personal finance

A 31-Year-Old ‘Frugal' Millionaire Explains Why He Decided to Start Spending More Money

Beatriz Bajuelos Castillo

Graham Stephan is on track to make more than $6 million this year, and he's finally allowing himself to open up his wallet.

For years, the 31-year-old YouTuber cut costs anywhere he could, eschewing everything from designer clothes to coffee shops. "No one is more frugal than me," he said an interview with CNBC Make It in 2019.

Two years later, however, Stephan has adjusted his philosophy slightly. Though he says he's "still really frugal" and refuses to ever buy coffee out of the house, he now spends much more money than he used to, including on things that his younger self would have never splurged on.

In the past, Stephan exclusively filmed his YouTube videos in the early morning or late evening because he didn't want to buy an air conditioner for his office. But now, he keeps several air conditioners running in his new Las Vegas home at all times.

"I remember [in 2019] the contractor gave me a quote to put in an AC unit in the garage. I think it was like $3,000. I thought to myself 'Well, I could just film in the morning anyway, I could film at night,'" he says. "That was so stupid of me and I wish I had just splurged that extra $3,000."

It's not just comfort that Stephan has decided is worth investing in. Because he works around 10 hours a day on his five different YouTube channels, Stephan also uses his money to buy back his time.

"This is a shift that probably happened for me about a year ago when I was overworked and taking on too much," he says.

Instead of doing everything himself, he spends $130 to have a technician come once a month to maintain his swimming pool and splits $250 a month evenly with his girlfriend, Macy, to hire a cleaning person for the house. He says that the expenses are worth it to have more time to relax or put back into his work.

"[A cleaner is] able to do so much more in two to three hours [and] I'm able to go and do so many other things," he says.

Stephan is also more willing to eat out or get food delivered after long days. "If that means I can save an hour and Macy doesn't have to cook, that to me is 100% worth it to pay that delivery fee or pay for food from a restaurant," he says.

Now that he lives in Las Vegas, Stephan even allows himself to visit a casino every now and then, though he has very strict rules for his gambling and never bets more than $100 or $200 in a single day.

"If I go to the casino, I do the same mathematics as I do for purchasing anything and I think about what game gives the best chance at me making money," he says. He avoids games such as slots, which have a high house advantage, and instead sticks to blackjack, baccarat and craps. "I have a thing where if I double my money I will always walk away. I think this last month I'm up $700."

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