his credit card to score some free trips here and there.
Spender: Dez Bryant
Bryant made a name for himself as a wide receiver for the Dallas Cowboys, but injuries derailed his career and he never returned to form. He recently signed with the Baltimore Ravens and joined their practice squad, but has yet to make an impact.
Unfortunately for Bryant, he has a spending problem. During his rookie season, he spent $55K on a restaurant bill when he took his teammates out to dinner as part of a rookie tradition – another time, he spent $200K on a necklace and bracelet.
Saver: Madison Bumgarner
A World Series MVP and legend to all San Francisco Giants fans, Bumgarner lives the blue-collar life despite achieving fame. During the off-season, he quietly lives at his personal ranch and does farm labor.
The ranch is located where he grew up, in the North Carolina Appalachian foothills. He has stated that he would gladly get rid of nice cars and homes to live a simple, straightforward outdoor lifestyle.
Saver & Spender: Marshawn Lynch
The only athlete to be considered both a saver and a spender on this list, Lynch was known as “Beast Mode” thanks to his intimidating presence. The running back was also known for frequently eating Skittles on the sidelines during games.
He would only spend money from his endorsements, with Skittles being one of the companies he represented. While he’s known to take public transportation, he also goes through the trouble of putting a velvet rope around his Lamborghini when it’s parked outside.
Saver: Tim Duncan
Duncan was one of the main reasons why the San Antonio Spurs dominated basketball for decades. The retired star is now an assistant coach for the team he won five glorious championships with as a player.
When playing, Duncan never showed up on game days wearing fancy outfits like a lot of other guys, instead opting for a plain button-up with jeans. He would also carry his own bags through the airport, rather than having someone do the work for him.
Spender: Al Jefferson
Jefferson played for over a dozen years in the NBA and was quite a force during his prime. When it was all said and done, the big man averaged over 15 points and 8 rebounds per game while shooting almost exactly 50% from the field.
The 6’10” giant found it difficult to get a bed that fit him, but luckily he had money to blow. He spent $23K on a 10’x12′ bed. In other words, his bed was 120 square feet – much bigger than what would fit most bedrooms.
Spender: DeShawn Stevenson
Stevenson never became a well-known superstar in the NBA, but his shooting skills and defense made him a valued member of several different teams. As a result, he made nearly $35 million in total during his career.
His most unique purchase was having an ATM machine installed inside of his own kitchen. While he could withdraw money free of charge, Stevenson’s family and friends had to pay an outrageous $4.50 per transaction.
Saver: Darrius Heyward-Bey
Despite being a bust of a first-round draft pick, Heyward-Bey still earned over $35 million during his career. While still not technically retired, he hasn’t been on an NFL team since 2018 and will find it hard to land a job moving forward.
Despite falling short professionally, he was smart with his money and set an allowance for himself that he developed with his mom. Heyward-Bey would even cancel his cable during the NFL season, since he wasn’t home to watch it.
Spender: Vince Young
Young was a highly-anticipated pick going into the 2006 NFL draft, and he was picked third overall by the Tennessee Titans and signed a $58 million contract. Overall, after six years on three different teams, he never lived up to expectations in the NFL.
With his newfound wealth, Young was known to go to Morton’s after home games and partake in $600 shots of cognac as well as spend $5K weekly at the Cheesecake Factory. He once purchased nearly every seat on a commercial airline flight.
Saver: Victor Cruz
Known for his trademark salsa dancing celebrations when he would score touchdowns, Cruz did so as a tribute to his grandmother. He must’ve been raised smart by his family, as he handled his finances carefully.
Rather than celebrating a fancy new lifestyle when he made it to the NFL, he put his entire first paycheck into savings. It helped him to launch the Victor Cruz Foundation, which helps expose inner-city students to STEM subjects.
Saver: Andrew Hawkins
As a wide receiver in the NFL, Hawkins was surrounded by luxury cars every time he came to the team facility. When he decided it was time to buy one, almost anything would be an upgrade from the used 2005 Chevy Impala he had purchased in college.
As he was scrolling on his phone during a practice break, Mike Brown, the owner of his team, pulled into the parking lot with the same make and model as Hawkins. Hawkins waited another five years before buying a Mercedes that he still drives today.
Saver: Alfred Morris
Morris wasn’t drafted until the 6th round in the NFL Draft, so he didn’t receive the same kind of bonus that many in the earlier rounds did. He proved he was a draft-day steal by rushing for over 1,600 yards during his rookie season.
Despite his initial success, Morris didn’t forget where he came from. Even when he entered his seventh season in the league and several million dollars to his name, he was still driving a Mazda Sedan.
Saver: Jeff Halpern
Halpern, a retired NHL player, noticed how difficult it was to save money when he was out with others. He said that players would get called out for being cheap if they didn’t pick up an entire tab and nobody wanted to be “that guy.”
Thanks mostly to his accountant mother, Halpern was always responsible with his finances and saved from the start. He knew full well that his earning potential would decrease as soon as his hockey career ended.