This story appears in ESPN The Magazine's Dec. 8 Big Money Issue. Subscribe today!
WE HEAR A lot about the big spenders, the athletes popping bottles and flying private jets ... to dinner. But do they actually do that? We decided to find out, asking six athletes -- from a millionaire NBA baller to a college swimmer -- to track every purchase they make. Turns out, it's lots of Chipotle and online shopping. Stars: They really are just like us!
The Golden State Warriors' center protects his cash like he does the paint: efficiently. College finance classes taught the Aussie the skills to monitor his $14 million salary, how to build a surplus and create an investment portfolio that includes his fledgling Australia-based agency, One Management. But not even this bargain-hunting big man can escape the costs associated with moving into a new pad.
Primary gig: Warriors center
2014 salary: $14 million
Residence: Walnut Creek, California
Dependents: Two Siberian Huskies
How would you describe your lifestyle?
I'm probably the complete opposite of what you think an NBA player is. I don't like to do anything extravagant. I like everything to be of a nice quality, but I refuse to be stupid. I don't spend on material things, really. I like to have a cash surplus at all times, and right now I'm saving for different investments.
You do all of your own finances?
I do my own finances, yes -- ever since I started reading through my statements and realizing I was paying people to do things that I can do myself for free. I studied finance through an Australian university: financial planning, stocks, bonds, that kind of stuff. I did it online. I wasn't studying it for a degree -- I did two semesters of it. I just wanted to do enough schooling just so I can manage myself financially.
Estimate what percentage of your paycheck goes into savings.
After tax, at least 75 percent of my money is going toward an investment of some sort.
What's your most baller possession?
My '69 Ford Mustang Boss 429, all original.
Most costly habit?
My car collection. I have about six in the States, about 10 in Australia. They're older, muscle, antique-type cars. I don't buy new Bentleys and that kind of crap.
Biggest purchase you've made recently?
My house. Just bought it a month ago. I was renting in Walnut Creek the last 18 months or two years, and the landlord wanted me to buy the house. I didn't want it, so I moved out and bought my new place, all cash.
Is this diary pretty representative of a typical week in your life?
Yes, pretty much.
$4.45: Frappuccino, Starbucks
$38.97: Two chicken salads, two iced teas, one soup, Tender Greens
$225: Billiard table installation
"The table weighs like 600 pounds -- it took two or three guys to take it out of storage and put it together in the living room. I'll happily cough up the cash instead of hurting my back."
$149.12: Two tanks of gas
$23: Two burritos, Chipotle
$10: Two Australia-to-U.S. adapter wall plugs, eBay
"Why eBay? First of all, you can't find this adapter in American stores. Second, I'm a big online shopper in general, because it's hard for me to go to an actual store. I don't know if you noticed, but I kind of stand out."
$101: Billiard cue rack holder, eBay
$38.12: Miscellaneous, Safeway
$33: Dinner, Maria Maria Mexican
$80.84: Groceries, Whole Foods
"I'm always willing to pay top dollar when it comes to what I put in my body."
$90.11: Two toothbrush holders, bathroom accessories, fabric samples, Restoration Hardware
"My girlfriend did the shopping. I don't mean to sound sexist, but it's better if she picks out fabric."
$70.92: Miscellaneous, CVS
$44: Two chicken salads, two iced teas, dessert, Tender Greens
$60: Two car washes
$8.90: Two Frappuccinos, Starbucks
$11: Six-pack of beer
"A few nights a week, I like to have a beer or two and relax before bed. But only European brews. I don't dig too much into generic American beers."
$90.11: Dinner, Italian
$83.17: Groceries, Whole Foods
$11: Burrito, Chipotle
$500: Deposit on a hot tub purchase
"When it's a little chilly outside, there's nothing better than cracking open a beer in a hot tub. It just clears my mind."
$281: Two bar stools, Overstock.com