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This $2 Million Man Lives in a Van Down by the River

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Today is Opening Day for most baseball teams and that means the smell of freshly cut grass and cracking open a bag of peanuts.

It's also a great time to talk about the frugality of baseball players who are worth millions of dollars. Wait, what?

A few weeks back a friend forwarded me this article about a man who lives in a van. He wakes up everyday in his 1978 Volkswagon camper behind WalMart. He cooks some food on a camping stove. He doesn't look like he's shaven in months.

You'd think he doesn't have a penny to his name, but you'd be wrong. He is pitching prospect Daniel Norris and he was awarded a $2 million signing bonus by the Toronto Blue Jays.

This video shows some of his lifestyle in action:

The article mentioned above is a great read. You realize how different he is. Here are some excerpts from the article:

"All of their bonuses had been deposited on the same day, and one of the players suggested they drive to a Tampa mall. They shopped for three hours, and by the time the spree finally ended they could barely fit their haul back into the car. Most players had spent $10,000 or more on laptops, jewelry and headphones. Norris returned with only a henley T-shirt from Converse, bought on sale for $14. It's been a fixture of his wardrobe ever since."

"His advisers deposit $800 a month into his checking account -- or about half as much as he would earn working full time for minimum wage. It's enough to live in a van, but just barely. 'I'm actually more comfortable being kind of poor,' he says, because not having money maintains his lifestyle and limits the temptation to conform."

He's not materialistic with the exceptions of the a few items that he has a history with such as his van, Shaggy.

He's taken frugality beyond anything that I've seen on Extreme Cheapstakes. Those people have some kind of psychological issue against spending money. Daniel Norris doesn't spend money, because the life he wants to live doesn't require it.

I feel like I could write a few hundred more words on how unusual this is, but I'd prefer you read the other articles. They are written better than I could do by people who have spent time with Norris. Some have written about Norris from a personal finance perspective. That article features a great Wheel of Life from Money Quotient that I haven't seen before.

Update: I'm clearly late to the game in waiting until Opening Day on this article. The Today Show has a feature on Norris as well.

Posted on April 6, 2015.

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2 Responses to “This $2 Million Man Lives in a Van Down by the River”

  1. I love seeing stories about athletes who are careful with money. I’m sure it’s so hard to be frugal when everyone around you is spending thousands in just a few years. Kudos to him for being brave enough to not conform.

  2. […] like stories where athletes are being fiscally responsible (Daniel Norris qualifies too). It seems like a rare commodity these […]

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