Despite his financial success, Jim Cramer, host of CNBC’s “Mad Money” and Investing Club, says he’s mostly frugal, unless the expense is important or has meaning to him.
That’s why he tries to save money where he can, even if that means turning down drinks at restaurants or buying generic store-brand products.
He also avoids products that are harmful, like tobacco stocks, even if they look like a good investment opportunity.
Here’s a look at five things Jim Cramer refuses to spend money on.
1. Most expensive sports tickets
“If it’s a hockey game or a baseball game, I don’t care where I get [seats]† I just go and watch,” Cramer tells CNBC Make It.
Even when he takes people out to baseball games, he prefers the cheaper bleacher seats. “It’s fun to go to a game” without spending “an arm and a leg,” he says.
However, he makes one exception: For football, Cramer splurges on luxury box seats, “because I’m a huge Eagles fan.”
2. Alcohol when dining out
Because liquor is usually marked up 20% to 30% at restaurants, Cramer avoids buying drinks when dining out.
“I won’t spend money on liquor,” he says. “I was brought up in a frugal house where my dad didn’t want me to order the Coke [at restaurants] until the food came, because he was afraid they’d charge for the second Coke” if Cramer drank his first beverage too fast.
That mindset followed him into adulthood. “When I see a bottle of wine that’s $500 — what a waste. Why didn’t you just go buy a beautiful sweater? Can you imagine the kind of sweater you could get for that? You could get two great cashmere sweaters.”
3. Tobacco stocks
Cramer says he used to recommend tobacco stocks as investments, “because you got the dividend and you [can] do whatever you want with the dividend,” like giving it away “to an anti-smoking cause.”
But he has since changed his mind, and no longer recommends tobacco stocks on his show.
“I think tobacco is wrong. It’s killed a lot of people. It killed my late father-in-law. I watched it happen,” he says. “I want smoking stopped in the country.”
4. Expensive hotels that you only sleep in
To Cramer, it’s a waste to spend a lot of money on hotels during trips when you’re mostly out sightseeing. “How much you need is totally dependent upon the extravagance,” he says.
Once when visiting Costa Rica, he and his wife stayed at the expensive and luxurious Four Seasons hotel. But they were never in the room and couldn’t justify the cost.
“We were out every single minute,” Cramer says. “Next time we went, we stayed at an eco hotel. It was one-tenth the price.” They didn’t use that room much, either: “We never went into it until the moment we were going to go to sleep.”
“You want to figure out your priorities on a trip,” he says. “Are you going to be in or out?”
5. Name brand products